by Bob Zaruta, President/CEO, NWIRC

(L-R) Keith Szewczyk, CEO, Bliley Technologies; Mike Chesley, President, Composiflex, Inc.; Ashleigh Walters, President, Onex Inc; and Bob Zaruta, President, NWIRC meet with legislators in Harrisburg.

Last month, I wrote about the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) as a tool to strengthen manufacturing and the importance of keeping the program in the Federal and State budgets. On the heels of a successful trip to our Nation’s Capitol, we attended another successful Manufacturers Hill Day, this time at our State Capitol in Harrisburg. On April 25th, manufacturing executives from across the state, including several from the 13-county footprint served by NWIRC, made the trip. We met with Senators and State Representatives from their respective Districts. Once again, the mission was for manufacturers to share their first-hand experiences of working with an MEP center and the impact it has had on them and the community. Here is some data to back up the work that MEP Centers do on a State-level.

An independent analysis performed by the Fors Marsh Group, an applied research firm based in Arlington, Virginia, credited the PA Industrial Resource Centers (IRC) program with helping to create and retain 5,943 manufacturing jobs in 2016. Companies participating in engagements also recognized $775.1 million of
additional revenue, invested $174.4 million in modernization or expansion within Pennsylvania and realized $61.8 million in operating cost savings. These results were accomplished by the IRC Program’s seven centers including NWIRC, Catalyst Connection, DVIRC, IMC, MANTEC, MRC, and NEPIRC. Collectively, we cover every county of the Commonwealth.

These results represent the summation of client-reported IRC engagement impacts gathered by the Fors Marsh Group through a voluntary survey process. Survey participants identify the impacts as direct results of IRC engagements. Results are subsequently reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the U.S. Department of Commerce, each of which funds a portion of IRC operations.

As part of another study, IRC Program outputs are being analyzed by the Regional Economic Studies Institute of Towson University. Preliminary results of that study suggest that IRC engagements added nearly $3.75 billion to PA in 2016 and provide a return of $14.42 to the PA treasury for each $1 invested in the program.

From these statistics and personal messages from manufacturers in the region, I am optimistic that our State and Federal legislators will see the benefits of the program’s continued financial support. #MFGisNow!