Manufacturing roundtable: Helping businesses grow and thrive

HARRISBURG, Feb. 1 – Pennsylvania’s manufacturing industry is the eighth largest in the nation with an economic impact of $92 billion. Twelve companies joined 12 lawmakers for a discussion on how to make Pennsylvania’s economy stronger, which included workforce issues, innovation, growth opportunities, market pressures and regulations impacting manufacturing in Pennsylvania.

“From Erie to Philadelphia, manufacturing in Pennsylvania is important to our caucus because Pennsylvania is a place where businesses want to come and stay,” said Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, chair of the House Democratic Policy Committee. “We want to hear from manufacturers on what they need to make Pennsylvania more attractive for businesses. House Democrats have a plan to make our Commonwealth more affordable and it’s called PropelPA – you can learn about it by visiting”

Manufacturing companies participating in today’s roundtable included a wide array of sectors from plastic fabrication to consumer goods. Participants from across the Commonwealth traveled to participate in person or logged on, including: Metal Integrity East and West, Restek Corporation, Diamondback Covers, Lake Erie Rubber and Manufacturing, GeorgeKo Industries, ILSCO Extrusion, The Fredericks Company, C.L. Sturkey Inc., and Lehigh Valley Plastics.

The House Democratic Policy Committee partnered with Rep. Mike Schlossberg, chair of the House Manufacturing Caucus, D-Lehigh.“We are always interested in hearing from business owners about the challenges businesses are facing in PA,” Schlossberg said.

The roundtable also covered topics such as supply chain issues, efficiency and sustainability initiatives, and how the tax structure should change to be fairer for businesses operating in Pennsylvania. Notably, one participant said that the pandemic has exacerbated the need for childcare and complicated how companies attract new people and retain others to the workforce, particularly here in Pennsylvania. Education and the need for younger people to be introduced to the trade industry was another topic that generated a lot of discussion.

The roundtable’s robust participation from industry leaders was thanks to the Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center Network, a collaborative effort of seven private not-for-profit Industrial Resource Centers strategically located throughout Pennsylvania to serve the Commonwealth’s 15,000+ small and mid-sized manufacturers and their 560,000+ employees.

“The IRC Network appreciates the opportunity to bring manufacturing leaders from around the Commonwealth to meet with members of the Democratic House Policy Committee to talk about their challenges, barriers and opportunities facing their companies as our economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, said Robert Zaruta, president/CEO of Northwest Industrial Resource Center (serving northwestern PA) and current president of PA IRCN.

PropelPA is the House Democrats’ plan to use smarter, innovative ways to make the commonwealth more competitive to attract business and more supportive to retain workers. Learn more about the plan by visiting Information about this hearing and other House Democratic Policy Committee hearings can be found at