The U.S. Department of Commerce on Wednesday named the Pittsburgh area one of 12 parts of the country to join the “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership”, essentially telling potential investors that this is “a good place to spend their money.”
The designation — and that description — came from Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who said Pittsburgh and the other regions will be receiving federal support for economic development in regional manufacturing. They will be tapping into more than $1 billion available in assistance.
“We are ensuring that precious federal dollars are used on the most high-impact projects and in a way that maximizes return on investment,” Ms. Pritzker said in the announcement from Washington, D.C.
The designation doesn’t deliver any dollars, per se, but it makes them available in the form of future grants.
The result here, officials project, will be 14,000 new skilled jobs in metal manufacturing over the next 10 years and a target of 2 percent annual growth.
“We anticipate adding 8,000 with existing firms, attracting 100 new companies that will bring in 4,000 new, and then help 200 start-up companies adding another 2,000 new jobs there,” said Bob Stein, director of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh, who helped put together the application for the federal designation.
Pittsburgh’s application had more than history going for it, Mr. Stein said. “We have strong supplier networks, access to abundant energy and water, railroads and rivers, and available brownfield sites,” he said. “The plan is to redevelop those sites, upgrade the infrastructure. and provide growth capital that will ultimately attract new businesses.”