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Manufacturers attribute job, revenue, and technology benefits to statewide IRC

Data voluntarily provided to independent researchers by 541 small and mid-sized manufacturing firms across Pennsylvania throughout 2022 — and subsequently verified by the U.S. Department of Commerce — confirm that the statewide Industrial Resource Center (IRC) initiative generated significant positive results amidst a turbulent economy.

The Industrial Resource Center initiative, which is a collaborative effort between Pennsylvania’s public and private sectors, has helped thousands of small and mid-sized manufacturers from all corners of the Commonwealth stay competitive as it continues to recover from pandemic.

According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the IRC initiative is a resoundingly successful program across counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The IRC is the Commonwealth’s flagship programme for improving the competitiveness and resilience of small industrial firms.

The annual impact survey by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Centre (NEPIRC) has surveyed more than 541 employers who received services from their regional IRC. Over the past 12 months, manufacturers that utilised IRC professional services avoided 4,099 layoffs, while adding 1,226 full-time workers to their payrolls.

NEPIRC provided a range of services to the firms that successfully participated in the impact process, including basic financial planning and development, business transformation and operational redesign. These results are a testament to the long-term benefits of collaboration between industrial manufacturers, their communities and their IRCs.

Over the past year, nearly 2,000 small and mid-sized manufacturers across Pennsylvania called upon their regional IRC to help them address the lingering challenges of the pandemic, the emerging threats of unpredictable domestic and global economies and the persistent shortage of qualified workers.

Companies that worked with their regional IRC on consultative projects reduced their non-personnel operating costs by $43.1 million over the past year and invested more than $212 million in new equipment, facility expansion, advanced technologies, and workforce training, in addition to growing their workforces and increasing top-line revenue.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic three years ago, services provided by IRCs across Pennsylvania have enabled manufacturers to avoid 12,565 layoffs, create 3,506 new manufacturing jobs, and increase revenues by nearly $370 million.

DVIRC, Catalyst Connection, the Innovative Manufacturers’ Center (IMC), MANTEC, the Manufacturers’ Resource Center (MRC), NEPIRC, and NWIRC are Pennsylvania’s IRC affiliates.

In addition to providing specific monetized impacts, 442 of the 541 firms in the study stated that working with their IRC improved their overall competitiveness, and 468 stated that they intend to use their IRC again in the future and would recommend their IRC to other Pennsylvania manufacturers. 

NEPIRC is a non-profit organisation that provides small and mid-sized manufacturers in an 11-county region of northeastern, northern, and central Pennsylvania with world-class technical, engineering, consultative, and training services.