"Tech Belt" Recieves Federal Grant To Boost Manufacturing And Job Creation

Aug 17, 2012

A $30 million Defense Department grant has been awarded to a new public-private partnership that includes manufacturers from Pennsylvania, northeast Ohio and West Virginia.  The funds will promote advanced manufacturing technology in the region.

to develop an Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (AMII). The institute will create a plan to promote additive manufacturing technology, advance innovation, and create a workforce capable on meeting industry needs.

“Tech Belt” will create the "Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute" or AMII.   Additive manufacturing is an innovative procedure that builds 3-D products by repeated layering of liquid plastic until it forms an object modeled by a computerized design.  Shoes, jewelry, plastic grips and fabricated automobile dashboards are among the many items created by additive manufacturing.  Most manufacturing is "subtractive"--products are created by cutting, shaping and drilling raw materials.

 DeWitt Peart, President of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, said it highlighted local schools with the ability to contribute to manufacturing innovation. “It’s an initiative that is primarily based around the research capacity that we have in the universities in that mega-region.".

The institute plans to deliver new training and curricula to the workforce in partnership with the universities, colleges, and community colleges. As a whole, the project will directly engage about 9,000 people through course development and online outreach.

Peart said students and workers alike will benefit from this initiative. “This is a tremendous opportunity for creating that conduit for talent, innovation, and connecting it to real business opportunities,” Peart said.

The National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining in Latrobe, Westmoreland County will serve as the lead for project, which will take three years to complete. Peart said several aggressive targets have already been established.

The work will begin immediately. To a large extent, the universities and businesses have working together already. This gives us additional resources,” Peart said.

For more information on the “Tech Belt” initiative, visit www.techbelt.org.