The Pittsburgh Robotics Network (PRN) shares the exciting news that the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative received a $62.7 million federal Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant awarded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). The PRN contributed in proposal development and will play a crucial role in representing the commercial industry. These funds will be utilized to strengthen and expand Pittsburgh’s leading robotics and autonomy ecosystem, impacting an 11-county region.
Joel Reed, Executive Director of the PRN, believes “the funding is a generational opportunity to develop the workforce needed for an emerging, new economy. Autonomous systems, or robots, are creating jobs with solutions designed to address society’s most pressing problems. The New Economy Collaborative projects ensure that companies in our region will be at the forefront of adopting and implementing game-changing technology, and that we’ll have a trained workforce – drawn from our diverse communities – to meet hiring needs. Pittsburgh is positioned to remain a world leader in robotics and autonomy for decades to come.”
“The Build Back Better (BBB) Program recognized and is building on the strengths of the growing robotics and AI community here in the Pittsburgh region,” added Kevin Dowling, founder and Chairman of the PRN. “The PRN continues to support and drive this community and the Startup Factory proposal, co-led by PRN board member Parag Batavia, is just one example how the BBB program will drive growth and jobs here in the region.”
The PRN will support the development of a new applied robotics accelerator, called The Factory, by providing industry outreach and engagement and the development of a network of advisors and corporate partners. The intent is to build a leading robotics accelerator upon the foundation of Innovation Works’ success and expertise in developing startups and innovation pipelines.
Mike Formica, Managing Director of Innovation Works’ Alphalab Gear, sees great opportunity in this partnership. “The Pittsburgh commercial robotics community is larger and more developed than most people know, and the PRN is recognized by the industry as the representative cluster organization. We look forward to working with them to bring our nationally recognized accelerator platform to the robotics industry.”
The PRN is also funded to assist the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) and a regional network of educational and training institutions by providing industry insights and requirements, and oversight needed to help participants develop relevant, tailored, and job-driven programs. Reed underscores the real opportunity, “The business of robotics is about helping people do their jobs in a collaborative way, keeping them safer and healthier. This will be the source of a new generation of jobs. We look forward to bringing together the industry with our region’s experienced network of colleges, universities, workforce boards, labor unions, and community-based training providers.”
See the full press release from the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative for more information.