The Pittsburgh Robotics Network (PRN) is proud to announce the appointment of Jenny Sharpe as the organization’s new Senior Program Manager of Workforce Development. In this role Jenny will draw on her vast experiences in entrepreneurship, talent management, and community building to strengthen the dynamic nexus of robotics, education, and community that is rapidly transforming Pittsburgh.
This role is in support of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission‘s “Expanded Pathways to New Economy Careers” program, which is dedicated to expanding training and placement opportunities and eradicating barriers to employment. It is part of the comprehensive effort to drive regional economic growth, made possible by the $62.7 million in federal funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant.
“At Aurora, we’re proud to help foster Pittsburgh’s growing robotics sector,” added Matt Blackburn, Senior Manager of Government Relations at Aurora and Pittsburgh Robotics Network Board Member. “In order to develop and deploy safe self-driving technology, we’re investing in the tremendous talent in the Pittsburgh area. Jenny and the Pittsburgh Robotics Network have been doing incredible work to cultivate our region’s robotics workforce, and we look forward to continued collaboration that brings the benefits of autonomous vehicles to our communities.”
Originally from Wisconsin, Jenny’s own entrepreneurial journey brought her to Pittsburgh via Venture for America, a fellowship program that places recent graduates at startups in cities across the U.S. that are building thriving business communities.
Jenny further broadened her expertise in talent management and workforce development at Rivers Agile, a tech consultancy firm, before being captivated by the potential of her current role at PRN.
“What really attracted me to the PRN was its ability to get a lot of organizations and partners to focus on what’s really important, which is creating a Pittsburgh that works for everyone,” said Jenny. “I welcomed the opportunity to really build something.”
“We at the University of Pittsburgh are committed to supporting this important initiative, as it aligns with our own vision of fostering a culture of innovation and preparing our students for cutting-edge careers in technology and robotics,” said Bruce Childers, Dean of the School of Computing and Information at the University of Pittsburgh and a Pittsburgh Robotics Network Board Member. “We believe that this effort will not only drive regional economic growth, but also further solidify Pittsburgh into a global hub for robotics talent and innovation.”
Jenny also brings valuable insights from her tenure at EKTO VR, a Pittsburgh robotics startup that is pioneering an immersive and groundbreaking way to experience virtual reality. Drawing on her experiences, she has a deep understanding of the complexities of attracting and retaining a highly-skilled workforce.
Jenny’s goal is not just to build bridges between the workforce and the robotics ecosystem, but also to ensure that these connections empower individuals and contribute to a Pittsburgh that works for everyone. “I love watching the individual transformation that can happen when you give someone the economic opportunity of a job, and not just any job, but a dream job,” Jenny shared. This vision, coupled with her dedication to create opportunity and foster collaboration, will undoubtedly prove vital as she steps into her new role with the PRN.
This work will not only help build bridges between robotics businesses, workforce development organizations, and community groups, but will also identify new ways to address community needs. “I’m just really open. I’m here to learn. I’m here to listen and I’m here to create opportunities for more folks to collaborate,” she said. A lover of startups, Jenny is excited to bring her expertise to the fast-growing robotics ecosystem in Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Robotics Network welcomes Jenny and looks forward to her leadership in this critical role, helping to further solidify Pittsburgh as a world-leading cluster for robotics talent and industry growth that works for everyone.