Document Type


Publication Date


Research Center

Center for Economic Development


The Industrial Resource Center Network of Pennsylvania is the state’s affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership program. Both the IRC program and the MEP have longstanding traditions of self-assessment and evolution as ways of being accountable to the public and of promoting continuous improvement. The IRC program and the MEP are charged with helping manufacturing in general, and small to midsized manufacturers in particular, improve their competitive position. The IRC program uses the outcomes from these assessments to think about the challenges their constituents face due to rapid evolution in the globally competitive environment. Additionally, the IRC Program has joined with the MEP to discover best management and production practices, standardize them in terms of educational and training practices, and then disseminate these practices widely. Again, this is with an emphasis on small and midsized establishments and businesses. This report builds on the 2004 report, Manufacturing Pennsylvania’s Future, written by Deloitte Consulting and the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. In August 2010, as the negative impact of the Great Recession was beginning to ebb and after a decade of global competitive challenges, the IRC Program embarked on a new round of self-evaluation and assessment. The economic development and nonprofit management research groups at Cleveland State University’s Levin College were engaged to examine the state of manufacturing in the Commonwealth, discover the management practices of the “best of the best” manufacturers in the state, and suggest practice innovations that would enhance the competitive position of Pennsylvania’s manufacturers. This work was undertaken with the MPI Group. The project was supported by funding from the Industrial Resource Center program, the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the John D.and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Network on Building Resilient Regions, and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, with funding provided by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The work benefited from the advice and review of an external advisory board that was facilitated by Ken Voytek, NIST/MEP’s chief economist, and Joe Houldin, CEO of the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center. They worked with: Emily DeRocco, President, the Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers; Samuel Leiken, Vice President of the Council on Competitiveness; Howard Wial, Ph.D., Fellow of the Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution; and Mike Trebing, Senior Economic Analyst, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The work was also reviewed and discussed by the IRC’s Strategic Advisory Board and the directors of the network's seven centers. The report also benefited from data provided by the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC). The research team acknowledges the many contributions of our advisers and funders. Their participation and support do not mean that each agrees with all we have written. The team alone is responsible for the findings and interpretation of the data.