University of Pittsburgh
September 27, 2001


Contact:  412-624-4147

September 28, 2001

PITTSBURGH—Pennsylvania State Senator Jane Clare Orie (R-North Hills) and Representative Frank Dermody (D-Oakmont) announced today that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is providing a $350,000 grant to the Manufacturing Assistance Center (MAC) at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Engineering to fund the center's training programs and shared manufacturing space and expertise for local start-up manufacturers.

The grant will be provided by the state through the Program Year 2001 State Employment and Training Demonstration Project and the Allegheny County Workforce Investment Area.

An initiative of the Department of Industrial Engineering in Pitt's School of Engineering, MAC is a technology transfer center with a professionally skilled staff and a state-of-the-art factory. It offers area manufacturers shared access to, and hands-on training in, the use of advanced machine tools and computer-aided manufacturing software, as well as technical assistance and research and development. It also offers skills and apprentice training to individuals.

"Our manufacturing companies and small businesses are the engines that drive our economy and create good-paying jobs for Pennsylvania workers," Orie said. "This grant will help provide assistance to a wide range of local companies so that they can expand their operations and create new jobs for area residents. I'm pleased that the state is partnering with the Manufacturing Assistance Center and the University of Pittsburgh to provide this vital assistance to our job-creators," she added.

"One of the major issues we are working on in Pennsylvania is workforce development. MAC deserves this grant and is to be applauded for its work in training and its aid to aspiring manufacturers," said Dermody. "By providing funding to MAC, we are helping to ensure that Pennsylvania will continue to nurture a prospering manufacturing industry. With help from MAC's training programs, our employees will stand as leaders in the industry. However, the greatest product that MAC will produce is jobs for southwestern Pennsylvania."

"We're thankful to Senator Orie and Representative Dermody and the Pennsylvania State legislature for their continued support of MAC," said Gerald Holder, dean of the School of Engineering at Pitt. "In addition to providing education and support to the School of Engineering, MAC provides Southwestern Pennsylvania's small and mid-size manufacturers with tools necessary to compete in the global marketplace. The School of Engineering has made manufacturing one of its priorities in education and research because it is an important foundation on which much of our economy is built. With the addition of this grant, MAC and the School of Engineering will be able to continue their mission of providing training and expertise in manufacturing."

Since its inception in 1994, MAC has assisted more than 100 start-up manufacturers, and the shared facilities currently house five manufacturing start-ups. MAC offers training in manual machining, precision grinding, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining, Electric Discharge Machines (EDM), metrology (precision measuring), and engineer training, as well as National Institute for Metalworking Skills certification. MAC can also tailor specialized courses to meet the needs of local manufacturers.

MAC has completed more than 400 shared manufacturing/technical assistance projects and more than 24,000 hours of hands-on training.