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Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative

Build Back Better Regional Challenge Winner

Coalition Lead Applicant: Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative

Region (applicant-defined): Southwestern Pennsylvania

Coalition Overarching Narrative (applicant submitted) (PDF)

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Phase 2 Federal Award: Approximately $62.7 million

Project Description:
The Southwestern Pennsylvania (SWPA) New Economy Collaborative, a coalition of the region’s leading university, philanthropic, and private sector players, will receive approximately $62.7 million to supercharge SWPA’s globally recognized robotics and autonomy cluster and ensure that its economic benefits equitably reach rural and coal-impacted communities in the 11-county region. This effort represents the first time the region has developed a truly systemic approach to creating opportunity for workers and employers, weaving together five comprehensive, interdependent projects to encourage the adoption, upskilling, and innovation of robotics and autonomous technologies. EDA funding will support Expanded Pathways to New Economy Careers, a project to grow the region’s existing robotics and AI-related workforce training portfolio to reach beyond the typical urban core and Tier 1 universities, where it is currently concentrated. Simultaneously, EDA funding will be used to stand up a SME Robotics Adoption project to support technology adoption by small- and medium-sized enterprises. The five interconnected projects will enable employers from across the region to become more competitive, allow a broad range of workers to become more highly skilled, and restore a higher quality of life for all communities — all while improving American competitiveness in critical technologies.

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