Philadelphia, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf joined leaders in the higher education and manufacturing communities to announce that Drexel University will establish the Pennsylvania Discovery Center, a new statewide resource to lower the barrier to commercialization for the advanced textile industry.
“Last year, I got to travel to Massachusetts with the team from Drexel to celebrate the awarding of grant funding that the Department of Defense gave to a consortium of Pennsylvania institutions, and while I was there I took the opportunity to tout just how great of a match Pennsylvania is for manufacturing innovation,” said Governor Wolf. “Today, I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the next big announcement and celebrate the news that Pennsylvania will house the first Fabric Discovery Center outside of Massachusetts.”
In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense-funded Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) Institute, the Pennsylvania Discover Center will help companies and entrepreneurs take their advanced-textile concepts from prototype to product. As part of the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America strategy, Fabric Discovery Centers will open across the country to stimulate economic growth in the functional fabrics sector.
The Pennsylvania Discover Center will work closely with industry partners and regional organizations that support innovation and economic growth such as the Department of Community and Economic Development, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and the Industrial Resource Centers, to support the development of new products and manufacturing processes by established companies, start-ups, and entrepreneurs in the functional fabric space.
“Advanced textile manufacturing is undergoing a supply chain renaissance,” said Drexel University President John Fry. “Industry verticals, like ICT, digital health, and transportation that were never previously textile-related now have the opportunity to connect in new and meaningful ways. Pennsylvania can become a leader in this next generation cluster by ensuring the adoption of targeted initiatives that will enhance regional competitiveness.”
Slated to open in 2018, the Center will utilize research and expertise from AFFOA-partner universities across the state, including Carnegie Mellon, Penn State University, and Jefferson University, and will be housed at Drexel’s research-driven economic development venture with Brandywine Realty Trust, Schuylkill Yards.
Earlier this year, Governor Wolf announced his Manufacturing PA initiative, which is made up of three new programs, including:
- The Pennsylvania Manufacturing Training-to-Career Grant program will help companies identify and train a skilled workforce while creating a workplace culture that enables the workforce to advance and the company to grow. Grants will be provided to Pennsylvania manufacturers who partner with technical and trade schools, Pennsylvania’s community colleges, and those non-profit organizations that demonstrate both experience and expertise in the development and deployment of workforce development programs.
- The Pennsylvania Manufacturing Innovation Program will leverage the internationally acclaimed science and engineering talent and discovery capacity of Pennsylvania’s institutions of higher education to help ensure that the commonwealth remains an international leader in manufacturing. This will include a Manufacturing Fellows program, designed to support designated undergraduate and graduate student Fellows in both long- and short-term engagements with industry.
- Pennsylvania’s Industrial Resource Centers will expand their outreach to include small and medium-sized businesses, and will continue to provide technical, strategic, and market-based assistance to Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector.