The Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center Network (or IRC Network) is the collaborative effort of seven private not-for-profit Industrial Resource Centers (IRCs) strategically located throughout Pennsylvania to serve the Commonwealth's 15,000+ small and mid-sized manufacturers and their 560,000+ employees. The IRCs were established in 1988 to assist manufacturers in responding to changing markets, new technologies and the competitive pressures of a global economy. Today, the IRCs represent the Commonwealth's flagship program for providing manufacturers with the training, assessment, advisement and technical expertise they need to continue to thrive, provide well-paying jobs and lead Pennsylvania's economy.
As the Commonwealth's only economic development investment specifically focused on manufacturing, the IRCs and the IRC Network preserve and strengthen Pennsylvania's position as the nation's 8th largest manufacturing state and keep the Commonwealth's 3rd largest employment sector and 2nd largest sector in terms of total annual payrolls running strong.
IRC Network Impact
The IRCs generate a significant return to their clients and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in terms of manufacturing jobs created and retained, client sales retained, new client revenue, client cost savings and client investment in expansion, modernization and workforce upskilling. To the Commonwealth, these impacts translate to incremental tax revenues.
Throughout the 5-year period ended June 30, 2021, despite the challenges of a pandemic economy, IRC Network clients attributed $732.4 million of new sales and $2.45 billion of retained sales to their IRC engagements and assistance. Those firms also reported cost savings of $315.3 million, total regional investments of $844.9 million and the creation and retention of 27,172 full-time manufacturing jobs during the 5-year span.
A 2019 study by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research concluded that the IRCs provide an annual return of $5.50 to the Pennsylvania treasure for every $1 invested in the program.