Catalyst Connection: Bringing a New Energy to Northern Appalachia 

ARC’s Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies (ARISE) is a funding opportunity driving large-scale, regional economic transformation through multi-state collaborative projects. Launched in 2022 using funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) ARISE is strengthening Appalachian businesses and industries, and supporting the development of new opportunities across the region. 

Two of those industries are green manufacturing and clean energy, which five Appalachian states are going to significantly grow thanks to Pittsburgh’s Catalyst Connection. The $10 million Manufacturing the New Energy Economy in Appalachia project will bolster the region’s capacity for green energy and manufacturing, cementing its place as a hub for the sectors. 

Putting New Energy Within Reach 

Across the region, many small and medium sized manufacturers lack the capabilities to participate in the supply chains for green energy production or green products manufacturing. Appalachian manufacturers and energy providers seeking to pivot to greener models face difficulties in post-COVID supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, increasingly dated facilities and technology, and lack of availability of training in said technology. 

Catalyst Connection’s project seeks to eliminate these difficulties by establishing a “Next Manufacturing Task Force” comprised of 10 Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) affiliates and regional non-profit ReImagine Appalachia, to map and survey the green energy and manufacturing markets and supply chains across Appalachian Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia

“There are many resources and incentives to assist manufacturers in Appalachia to enter clean energy supply chains through federal, state, local and private agencies, but it can be a challenge for small businesses to find them and determine the best way to move forward,” said Catalyst Connection’s CEO Petra Mitchell. “This program brings guides manufacturers to these resources and helps each company map out the best path that will help them achieve their goals in this expanding clean energy economy.” 

Partnership Makes it Possible

Catalyst Connection and its MEP affiliate partners – Maryland MEP, West Virginia MEP, New York MEP (FuzeHub), MAGNET, Innovative Manufacturing Center PA, Northeast Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, Northwestern PA Industrial Resource Center, MANTEC, Manufacturers Resource Center, and ReImagine Appalachia – will provide technical assistance, training, supply chain mapping, factory and product upgrade guidance to over 1,000 business over four years. These manufacturers will enter the emerging green sectors of renewable energy, hydrogen power, low-carbon power, smart grid improvements, green buildings, electric vehicles, and decarbonized industry.  

The foundational improvements facilitated by the project will have lasting effects that vastly outlive the duration of the project itself, with over 20,000 jobs created or retained in the region, as well as putting Appalachia at the forefront of green industry and solutions to climate change.  

“These Bipartisan Infrastructure Law resources will empower the Appalachian Region to build on America’s manufacturing might, and the skills of our workforce, to build the clean and green sectors of the future,” said Mitchell. “When it comes to the industries and technologies needed to grow our local economies and keep this nation at the forefront, we intend to take the words ‘Made in Appalachia’ to new levels.”

We’re proud to support Catalyst Connection in this innovative, multi-state effort to bolster emerging Appalachian industries!

ARC is grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration for their historic investment to bolster infrastructure in America, which has allowed us to support important projects across Appalachia. Learn more about the BIL here.