the Cathedral viewed from Panther Hollow Bridge
Features & Articles

Pitt awarded $2.2 million to expand jobs and business opportunities in robotics and AI

  • Community Impact
  • Our City/Our Campus
  • Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business
  • School of Computing and Information

President Joe Biden recently announced the winners of his Build Back Better Regional Challenge, and the University of Pittsburgh is among the recipients.

The announcement earmarks more than $2.2 million in federal funding for Pitt to invest in creating new opportunities for small businesses and displaced workers throughout an 11-county region. Southwestern Pennsylvania was one of just 21 locations nationwide to receive such funding.  

“The University of Pittsburgh is an economic anchor for the region and state. We’re uniquely positioned to bring together world class research, government, community groups and businesses to address the most important issues facing the commonwealth,” said David Brown, Pitt’s vice chancellor for government relations and advocacy. “These workforce development projects are designed to help as many Pennsylvanians as possible earn the skills needed to thrive in today’s economy.”

The grants will help fund Pitt initiatives that expand services, education and training for Pennsylvania workers, manufacturers and entrepreneurs who are interested in tapping into the region’s burgeoning robotics and autonomous sectors.

Though the dollar amounts of each grant may change until finalized, Pitt will also provide some matching resources, further amplifying their impact. The projects receiving funds are:

  • $617,087 to the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. In partnership with local not-for-profit Catalyst Connection, students and their faculty advisors will support consult with an expected 27 small- and medium-sized manufacturing businesses, helping them adopt new technologies and strategies to compete in the quickly growing global robotics economy.
  • $852,001 to the Institute of Entrepreneurial Excellence. This project will link together with small business development centers across 11 counties — Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland — coordinating their services so that entrepreneurs in previously underserved areas can access resources to help their small business thrive.
  • $800,000 to the School of Computing and Information. This funding will provide scholarships for dislocated workers from the 10 counties covered by the Allegheny Conference to earn the Applied Data Driven Methods certificate, preparing them for data-centric occupations in the autonomous and applied robotics industry. The grant will provide tuition support for 16 students each year over four years.

Pitt’s efforts are part of the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative, a coalition of more than 90 local organizations led by the Allegheny Conference and the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission. The coalition is slated to receive approximately $62.7 million to further advance robotics and autonomous technologies in the region.