Industry partnership puts the focus on Berks manufacturers

Manufacturing has always been the cornerstone of Pennsylvania’s economy, and this trend continues today — accounting for nearly 10% of all jobs in Pennsylvania. Locally we have more than 30,000 manufacturing employees in 507 manufacturing establishments in Berks County alone.

Manufacturing holds the number one spot as both the largest industry sector based on employment and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Manufacturing contributed the largest portion of GDP in 2021, $4,799,310,000, accounting for nearly 20% of Berks County’s economy.

With a large base of manufacturing employers in the county, the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) has been managing the Manufacturing Industry Partnership of the Greater Reading region. This Industry Partnership (IP) is driven by leaders from about 40 local manufacturers that convene to share challenges, opportunities and programming.

With the support of educational partners and workforce development organizations, this public-private partnership brings all stakeholders to the table to create solutions for sustainable change to ensure economic growth and success within the manufacturing sector.

GRCA’s goal in facilitating the work of the IP is to focus on growing and supporting the manufacturing industry of the Greater Reading region. This local IP has designated priorities. Each priority area has been assigned a committee of Action Team members, volunteering their time and talent to ensure that goals are met to move the needle for our community.

In continuation of supporting the manufacturing sector, GRCA will be hosting its regional 2022 Manufacturing Summit from 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at Reading Area Community College’s Miller Center for the Arts. The Summit will be held during nationally-recognized Manufacturing Month!

This half-day event recognizes and celebrates manufacturing and is focused on bringing together manufacturers throughout the area to discuss common trends, current challenges and exciting, future possibilities.

Tim Simpson, Ph.D., Penn State University, will provide a keynote presentation titled, “Manufacturing in the Metaverse.” Simpson is a Paul Morrow Professor of Engineering Design & Manufacturing. His presentation will be followed by an expert panel on industry trends and best practices, and a workshop with key takeaway items.

As part of this year’s event, the 2022 Manufacturing Summit sponsors will also be helping to support the next generation of the manufacturing industry. A portion of all sponsorship dollars will provide several students with free admittance to the Summit. GRCA and the sponsors will be working with local colleges and Career and Technology Centers to coordinate the effort.

If you work within the manufacturing sector or your business supports the manufacturing industry, you will not want to miss this year’s event. To purchase tickets and learn more about the Summit, visit

Anyone who is interested in more information about this year’s Manufacturing Summit, or the Manufacturing Industry Partnership of the Greater Reading region can contact me at [email protected] or 610-898-7776.

FROM THE CHAMBER: Industry partnership puts the focus on Berks manufacturers [Column]