NEPIRC Announces Key Staff Promotion and New Hire

Eric Joseph Esoda, president and CEO of NEPIRC, is pleased to announce the promotion of Jenelle Osborne and the hiring of Ashley Tice to further enhance NEPIRC’s commitment to workforce development and business advisory services for manufacturers throughout the region.

Osborne, who previously served as NEPIRC’s Manufacturing Dream Team project coordinator, has been promoted to full-time status as the company’s manufacturing talent stream coordinator. This position, which is new to NEPIRC, will advance the organization’s current manufacturing talent pipeline activities. Her responsibilities will include expanding NEPIRC’s Manufacturing Ambassador Dream Team program, publishing and promoting NEPIRC’s Manufacturing Education Guide, and incorporating job application functionality to NEPIRC’s online Manufacturing Jobs Board.

Osborne’s passion for making a positive impact on the region’s manufacturing sector and her dedication to promoting the abundance of career opportunities in manufacturing align perfectly with NEPIRC’s mission.

Speaking about her new role, Osborne expressed her enthusiasm for connecting manufacturers with the regional talent pools and enhancing the image of manufacturing in the region.

“I am passionate about working with schools, manufacturers and economic development partners to have a positive impact on our manufacturing sector’s top concern, which is the attraction and retention of quality talent. Through the success and expansion of NEPIRC’s Dream Team program and the implementation of NEPIRC’s other initiatives, including its Manufacturing Education Guide and Jobs Board, I am excited to be a catalyst that connects manufacturers in our region to current and future talent pools,” said Osborne.

Osborne’s promotion reflects NEPIRC’s commitment to developing a skilled workforce and supporting the growth of the manufacturing industry in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Ashley Tice joins NEPIRC as the new Northern Tier business advisor. With a background in the natural gas industry working in the areas of safety and field sales, Tice will play a crucial role in providing guidance and support to businesses in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier region. Her expertise will be invaluable in helping businesses navigate challenges, identify growth opportunities and maximize their potential in a competitive market landscape.

“Although I come to this role with a background in the natural gas industry, I find manufacturing fascinating, especially seeing all of the products that are made locally. I am eager to learn and grow under NEPIRC’s leadership while helping manufacturers throughout the Northern Tier expand their workforce and address other operational challenges,” said Tice.

Esoda expressed his confidence in both Osborne and Tice, stating, “We are thrilled to have Jenelle take on this new role and are confident that her leadership will drive continued success in our workforce development initiatives for our manufacturing partners. Additionally, we warmly welcome Ashley to the NEPIRC team and look forward to her contributions to supporting manufacturers across the Northern Tier region.”

These strategic staff changes underscore NEPIRC’s commitment to fostering economic growth, innovation and prosperity throughout its service area.

For more information about NEPIRC and its services, please visit www.NEPIRC.com.

NEPIRC Announces Manufacturing Day Event Keynote Speaker

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) announces its upcoming Manufacturing Day Best Practices Summit & Expo, scheduled for Friday, October 4 at Mohegan Pennsylvania Casino & Convention Center, Wilkes-Barre. This annual event celebrates the vibrant manufacturing industry in our region and provides valuable insights and networking opportunities for businesses and professionals.

This year, NEPIRC welcomes Chris Czarnik as the event’s keynote speaker. Czarnik is a renowned author, coach, trainer and subject matter expert on talent recruiting, engagement and retention in today’s dynamic manufacturing environment. With diverse career experience, including roles as a former military officer, human resource manager, career services manager and job search advisor, Czarnik brings unparalleled expertise to the table.

Over the past two decades, Czarnik has dedicated his career to understanding why individuals join and depart organizations. His insights have empowered thousands of job seekers to identify organizations and roles that align with their aspirations and values. His acclaimed book, “Winning the War for Talent,” has become a cornerstone resource for over 3,500 organizations nationwide.

“We are thrilled to have Chris Czarnik as our keynote speaker for this year’s Manufacturing Day event,” said Eric Esoda, NEPIRC’s president & CEO. “His wealth of experience and profound insights into talent recruitment and retention will undoubtedly provide immense value to attendees, helping them navigate the evolving landscape of workforce management.”

Manufacturing Day serves as an essential platform for businesses to connect, learn and collaborate. In addition to Czarnik’s keynote address, the event will feature interactive sessions, panel discussions and networking opportunities to foster growth and innovation within the manufacturing sector.

NEPIRC is actively seeking business sponsors to support this significant event. By becoming a sponsor, organizations will gain exposure to a diverse audience of industry professionals and decision-makers while demonstrating their commitment to driving manufacturing excellence in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Manufacturing Day sponsorships are open to all businesses and organizations – not just manufacturers. Sponsors include businesses that assist and support manufacturers or would like to acquire manufacturing sector clients, colleges with advanced manufacturing or robotics programs, economic development organizations, etc.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities or to register for Manufacturing Day, visit www.NEPIRC.com or contact Chelsey Coslett, manager of marketing & stakeholder engagement, at Chelsey@NEPIRC.com.

NEPIRC’s Manufacturing Education Guide Promotes Advanced Manufacturing Curriculums

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) recently launched The Northeastern Pennsylvania Manufacturing Education Guide, a publication that promotes the abundance of certificate and degree programs available locally to students interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing. The guide complements the work being done by NEPIRC’s Manufacturing Ambassador Dream Team program.

The Manufacturing Education Guide will be distributed to high school students through NEPIRC’s Manufacturing Ambassador Dream Team presentations in classrooms and at career fairs, as well as digitally through NEPIRC’s social media channels and website. 

“We developed this guide to reinforce our message to high school students that so many of the everyday products they and their families use and have in their homes are manufactured right here in northeastern Pennsylvania. The guide is expected to reach thousands of students and their parents this school year, connecting students with great manufacturing career opportunities while promoting high-quality, affordable education from these institutions,” said Eric Joseph Esoda, NEPIRC’s president and CEO.

One of the colleges that participated in the guidebook is Lackawanna College, whose Continuing Education Department has been engaged with manufacturers from throughout the region for many years.  

“We are always looking for ways to promote advanced manufacturing programs to teachers and students. NEPIRC partners with more than one thousand manufacturers in the region. By partnering with NEPIRC on the guide and other initiatives, we are in essence partnering with those thousand-plus manufacturers,” said Bill Schoen, director of continuing education at Lackawanna College.

Currently, the guide includes information for manufacturing career programs offered by Johnson College, Keystone College, Lackawanna College, Luzerne County Community College, and The Pennsylvania College of Technology and invites additional institutions to participate by promoting their advanced manufacturing programs.

The guide also contains a list of 70 area manufacturers that offer tuition reimbursement to their employees and a direct link to NEPIRC’s Job Board featuring approximately 100 local manufacturers who are immediately hiring for various positions.

Susan Spry, associate vice president of academic affairs at Luzerne County Community College, immediately saw the value in participating in the guide.

“We’ve been a longtime partner with NEPIRC on multiple initiatives. We think The Manufacturing Education Guide and the Dream Team program are so impactful. The ambassadors speak with students, parents and teachers about the very high-tech activities they do in their work, inspiring students to consider careers in manufacturing, starting with programs of study like the ones we offer that prepare students for the manufacturing jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Spry.

More details regarding NEPIRC’s Manufacturing Education Guide, and the Manufacturing Ambassador Dream Team program can be found on the NEPIRC Dream Team website, www.NEPIRCDreamTeam.com, or by emailing Dream Team Project Coordinator Jenelle Osborne, Jenelle@NEPIRC.com.   

NEPIRC Announces Upcoming Events & Trainings

The month of April Events & Trainings

April 3, 2024 – Arc Flash / NFPA 70E Training

Starting April 9 – 8-Week Leadership Development Essentials

April 10 – ISO 9001:2015 Internal Auditor Training

Starting April 24 – Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training

Starting April 15 – SolidWorks Essentials Training

The Month of May Events & Trainings

Starting May 9 – High-Impact Leadership Training

Starting May 9 – Two-Hour Leadership Development Essentials Seminar

Starting May 13 – Lean Specialist Certificate Program

Learn more online at NEPIRC Training, Workshops & Events – NEPIRC

NEPIRC Announces Benefits and Impacts Reported by Manufacturers

According to data voluntarily provided by 575 small and mid-sized manufacturing firms across Pennsylvania throughout 2023, the statewide Industrial Resource Center (IRC) initiative, the Commonwealth’s flagship program for strengthening the competitiveness and resiliency of smaller industrial firms, generated significant positive results among users of their services. Over the past 12 months, manufacturers that utilized IRC professional services avoided 7,197 layoffs while adding 1,462 full-time workers to their rosters. They also realized $796.8 million in retained sales and secured $256.4 million of new customer orders as results of their IRC advisement and engagements.

In addition to growing their workforces and increasing their top-line revenue numbers, companies that performed consultative projects with their regional IRC reduced their non-personnel operating costs by $187.1 million over the past 12 months, avoided $36 million of unnecessary expenditures, and invested more than $376.8 million in new equipment, facility expansion, advanced technologies and workforce training. 

Pennsylvania’s IRC initiative consists of seven affiliates: DVIRC, Catalyst Connection, the Innovative Manufacturers’ Center (IMC), MANTEC, the Manufacturers’ Resource Center (MRC), NEPIRC and NWIRC.

“Over the past year, more than 1,100 manufacturers called upon their regional IRC to help them grow their business, implement new technologies, overcome strategic challenges and build a more robust and skilled workforce. We’re impressed with the results reported by this sampling of our client base while also acknowledging that the true extent of the IRCs’ impact upon our manufacturing economy are well in excess of those represented here,” said Eric Joseph Esoda, president & CEO of NEPIRC, the IRC that services manufacturers across northeastern, northern and north central Pennsylvania. 

The revenue, cost savings, regional investment and job impacts reported by 575 IRC clients was gathered by an independent market research firm and confirmed by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

NEPIRC Releases 2023 Impact Study Results

Throughout 2023, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) provided assistance to 183 regional small and mid-sized manufacturers. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program office recently released a report summarizing the one-year financial and operational impacts of those services based upon voluntary surveys completed by a sampling of those companies over the past 12 months. In total, 74 companies participated in the survey process. Collectively, they reported dynamic results.

The 74 companies attributed a total of $157.9 million of incremental revenue in 2023 to the assistance and advisement they obtained from NEPIRC. These additional revenues, coupled with $12.8 million of annual savings, allowed those same companies to create and retain 1,051 regional manufacturing jobs and invest more than $56.4 million in expansion, modernization and workforce training. More than 93% of the companies surveyed felt that NEPIRC’s services improved their overall competitiveness and nearly 91% indicated that they would refer NEPIRC to other manufacturing firms in need of technical assistance in the areas of continuous improvement, leadership development, technology integration, safety or industry certification.

“Throughout 2023, we saw strong demand of our services and training programs and were optimistic that the impact we’re generating for our clients and region would be impressive,” explains Eric Joseph Esoda, NEPIRC’s president and CEO. “But these results exceed even our most lofty internal expectations, and we’re very proud of our staff, the manufacturers we serve and their workforce for being so successful.”

Based upon the impact reported by its clients, NEPIRC’s performance places the organization as a top-performer across the national Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Network and within the top six of more than 50 MEP affiliates nationally in key metrics, such as client reported cost savings, new revenue, retained revenue, regional investment, job creation and job retention.

In addition to providing manufacturers with expert services, training programs, and on-site assessments to enhance their resiliency, profitability, workforce practices and long-term growth, NEPIRC also supports the manufacturing community through its Manufacturing Jobs Board, Manufacturing Ambassador Dream Team, Manufacturer of the Month campaign and other efforts that support the industrial community.

More details regarding NEPIRC’s regional impact and its programs to bolster manufacturing growth are available by contacting Eric@NEPIRC.com.

NEPIRC’S Dream Team Expands Outreach to More Than 7,700 Students

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center’s (NEPIRC’s) Manufacturing Ambassador Dream Team program continued its mission to educate and inspire the region’s future workforce with more than 40 speaking engagements in 2023.

Since the program’s launch in January 2023, NEPIRC’s Dream Team Ambassadors participated in 16 career exploration days, 23 in-school presentations and two summer camps. Collectively, these activities engaged with students from more than 40 schools and led to more than 7,700 student interactions and exchanges at high schools, colleges and organizations throughout NEPIRC’s 11-county region.

“In its first year of existence, NEPIRC’s Dream Team has surpassed the PA Department of Education and PA Department of Community and Economic Development goals for the program by more than 100% while recruiting twice as many Ambassadors from twice as many companies and presenting to more than ten times as many students as expected,” said Eric Joseph Esoda, president and CEO of NEPIRC.

The Dream Team Ambassador program has also exceeded the expectations of students and school administrators from throughout the region.

“The Dream Team program has exceeded every expectation and goal set forth since its inception. Through student surveys and positive feedback from school administrators, the Dream Team has proved successful in its objective to change the conversation and perception regarding modern manufacturing careers,” said Jenelle Osborne, Dream Team program coordinator. “Every school our Dream Team has been involved with in either classroom presentations or career exploration days has asked us to come back again to speak to another group of students or participate in an upcoming career fair.”

Gabrielle Pidgeon, career counselor at the Carbondale Area High School, has had several interactions with Dream Team Ambassadors. She sees firsthand the positive impact the program is having on her students.

“I’ve seen how NEPIRC’s Dream Team Ambassadors are connecting with our students in a real way. To date, our school has engaged with the Dream Team several times, with additional presentations scheduled for this school year. The first Dream Team engagement at Carbondale High School consisted of an ambassador coming in to speak with a small group of students. That student group had such a positive response to the presentation. It also helped reframe my thinking of what manufacturing is, so it was a learning experience for all of us in the room that day,” said Pidgeon. “As a result of the numerous Dream Team visits, the Carbondale High School students are having real conversations with the ambassadors instead of just listening to someone talk to them.”

Ambassadors typically bring samples of their company’s products with them — including cans, boxes, military helmets, or sections of heavy construction cables — to the classroom and career exploration day events to help spur interest and conversations with the students.

Ask any ambassador and they will say they benefit from the student interactions as much as the students do.

Dream Team Ambassador Max McCabe, project manager at Cheetah Chassis in Berwick, had the opportunity to speak with high school students at Northwest Area High School where his grandfather was once the principal. He credits his grandfather’s strong work ethic along with his mother’s advice for the reasons behind pursuing a career in manufacturing. McCabe knows the future of manufacturing in the region rests on the interest of today’s high school students pursuing careers with manufacturing companies.

“I think it’s important to recognize that if I am going to have a future in manufacturing, I will need the generations after me to be interested as well. That means getting out there and showing people what goes on in the factories and what type of great opportunities are available to them. I take pride in being a voice that advocates for manufacturing careers, and being an ambassador is a great way to do it,” said McCabe.

The PA Department of Education recognized the Dream Team’s efforts and invited NEPIRC to present during a virtual Career Ready PA Coalition Best Practices seminar last June. “The Career Ready PA Coalition team serves to support career and workforce readiness opportunities across the state. Their connections are invaluable in creating awareness statewide to build career pathways for all learners. Our topic of discussion was ‘NEPIRC’s Manufacturing Ambassador Dream Team:  An Innovative Approach to Career Exploration and Awareness,’ where we shared the Dream Team’s objectives to raise awareness of the amazing products made in our region, modern technologies used by manufacturing companies and the great careers available in the manufacturing sector,” said Esoda.

The Dream Team program gained an overwhelming amount of support from school districts and manufacturing companies in year one. The program has also formed partnerships with multiple regional economic development and workforce partners, including the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement, the Berwick Industrial Development Association, the Lackawanna County Workforce Investment & Opportunity Act Board and the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission.

The Dream Team was also recognized as a best practice at conferences led by the Northeast Intermediate Unit (NEIU) 18 as well as the PA Department of Education.

NEPIRC’s school outreach efforts are made possible by the Pennsylvania Manufacturing PA Training-to-Career Grant approved by the Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) in 2022.

Information about the NEPIRC Manufacturing Ambassador Dream Team Program can be found on the program’s new website, NEPIRC.com/DreamTeam.

School faculty and administrators interested in having a Dream Team Ambassador speak at a career fair, at a specific classroom or other school event should contact Jenelle Osborne, Dream Team project coordinator, via email at Jenelle@NEPIRC.com.  

NEPIRC CEO Appointed to Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) recently announced the appointment of 10 individuals, including Eric Joseph Esoda, president and CEO of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC), to the Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee (IGPAC).

The full roster of appointees, consisting of tribal, local, regional and state representatives, includes:

  • Eric Joseph Esoda, president and CEO, Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center
  • Sam Cho, commissioner, Port of Seattle
  • James Collard, director of planning and economic development, Citizen Potawatomi Nation
  • Emily Desai, deputy director of international affairs and trade, California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development
  • Yusuf Hakeem, Tennessee State House Representative
  • Rory Hoskins, mayor of Forest Park, Illinois
  • Mike Matson, mayor of Davenport, Iowa
  • Laurence Reszetar, director of international business strategy, Minnesota Trade Office
  • Daphnee Sainvil, division manager, Government Affairs and Economic Development, City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Eugene Seroka, executive director, The Port of Los Angeles

“This highly qualified group of stakeholders and elected officials represent diverse backgrounds, interests and priorities, and I congratulate them on joining this important committee,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “The IGPAC is a critical link that ensures USTR’s work is responsive to needs of all people in the United States,” she added.

The new appointees will join five existing members of the committee. The IGPAC provides general policy advice to the United States Trade Representative on issues involving trade and development that have a significant relationship to the affairs of U.S. state and local governments. Advisement areas may include negotiation objectives and bargaining positions prior to entering into multinational trade agreements, the anticipated or actual impacts of implementing trade agreements, ongoing or other matters relating to previously executed trade agreements or general matters regarding the trade policies of the United States. The Committee is comprised of members who have expertise in general trade, investment and development issues.

As a member of the committee, Esoda will represent the concerns and opinions of small and mid-sized domestic manufacturers. Esoda brings more than 20 years of economic development experience, coupled with private consulting and business advising expertise. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Scranton, a master’s degree in accounting from Binghamton University and certification in diversity and inclusion from Cornell University. He is currently pursuing a business strategy certificate from Cornell University.   

NEPIRC Marketing Manager Appointed to National Steering Committee

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) announces that Chelsey Coslett, manager of marketing and stakeholder engagement, recently accepted an appointment to the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST’s) Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Network’s (MEPNN’s) marketing steering committee.

As a member of the MEPNN marketing steering committee, Coslett joins 10 other marketing professionals from across the nation. The committee is responsible for setting the overall direction of, and planning the activities for, the MEPNN marketing working group and community of practitioners as well as providing input on tactics for the MEPNN national awareness campaign. The steering committee also provides support, guidance and oversight to the marketing working group and identifies communication and branding priorities for the National Network, which consists of 51 MEP Centers working across 430 service locations with over 1,450 professionals.   

MEPNN marketing steering committee members are committed to upholding the values and objectives of the working group and actively participate, provide thoughtful input and focus on the best interests of the group and the National Network. 

“The MEP National Network marketing and branding effort strives not only to make sure that our nation’s small and mid-sized manufacturers know about the services available through Network affiliates but, of equal importance, create a more accurate public image and impression of manufacturing and raise awareness about the criticality of manufacturing to our nation and the value of industrial careers,” said Eric Joseph Esoda, NEPIRC president and CEO. “We’re delighted that Ms. Coslett was chosen, based upon her expertise and what she’s done for our organization, clients and region, to be a leader in moving the National Network’s marketing strategies forward.”

NEPIRC looks forward to Coslett’s participation on the MEPNN marketing steering committee, as it further positions NEPIRC as a national player in the Network.