University of Pittsburgh students will support the adoption of robotics and autonomous technology by regional companies through a collaboration between the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and Catalyst Connection.
The Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Robotics Expansion Project is the result of $62.7 million in federal funding to the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative. The $771,359 in funding to Katz’s Center for Integrated Learning enables the school to expand its relationship with Catalyst Connection, a not-for-profit that helps small companies in southwestern Pennsylvania accelerate revenue growth and improve productivity.
Katz will provide more than 100 students for technical, strategic, and market consulting to 27 small- and medium-sized businesses in agriculture, construction, energy, health care, manufacturing, mining, and transportation.
Meaningful Opportunities to Learn and Work
These paid positions will be available primarily to graduate students in Katz, the Swanson School of Engineering, the School of Computing and Information, and the School of Law. Applications will be available through Katz Career Management and Corporate Engagement for positions starting in 2023 for the first of three years.
“With the help of students from Katz and other Pitt schools, this project will support factory modernization, bring the research and development resources of Greater Pittsburgh’s anchor institutions to these companies, expand manufacturing supply chains, and fill the region’s idled brownfields with thriving enterprises,” said Petra Mitchell, CEO of Catalyst Connection.
According to Catalyst Connection, SME manufacturers are a key sector in Southwestern PA with 2,773 establishments employing 86,000 people (7.8% of the total workforce) and contributing $14.6 billion in GDP.
Sara Moeller, associate dean of Graduate Programs and Executive Education at Katz, said: “The Robotics Expansion Project provides tremendous opportunities for us to incorporate classroom learning into meaningful work. Our students will help small manufacturers adopt the newest robotics and autonomous technologies to operate more efficiently and better compete.”
Experience Beyond the Classroom
Moeller said the goal of Katz’s Center for Integrated Learning is to “ensure that learning objectives are relevant, and the knowledge and skills are transferrable to help our students succeed in today’s business world.”
The Center’s mission is focused on enhanced consolidation of three elements of the student experience: integrated curriculum, experiential curriculum, and beyond the classroom experience. The Center brings together interdisciplinary faculty experts and external local, national, and global partners to drive research, experiential learning, and community-based work for students.
The University as a whole received more than $2.2 million in economic development funding. Alongside Katz, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence and School of Computing and Information received funds. To learn more about the other funding recipients, click here.