Through the Build Back Better (BBB) Regional Challenge awarded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration to the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative, the ARM Institute and RIDC are working with four regional Innovation Accelerators for robotics, formerly called Makerspaces, in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The Innovation Accelerators, located in Allegheny, Armstrong, Cambria, Indiana, and Westmoreland counties in Pennsylvania, will provide regional manufacturers and entrepreneurs with access to equipment, knowledge, and other resources.

This funding will build upon existing capabilities within the Innovation Accelerators, enhance their equipment and offerings, and make their services more readily available. The services offered through each Accelerator are unique. Through the grant, the ARM Institute will advise the Innovation Accelerators and help to expand the scope of their services to benefit small and medium-sized manufacturers and manufacturing entrepreneurs.

Explore the regional Innovation Accelerators below or contact [email protected] for more information!

Plus, learn more about our Robotics Manufacturing Hub, also provided through the region’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge Grant, here. The Robotics Manufacturing Hub helps small and medium sized manufacturers in Southwestern Pennsylvania evaluate their operations, understand if robotics can address their challenges, and prototype robotics solutions at no cost.


RIDC logo

The Innovation Accelerators are managed and strengthened in partnership between the ARM Institute and RIDC (Regional Industrial Development Corporation). As a private nonprofit with an economic development mission, RIDC combines a community service orientation with the entrepreneurial approach and expertise of a private sector business. RIDC partners with community leaders on development projects designed to spark transformational change.

Explore RIDC

Students stand around a robotics instructor at the CCAC Makerspace

Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)

CCAC’s Entrepreneurial Labs and Makerspace

Oakdale, PA


Justin Starr, Endowed Professor of Advanced Technology, [email protected]

Debra Killmeyer, Dean & Assistant VP of Workforce Development, [email protected]

Community Colleges are engines of regional economic development by providing affordable opportunities for upskilling, training and pathways to family-sustaining wages, and the implementation of a robotics makerspace within this environment is the perfect addition. CCAC’s Entrepreneurial Labs & Makerspace dramatically expand this offering by providing community access to advanced manufacturing, robotic and automation equipment. Located at the college’s West Hills Center, the Entrepreneurial Labs & Makerspace will contain a variety of machining equipment, 3D printers, collaborative robots, high end computer workstations, soldering stations and other resources that will allow community members to fabricate prototypes, products for sale, and digital resources at an extremely low cost. The Entrepreneurial Labs & Makerspace also provides a secure coworking location and office space for individuals seeking to create or scale innovative business ideas. CCAC’s Entrepreneurial Labs and Makerspace are located in Oakdale, PA – minutes from I-79, I-376 and the Pittsburgh International Airport.

Exterior of Penn State New Kenn Makerspace

The Digital Foundry at New Kensington (DFNK)

Penn State New Kensington

New Kensington, PA

Contact: Sherri McCleary, Executive Director, [email protected]   

The Digital Foundry at New Kensington (DFNK), located at 855 Fifth Avenue in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, is a 15,044-square-foot innovation and manufacturing lab space aimed at driving economic growth through technical assistance and skills training in digital manufacturing technologies. The state-of-the-art facility is equipped with the latest in digital manufacturing hardware, software and industry certifications to support training and technical assistance projects. With a dedicated staff, bringing decades of industry experience, the DFNK offers capability and competencies in industrial robotics; smart sensing and edge computing; data analytics; digital automation; computational modeling and digital twins; IIoT; connected systems; and digital threads. A partnership between Penn State New Kensington (PSNK) and the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland, the DFNK is just one block away from PSNK’s Invent Penn State innovation hub, the Corner LaunchBox, an established entrepreneurial learning and coworking space offering programming to help entrepreneurs and small businesses accelerate their growth and de-risk their business. Led by PSNK, together the DFNK and Corner Launchbox offer a regional innovation hub for entrepreneurial and workforce training, making and de-risking, with a focus on the latest in smart digital manufacturing technologies.

Explore the Innovation Forge at the Digital Foundry at New Kensington

Inside of IUP makerspace




IUP STEAMSHOP@RIDC Armstrong Innovation Park, Freeport, PA


Dr. Frederick Adkins, IUP STEAMSHOP Director, [email protected]

Michael Rottman, MADE in Johnstown Director, [email protected]

The Build Back Better Regional Challenge Grant will fund an innovative entrepreneurial robotics makerspace ecosystem spanning Armstrong, Indiana, and Cambria counties. This collaboration includes Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s STEAMSHOP, an IUP-led robotics and electronics-focused STEAMSHOP satellite site at RIDC Armstrong Innovation Park and MADE IN JOHNSTOWN. These makerspaces will offer equipment and services that cater to specific regional needs while sharing resources and programming to maximize impact and reduce duplication of effort. The initiative will bring valuable skills, training, and equipment to residents of the three counties, offering a wide collection of technology and machinery for prototyping, building, and manufacturing products. The project also includes educational training in entrepreneurial and business skills, which will be coordinated centrally and shared across all three counties.

Outside view of Westmoreland MAKERSPACE DISTRICT


Westmoreland County Community College

Youngwood, PA

Contact: Dr. Byron Kohut, Dean, School of Technology, [email protected]

With several years of experience in mentoring and housing start-up ventures, Westmoreland County Community College is excited to announce the development and creation of our MAKERSPACE District! With regional funding from Build Back Better, MAKERSPACE District, part of Westmoreland County Community College, is a dedicated entrepreneurial/makerspace program to solidify and formalize a sustainable model of promoting and assisting entrepreneurial successes in southwestern Pennsylvania. MAKERSPACE District will be a center for excellence, taking entrepreneurs from the garage to the marketplace by providing a geographically accessible manufacturing location, entrepreneurial support services, and access to existing technical programming and equipment. Westmoreland has a long history of connecting students, existing companies, and start-ups with the larger ecosystem of workplace, economic development, and business support agencies.

Looking for More Information?

To learn more about the Robotics Manfuacturing Hub or the Makerspaces funded through the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative Build Back Better Regional Challenge Grant, email us at [email protected].