Greater Reading has deep manufacturing roots. Today the region maintains its reputation as a global manufacturing center — home to both domestic and international companies representing specialty metals, plastics, food products and more.
In addition, manufacturing in Greater Reading is among the top metropolitan areas with the highest share of solid paying new jobs. This translates into offering entry-level workers the greatest opportunity for growth in earnings and advancement.
As the primary marketer for Greater Reading, Pennsylvania, the Greater Reading Economic Partnership (GREP) has seen inquiries from companies and site selection groups growing steadily over the past five years. In 2015 and 2016 GREP saw over 50 percent of inquiries coming from manufacturing related businesses.
Because of the important role manufacturing plays in the local economy, GREP is strategically focused on not only attracting manufacturers to the region, but also retaining them. The retention and growth of Berks based, small to medium sized manufacturing companies is a top priority. Beginning in 2013 GREP led the charge on developing and implementing a formal Business Expansion and Growth program for the region.
Since implementing the program three years ago, GREP has met with over 125 businesses, to offer the necessary tools and resources to achieve their goals. By the way, those 125+ companies employ over 30,000 people in the Greater Reading region. Of those 125+ companies, 20+ companies have expanded or grown their employment base.
What has happened in 2016 through the Business Expansion and Growth program?
• GREP met with 48 Berks companies employing over 6,400+ people
•17 of those companies plan to expand within the next 12 to 18 months
• 7 of those do not have space at their current facility
• Top challenges identified in addition to space is workforce, workforce, workforce
• Entry level, unskilled employees
• Maintenance Techs
• CNC Operators
Helping companies to expand is not the only way GREP supports local companies. The organization is able to identify and match resources to meet various needs such as;
• Workforce training
• Property research
• State + local government introductions
• Exporting support
• Business to business introductions + referrals
The Greater Reading region’s lower cost of doing business, proximity to major markets, and the incredible workforce training facilities in the area combine to make the region an ideal location for manufacturing operations.
GREP is committed to the Business Expansion and Growth program and will expand the strategy as part of the merger with the Greater Reading Chamber and the Greater Berks Development Fund.
The new entity will be called, Greater Reading Chamber and Economic Development Corporation, focused on assisting companies to retain, expand and grow their operations and employment and attract new businesses to Berks County.
GREP’s resources are your resources - visit GreaterReading.com or contact Deb Heffner at the Greater Reading Economic Partnership at 610.376.4237 or Deb@GreaterReading.com.