Wolf Administration Announces $1.5 Million Investment to Bolster Advanced Textile Manufacturing in PA

Philadelphia, PA – Today, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) announced that a $1.5 million Manufacturing PA grant has been awarded to the Pennsylvania Fabric Discovery Center (PA FDC)—a center that will create a manufacturing-based revolution by enhancing traditional fibers, yarns, and textiles into highly sophisticated integrated systems and networked devices.

DCED Executive Deputy Secretary Neil Weaver today joined Mayor Kenney, local officials, and community members to celebrate the grand opening of the center housed at Drexel University.

“This initiative was designed to bolster Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector by assisting companies and strengthening our workforce. It was designed to connect educational institutions with businesses to develop new technologies and make the commonwealth a leader in manufacturing innovation,” Executive Deputy Secretary Weaver said. “The Fabric Discovery Center is helping us rebuild Pennsylvania’s textile industry, and it’s growing our economy by developing new processes, creating jobs, and fostering collaboration.”

In 2016, Governor Wolf visited MIT in celebration of the announcement of a Department of Defense grant funding to accelerate the growth of advanced fibers and functional fabrics in the defense and commercial markets. PA FDC, an initiative to create advanced functional fabrics and 21st century jobs, is the first national node of the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) manufacturing network to be established outside of Massachusetts.

“The opening of the Fabric Discovery Center puts Philadelphia and Drexel at the cutting-edge of the new and fast-growing, multi-billion-dollar functional fabrics manufacturing industry,” said Drexel University President John Fry. “Today marks the start of a new era for the commonwealth, the city and our university.”

Drexel University’s Center for Functional Fabrics (CFF) aims to provide the infrastructure and resources to once again manufacture textiles in Philadelphia, and to create a new economy based on innovations, collaborations, and connections at educational and industrial levels.

“This facility will enable Drexel to continue its leadership in the development of functional fabrics. There is great interest in using textiles as a future interface from various industry sectors. Thanks to the support of the commonwealth and the grant from DCED, the PA FDC at Drexel is uniquely positioned to engage, collaborate, and innovate with government, academia, and industry to advance this new functional fabrics industry,” said Genevieve Dion, Professor, Design Westphal College of Media Arts and Design and Director, PA FDC, Director, CFF.

PA FDC will provide research and development textile prototyping facilities and will include space to support small to mid-size start-up incubation and activities related to education and workforce development. The center’s vision is to help lead innovation and fuel economic expansion in advanced manufacturing of functional fabrics across Pennsylvania. A world class transdisciplinary center, teams from academia and industry will work together to address the grand challenges of advanced manufacturing, digital fabrication, modeling, design, and rapid prototyping.

For more information about the Wolf Administration’s commitment to businesses development, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Casey Smith, DCED, 717.783.1132

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