FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2023
PITTSBURGH – Calling for a ‘Jobs Renaissance’ for Allegheny County, Joe Rockey, Republican nominee for Allegheny County Executive, today unveiled a six-point plan for economic growth and increased employment.
“It’s time we stopped managing decline and reimagined growth by leveraging our workforce, resources and tradition as a center of innovation and manufacturing,” Rockey said in unveiling the plan during an afternoon press conference on the site of the former Jones & Laughlin steel plant.
The Rockey plan centers on six major themes:
- Maximizing federal programs enacted to encourage re-shoring of manufacturing of components needed by industries from automobiles to computers.
- Leveraging the abundant natural resources of the Allegheny County region.
- Expand employment training programs while encouraging population growth.
- Streamline regulatory processes that have held back business location and expansion, the recent loss of U.S. Steel’s $1.5 billion modernization in the Mon Valley as “Exhibit A.”
- Spark a new industrial renaissance by encouraging an “all-of-the-above” menu of jobs ranging from technology to legacy manufacturing.
- Promote the region to job-creators with a 100-company outreach to promote Allegheny County as a place to locate and grow business.
“We learned an important lesson from the Covid pandemic: the United States cannot again be left at risk of supply chain interruptions. Cars weren’t completed. Computers weren’t built. Vital industries ground to a halt for lack of vital components, many of which had been invented in the U.S.,” Rockey said.
He pointed to the failure of the region to attract investments landed by other states, notably Ohio, under two federal relief packages: The CHIPS Act, which sought to reestablish microchip manufacturing in the United States, and the Inflation Reduction Act, which directed $125 billion to create 86,000 jobs.
“Allegheny County should have had an important share of those federal dollars and a Rockey administration will fight – and fight hard – to redirect our tax dollars back into Allegheny County to create good jobs,” Rockey said.
Rockey’s plan also calls for a county initiative to reduce bureaucratic roadblocks to employment expansion and called for the county to work to create more “pad-ready” sites for businesses seeking to establish manufacturing facilities here.
Endorsed by one of the region’s largest private-sector unions, the Laborers International Union of North America, Rockey promised to conduct a comprehensive workforce analysis to match job openings with training skills, and said he would promote education and training in the trades.
Rockey also enthusiastically endorsed the creation of a so-called “Hydrogen Hub” to manufacture carbon-free fuel, a major industrial goal of the Biden administration that has won the support of present County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Gov. Josh Shapiro. Rockey’s opponent, Sara Innamorato, has voiced opposition to such a project, despite its promise of thousands of jobs in both construction and later staffing of the facility.
“It is a false dichotomy to say we can’t have good jobs and a clean environment. The successful transition from coal to natural gas has shown that we can accomplish this. We have to stop looking for reasons to say ‘no’ to economic growth,” Rockey said.
“The Hydrogen Hub is a clear example of common-sense economic development shared by the majority of Democrats and Republicans alike. It’s bigger than politics and shouldn’t be stymied for cynical, political advantage.”
Rockey also promised to launch what he termed “The 100-Company Project.” He said he would market the region to 100 top companies and act as the county’s “top salesman.”
A retired top executive with PNC, one of the nation’s largest financial institutions, Rockey was born and raised in the North Side, the son of a union Democrat. He has stressed that he is a political moderate able to work with both parties as well as business and labor to reverse job decline, restore public safety and end politics-as-usual in Allegheny County.