Project RESOLVE is a regional strategy for shifting the plastics, metal-casting, and transportation industries to a circular economic model to address plastic and waste pollution that ultimately affects the health of freshwater supplies such as Lake Erie. RESOLVE will advance manufacturing competitiveness and environmental vitality in parallel rather than in traditionally oppositional actions.
The initiative leverages regional differentiators and strengths, including:
- Manufacturing strongholds in plastics, metal-casting, and transportation
- The expertise of Penn State Behrend’s plastics engineering program
- The strength of regional universities in the environmental sciences
- Proximity to Lake Erie
To implement RESOLVE, a diverse set of partners are now assessing and addressing both opportunities and challenges in technology development and adoption, recycling infrastructure, measurement standards, telework capability and capacity, site development, entrepreneurship, and impact on underrepresented communities disproportionately affected by plastic and waste pollution.
Support for Project RESOLVE
RESOLVE was proposed by Penn State Behrend at the encouragement of Erie County Council as a task force of Council members and community leaders was developing a framework for the allocation of ARP funds. The challenge was to propose a project “that can create a multiplier effect, catapulting the economy forward.” The response by Penn State Behrend is Project RESOLVE.
As envisioned, RESOLVE:
- Will directly support local plastics, metal-casting, and transportation companies providing approximately 17% of all jobs in the Erie region.
- Will require – and has the identified support – of a range of university, industry, and government partners.
- Has been identified by the Erie Investment Playbook (2022) as a high-profile, shovel-ready project.
- Aligns with recommendations proposed in the Comprehensive Economic Development Study released in 2012 and 2022 by the Northwest Commission.
- Aligns with the new “Commonwealth of Innovation” report by the Brookings Institution, which found that advanced industry employment in Pennsylvania has declined over the past decade, particularly in Erie County.
Project RESOLVE Implementation
For as long as a decade, each of the partners has been progressing incrementally on their areas of strength that will support the RESOLVE strategy. As supply chain disruptions occur due to the adoption of electric vehicles, the window to compete with efforts being undertaken in areas such as North Carolina is shrinking. Implementation of RESOLVE will require dedicated and consistent investment at local and state levels to ensure the Erie region and Commonwealth can compete.
Read more about implementing the RESOLVE strategy.
Five Elements of Project RESOLVE
This 10-year, $120 million regional strategy has five key elements detailed at these links:
- RESOLVE 1 & 2: Center for Manufacturing Competitiveness
- RESOLVE 3: Lake Erie Data Collection and Transfer
- RESOLVE 4: Regional Growth Cluster Placemaking
- RESOLVE 5: NWPA Innovation Beehive Network
The first two elements relate to construction of a Center for Manufacturing Competitiveness, which will include plastics and metal-casting research labs and a heavy-haul battery testing facility. This phase is represented in the context of the larger Project RESOLVE in the graphic shown below.