AIM Higher Consortium

David Carrick | 412.327.9119 |

Growing the Defense Supply Chain in PA & WV


The AIM Higher Consortium is a comprehensive initiative funded by the Department of Defense – Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) designed to strengthen the defense industrial ecosystem in the Southwest Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia region.

The primary aims include accelerating defense manufacturing research and innovation efforts, fostering improvements and growth for defense supply chain companies, addressing industry needs for workforce development and training, and providing access to capital for growth in the defense sector. Exploration and adoption of advanced technology such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, additive manufacturing, and more is the overarching theme throughout all the project objectives.


Opportunities for Manufacturing Companies

Manufacturing companies across West Virginia can access information about the AIM Higher Consortium and supply chain opportunities to work with the Department of Defense. A dedicated website is under construction that will include the following:

  • Connections – Access to members of the AIM Higher Consortium members and contact information of the contacts who can assist manufacturers with the program.
  • Resources – Tools and data are available for manufacturers to access to learn more about the program and how they can gain visibility to Department of Defense supply chain decision makers. Resources include the following:
    • AIM Higher Self Assessment. Manufacturers can complete this self-assessment to learn about their potential role in the Defense Supply Chain and specific needs to increase their opportunities for success. Click here to complete the Self Assessment.
    • Supply Chain Asset Map. Manufacturers in the Defense Supply Chain can leverage this asset map to find suitable resources for addressing their challenges and achieving efficiency, productivity, sustainability, and workforce development goals. Ex. Metals manufacturer identifies system integrators to implement machine monitoring and predictive maintenance system incorporating IoT and Machine Learning to reduce maintenance costs and increase operational uptime.
  • Supplier Capabilities Database. Department of Defense acquisition/purchasing organizations will leverage this asset map to identify suppliers in the Southwest PA and Northern WV that have the capabilities (prior experience, manufacturing processes, production technologies, tracking/traceability, cybersecurity, etc) required by their product or project. Ex. Navy acquisition team identifies supplier capable of precision machining of exotic metals, wire EDM cutting, and light assembly who has NIST 800-171/CMMC certifications for producing a new critical assembly.
  • Grants – The AIM Higher Mini-Grant program is focused on supporting project efforts of manufacturers currently in the Defense Supply chain, or actively pursuing DoD opportunities. After completing an initial assessment with an appropriate AIM Higher Consortium organization, mini-grants are available for a wide range of technology implementation projects such as Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics, Additive Manufacturing, and more. Click here for guidelines and program information.
  • News and Events – A monthly newsletter will be archived in this section with the latest news about the industry. Additionally, a calendar of events that include training and workshops that are held by AIM Higher Consortium members and other organizations that are hosting relevant events.

Program Outcomes

The AIM Consortium projects the following outcomes in the region during the three-year project period:

  • 500 defense sector jobs created & retained
  • $240,000,000 in sales growth in defense sector
  • $40,000,000 in new defense sector investments

Program Outputs

These results will be driven by the following AIM Consortium project outputs:

  • Establishment and updates to a manufacturing research & innovation agenda
  • 36 AIM convenings & events including 3 defense supplier job fairs
  • 1,500 defense company engagements
  • 150 defense suppliers secure technical assistance & support
  • 72 defense companies secure Manufacturing Technical Assistance Mini-Grants
  • 50 defense companies secure investment from AIM Capital network
  • 50 new defense technology prototypes
  • 750 workers trained & upskilled
  • Defense supplier Asset Map and Capability Database
  • Dedicated website and 12 AIM Higher newsletters

Consortium Partners

The AIM Higher Consortium is led by Catalyst Connection with numerous academic, economic development, technology institute, and manufacturing partners from around the region. The Consortium brings a wide range of expertise and experience, all focused on elevating the regional defense manufacturing base.  Partners include America Makes, ARM Institute, Belleflex Technologies, Carnegie Mellon University, CCAC, CCBC, Concurrent Technologies Corp., ExOne, Robert Morris University, IN-2-Market, Innovation Works, JARI, Johnstown Welding and Fabricating, Inc., MECCO Marking and Traceability, Metal Solutions, New Century Careers, Partner4Work, RE Squared (RE2), Robert C. Byrd Institute, Schmidt Presses, SPC, Stellar Precision, Sustainable Strategies, SW Corner, TEAM Consortium, TechConnectWV, The Barnes Global Advisors/Neighborhood 91, Tri County, WDB, Tronix3D, University of Pittsburgh, Universal Stainless, West Virginia University, WDB, and XPER, Inc.

If you are interested in learning more contact us today!