Cambria County lures Pittsburgh tech company

EBENSBURG — An ongoing initiative to build a business relationship with Pittsburgh may be paying off for Cambria County officials, who announced Thursday that a city tech company is looking to expand locally.

“This is the first success of recruiting a company to come to our area and open up a regional location,” said Tyler Trimbath, a leader within Cambria County’s Bridge to Pittsburgh program.

On Thursday, Cambria officials announced that Pittsburgh-based tech company SDLC Partners, which employees about 500 people, is poised to open a local office.

A message left for SDLC representatives Friday was not returned.

But according to the Thursday announcement, the Pittsburgh company hopes to hire JAVA software developers for the Cambria location.

Mike Artim, the lead Bridge to Pittsburgh Consul­tant, said SDLC officials have been eyeing sites in Johnstown but “haven’t ruled out Ebensburg.”

The metaphorical “bridge” refers to an effort to establish business relationships between the economically depressed Cambria County and successful Pittsburgh companies.

The goal is to create jobs — including remote positions — for skilled Cambria residents while encouraging them to remain within the local community.

That goal was apparent with the SDLC announcement.

“They have a need for talent that we think we may have,” Artim said.

Last week, Cambria officials could not say exactly how many jobs would be offered by SDLC. However, if the company’s work is successful, its presence within the county could grow.

“We see this starting out small and expanding,” Artim said. “The talent is the only thing that matters. They are willing to put the operation up because of the talent.”

Finding job opportunities for those skilled workers is paramount in an area that has experienced a decline in available employment oppor­tunities, Trimbath said.

“During those slow times, we need to keep people working keep them employed,” he said, explaining his job is to seek out companies that best fit Cambria County.

“What we don’t want to do is go out and recruit and look for companies that we know maybe a talent-base doesn’t exist for here,” Trimbath said.

And he pointed out that the jobs these companies offer are well-paying.

“They are extremely competitive,” he said. “These are family- sustaining jobs.”

Artim said the Bridge to Pittsburgh program is funded by U.S. Department of Defense grant funds that were sought by Cambria County Commissioners.

And on Friday, President Commissioner Tom Cher­nisky said the county has had a longstanding relationship with Pittsburgh business leaders, who visit the Cambria region for recreation opportunities.

“They already know about our community,” he said. “They already know about our outdoor recreation and our trails.”

The business connection is just the next step in improving that relationship, he said, calling it mutually beneficial.

While technology companies are the target of Bridge to Pittsburgh, Artim and Trimbath have taken an old-fashioned approach, Cher­nisky said, explaining that the program leaders have put in a lot of face-time with business leaders.

“They are doing blue collar work in the white collar world — going out and knocking on doors,” Chernisky said. “We are marketing the entire county. We are helping companies find their talent, and, if they can find talent here, they’ll grow here.”

Mirror Staff Writer Sean Sauro is at 946-7535.

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