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Ivanka Trump tours Astrobotic, meets Girls of Steel robotics team during Pittsburgh visit |

Ivanka Trump tours Astrobotic, meets Girls of Steel robotics team during Pittsburgh visit

Ivanka Trump watches a robotics demo with the Girls of Steel robotics team Tuesday during her visit to Pittsburgh.
In a Thursday, July 19, 2018 photo, Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump, applauds during a signing ceremony where President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that establishes a National Council for the American Worker in the East Room of the White House, in Washington. Ivanka Trump’s clothing company is shutting down and all its employees are being laid off, according to news reports. The New York Post is reporting that its sources say the company “will be shuttered ‘ASAP’ and that staff have been informed that they’re being laid off.”

Presidential adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump took in Pittsburgh’s robotics scene Tuesday.

The president’s daughter visited Astrobotic, a space delivery company in the Strip District, talked with the Girls of Steel robotics team and met with leaders from some of the city’s top tech companies, said Brian Kennedy, senior vice president for operations and government affairs at the Pittsburgh Technology Council, which helped organize the visit.

Kennedy said Trump talked about the need to educate students and train workers for jobs in the high-tech economy.

“She’s very interested in supporting the full spectrum of developing the workforce,” Kennedy said, adding that Trump spent time talking about the need for training experienced workers at risk of being left behind. “It was good to hear her focus on the entire pipeline.”

Conversations with the White House started in June when the Pittsburgh Technology Council took a group of companies to Washington. They met with leaders in the House, Senate and White House to talk about Pittsburgh’s technology scene, STEM education and concerns they had with visa delays and immigration reform.

The White House called a few days after to begin planning Trump’s visit. Kennedy said Trump already knew about Robotics Row and was interested in checking it out.

Robotics Row is a concentration of tech startups spanning from Downtown, through the Strip District and into Lawrenceville. More than 20 robotics companies call Robotics Row home. Uber’s self-driving car project is headquartered there. So are rival self-driving car companies Argo AI and Aurora Innovation.

Edge Case Research, a company searching for bugs in self-driving car software, had its office in a former ice-making factory. Nearby, Carnegie Robotics sits on the site of the former Heppenstall Steel Company mill and RedZone Robotics, which sends robots into sewers, works out of the old Geoffrey Boehm Chocolates factory.

Many of the companies have spun out of Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center in Lawrenceville.

Trump last visited the Pittsburgh area in February when she held a small-business roundtable in Mt. Lebanon.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Aaron at 412-336-8448, [email protected] or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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