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Defense Conversion Funds Make Iowa Manufacturing Technology Center A Reality

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown and Congressman Neal Smith (D-Iowa), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and Judiciary, today announced the opening of the Iowa Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC) as part of a program to help the state's small and medium-sized manufacturers become more competitive through the adoption of new technologies.

The center, located at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in Ankeny, Iowa, will combine and expand the services of Iowa's existing manufacturing and technology organizations under a single entity.

Secretary Brown said, "In a competitive global marketplace, technological leadership is the surest ticket to economic success. This center will enable Iowa's 5,800 manufacturers-- most of whom are small businesses with fewer than 100 employees-- to be networked into the forefront of technological change."

The Iowa MTC is the latest addition to the growing list of regionally based Manufacturing Technology Centers and smaller, more locally based Manufacturing Outreach Centers. Part of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) managed by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), these extension centers are the cornerstones of a grassroots effort to improve the competitiveness of small and mid-sized manufacturers by helping them adopt new technologies. All extension centers are selected after a competitive process.

The geographic reach of the MEP is expanding significantly in 1994 with the establishment of new centers managed by NIST with defense conversion funding from the Technology Reinvestment Project (TRP), directed by the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). This is the case with the Iowa MTC, which will receive $8.3 million from the TRP for the first three years of operation. During the same period, matching funds by the state of Iowa and private-sector contributions will bring the total program budget for the center's first three years to $16.6 million.

Among the services offered to manufacturers by the Iowa MTC are: evaluations of operations, company needs assessments, technical problem solving, management education and training, workforce education and training, quality improvement, new product development, general business and marketing assistance, and technology transfer.

Principal partners with NIST in the operation of the Iowa MTC are Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa) and host DMACC. Cooperating organizations include the Wallace Technology Transfer Foundation, the Heartland Technology Network, the Iowa Technology Transfer Council and the Department of Energy - Ames Laboratory.

As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards. For more information on the Iowa MTC, contact Del Shepard, Director, Iowa MTC, DMACC, 20006 S. Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny, Iowa 50021, (515) 965-7040.

For information on the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership, contact the MEP Office, B115 Polymer Building, NIST, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-0001, (301) 975-5020.

Released February 16, 1994, Updated November 27, 2017