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Brown, Daley Sign Agreement to Launch New Center for Delivering Manufacturing Services to Chicago Businesses

U.S. Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley today signed a letter of partnership to officially dedicate the Chicago Manufacturing Technology Extension Center (CMTEC). The organization is aimed at helping companies in the nation's third largest manufacturing cluster adopt and effectively apply modern technologies and best management practices, improve worker skills and tap new markets.

The CMTEC, operated by the private, non-profit Chicago Manufacturing Center (CMC), is affiliated with the Department of Commerce's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Part of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the MEP is a national network of manufacturing extension centers currently numbering 35. President Clinton has called for a total of 100 centers in the network by 1997.

Secretary Brown said, "Economic success in the global marketplace goes to those companies effectively networked into the latest technological advances and expertise. The Chicago MTEC provides this region's small and medium-sized manufacturers with that competitive edge."

"The Chicago Manufacturing Technology Extension Center, as a technical and business assistance organization, provides an essential element for strengthening the region's manufacturing core. The CMTEC is a major expansion of the services available to small and mid-sized manufacturers in Chicago," said Mayor Daley.

The center serves the six-county Chicago metropolitan area, home to some 15,000 manufacturing companies employing 400,000 workers. Within this large market, the CMTEC targets small and medium firms in six industry "clusters" considered crucial to the Illinois economy. These clusters include: consumer appliances and electronics, electrical equipment, industrial machinery, manufactured inputs (such as metalworking and food processing), telecommunications equipment and transportation equipment.

The CMTEC's service delivery system combines the resources of a senior staff of experienced manufacturing experts with a regional network of service providers, universities and colleges, national laboratories, economic development organizations and financial institutions that are affiliates of the CMC. Among the organizations with whom the CMTEC is developing partnerships are: Argonne National Laboratory, Northwestern University's Basic Industry Research Laboratory, the Illinois Institute of Technology's Manufacturing Productivity Center, the Illinois Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.

Another important alliance is an affiliation with the Chicago World Trade Center, where the CMC maintains a satellite office. Trade specialists in this office work with CMTEC clients to develop new international markets.

The CMTEC is partially funded through the Technology Reinvestment Project (TRP), the federal government's program to provide funds for dual-use (military and civilian) technology development, deployment and utilization. Twenty-eight of the current 35 MEP extension centers are funded through the TRP, which is managed by the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). Additional support for the CMTEC comes from the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois and private-sector contributors.

Prior to the signing ceremony, Secretary Brown toured Eaglebrook Plastics and Eaglebrook Products, a local manufacturing firm assisted by CMC during the pilot program which led to the CMTEC's creation. Eaglebrook recycles plastics and manufactures products from recycled materials. Secretary Brown learned how the CMC staff is working with Eaglebrook officials to identify and implement improvements in material handling procedures and inventory tracking methods.

Rheal Turcotte is president of the CMC and director of the CMTEC. For more information on the CMTEC, contact Helen Squires at (312) 265-2031.

Released July 22, 1994, Updated January 8, 2018