The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced 15 awards under the State Technology Extension Program component of the department's Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The STEP grants, totaling nearly $2 million, will enable state projects to plan, coordinate and implement coordinated manufacturing extension and modernization activities to serve the competitive needs of small and medium-size businesses.
The awards will help states develop plans for providing companies with better access to a wealth of regional and national sources of information, knowledge and insight into the use of modern manufacturing and production technologies.
STEP grants provide matching funds (the grantee generally is required to put up at least 50 percent of the cost of the proposed project) to qualified proposals from state governments and public/private, non-profit organizations acting with the approval of state governments. The latest awards go to Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin, and to regional industry efforts located in Maryland and Oregon. A list of the organizations selected for awards is attached.
STEP-funded projects help states build their own infrastructure for technology outreach services by (1) planning extension systems or technical assistance programs, (2) supporting the initial implementation of such programs, or (3) developing links between existing programs and those in other regions to enhance effectiveness.
The MEP, managed by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, is a nationwide network of organizations to support U.S.-based manufacturers in increasing their competitiveness nationally and internationally through ongoing technological advancement.
For more information on STEP, contact Douglas Deveraux, B115 Polymer Building, NIST, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-0001, (301) 975-5020, e-mail: douglasd [at] enh.nist.gov (via Internet).