The U.S. Department of Commerce and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts today officially dedicated the Massachusetts Manufacturing Partnership (MMP), an organization aimed at helping companies in the commonwealth adopt and effectively apply modern technologies and best management practices, improve worker skills and tap new markets.
The MMP, a division of the quasi-public Bay State Skills Corp. (BSSC), is affiliated with the Department of Commerce's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Managed by Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the MEP is a growing nationwide network of extension services to help smaller manufacturers. Forty-four centers currently make up the MEP, with President Clinton calling for a total of 100 centers in the network by 1997.
Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown said, "The strong performance of Massachusetts' small and medium-sized manufacturers is vital to the economic growth of the United States and the nation's competitiveness in the global marketplace. The partnership started today will effectively network these companies into the latest technological advances and expertise—a strategy that has proven very successful in other states served by the MEP."
Signing a letter of partnership today were representatives of the commonwealth, BSSC, MMP, the MMP regional boards and NIST. The signing ceremony was held at Market Forge Industries Inc., a 97-year-old manufacturer of industrial food service equipment and one of the first companies to contract with the MMP for assistance.
The MMP is a five-office network that serves more than 10,000 manufacturing companies in Massachusetts. About half of these businesses are located in the Greater Boston area and 80 percent employ fewer than 50 people. Major industries served by the MMP include fabricated metals, electronics, plastics, fiber optics, textiles and defense.
The five regional offices of the MMP are in Dartmouth, Boston, Holden, Lowell and Springfield. Each is locally owned and operated, and each provides a broad range of expertise by marshaling the resources of educational institutions, private consultants and public-sector partners in the service area.
Federal support for the MMP is provided 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. Thirty-seven of the 44 MEP extension centers are funded through the TRP, which is managed by the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).
For more information on the MMP, contact Sue Paxman at (617) 292-5100.