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Smaller Massachusetts Manufacturers to Get Help in Becoming 'Environmentally Competitive'

The Commerce Department s National Institute of Standards and Technology today announced that small and medium-sized Massachusetts manufacturers will get help in using more efficient technologies and better management techniques to reduce or eliminate sources of pollution in their operations. These techniques will enable smaller manufacturers to become more environmentally and globally competitive.

The announcement was made by Graham Mitchell, assistant secretary of commerce for technology policy, at the Central Massachusetts Economic Summit in Worcester, Mass. The summit was sponsored by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the New England Council, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, and the Committee for the 21st Century.

The Massachusetts Manufacturing Partnership, an affiliate of NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership and a division of Bay State Skills Corp., will integrate environmentally focused assistance into the broader services it offers smaller manufacturers. Others collaborating on the project are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance for Toxics Use Reduction, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute. The project is part of a larger effort being coordinated by NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership, in cooperation with EPA, aimed at helping the nation s 381,000 smaller manufacturers solve environmental concerns in the most cost-effective manner before they become problems requiring regulatory action.

The Massachusetts partners will work together and with NIST and EPA to better understand the connection between pollution prevention and improved environmental and economic performance, to develop environmental information materials for MMP s client companies and to test existing environmental assessment tools. Services offered to client companies will include sponsoring environmentally focused conferences and workshops and helping individual companies or groups of companies to develop cleaner manufacturing processes.

Total funding for the project is about $1.4 million, which includes $561,000 funding from NIST and EPA and about $786,000 in funds and other resources from the Massachusetts partners. The project is contingent on completion of negotiations for a cooperative agreement between NIST and MMP.

Last January, NIST solicited proposals from non-profit organizations for projects in three areas: integrating environmental services into manufacturing extension centers, such as MMP; developing environmentally related technical tools and techniques; and establishing a pilot for a national metal finishing resource center to provide smaller manufacturers with access to comprehensive information on regulatory compliance and pollution prevention opportunities, technologies and techniques.

In June, NIST announced that the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences and three industry partners are establishing the National Metal Finishing Resource Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., to provide an electronic source of environmental information. These efforts will help leverage the locations and resources of the non-profit manufacturing extension centers in MEP s national network of 40-plus centers to make environmental assistance readily available to and cost effective for smaller U.S. manufacturers. NIST will announce other selections of project proposals over the coming months.

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. NIST s Manufacturing Extension Partnership is a growing network of services to assist smaller manufacturers in becoming globally competitive.

BSSC is a quasi-public corporation dedicated to supporting the economic development of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through workforce improvement and workplace enhancement. BSSC both manages the Massachusetts Manufacturing Partnership and offers training services to companies and individuals.

Released July 17, 1995, Updated November 27, 2017