The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology and its state partner in Washington have agreed to close the Washington Alliance for Manufacturing, an affiliate of the NIST- managed Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Established in 1994, the center has had difficulties in maintaining state funding to match the federal support. Together, NIST and Washington state shared concerns that the resulting services and programs could not adequately address the needs of Washington's smaller manufacturers.
NIST and the state will continue to work together in an effort to establish a viable center to provide manufacturing assistance for the state's more than 9,000 small and medium-sized manufacturers. "We are encouraged that dialogue has begun toward the process of rethinking the state's strategy for industrial extension," said Kevin Carr, acting director of NIST's MEP.
A non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards. NIST's MEP is a nationwide network of industrial outreach services to help smaller manufacturers become more competitive. As manager of the partnership, NIST is committed to continuous performance measurement and closely monitors the efficiency and effectiveness of each center's services and service delivery mechanisms.