The Clinton Administration today announced that the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology will provide $3.5 million in funding for the Chicago Manufacturing Center. The Chicago organization is part of NIST's cost-sharing Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which offers technical and business assistance to small and medium-sized manufacturers.
President Bill Clinton said, "Cost-sharing is just one indication of the true partnership that is taking place at the Chicago center and around the country. The goal in each of these centers is to create and retain high-quality jobs for U.S. workers and to help smaller manufacturers be even more productive."
In addition to the $3.5 million provided by NIST, the city of Chicago and others contribute an equal amount. Federal funding to support MEP affiliates initially is matched by state or local funding, fees for services and industry contributions.
"This award reflects the Administration's renewed commitment to assisting our nation's 381,000 smaller manufacturers through this important program," said Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor. "We have dramatically expanded the MEP to help those manufacturers become more competitive in world markets. Including the Chicago center, 60 locally managed manufacturing extension centers up from seven in 1993 are delivering much-needed services to this important sector of our economy," he said.
CMC has been an affiliate of the MEP since 1994. Federal funding for CMC's activities initially came from the Defense Department's Technology Reinvestment Project. NIST's decision to continue funding followed a thorough review by NIST of CMC's knowledge of the numbers, types and needs of Chicago's smaller manufacturers; its technology and business resources; technology delivery mechanisms; and management and financial plan.
CMC is a non-profit, public-private partnership. Its goal is to organize, coordinate and deliver services and technical resources aimed at helping Chicago area manufacturers adopt and effectively apply modern technologies and best management practices, improve worker skills and tap new markets. The center serves the six-county Chicago metropolitan area, home to some 15,000 manufacturing companies employing 400,000 workers.
To provide a broad range of services, CMC has partnered with a wide variety of organizations, including universities, community colleges, research organizations, financial institutions and private consultants.
The NIST MEP is a nationwide network of locally managed centers in 42 states and Puerto Rico offering technical assistance and the newest business practices to smaller manufacturers. While most MEP affiliates have been providing services for only a year or two, results from earlier established centers indicate that MEP's network of manufacturing extension services is fostering significant improvements in manufacturing and business performance.
According to a 1994 survey of 610 firms, benefits anticipated totaled $167 million, the cumulative result of sales increases and cost savings attributed to actions undertaken with technical assistance from MEP centers. Benefits per company included 5.6 jobs added or saved and $43,000 savings in labor and material costs.
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.