Commerce Secretary William Daley today applauded the National Governors Association for their approval of a resolution supporting 1999 as the Year of the Small Manufacturer. The NGA acted at its winter meeting this week, following Daley’s proclamation earlier this month. "I am pleased that the states are partnering with us in recognizing these companies’ important contributions to the economic strength and well-being of the United States," Daley said. "My Department’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership works hand-in-hand with the states in helping small manufacturers solve problems, increase productivity and become more profitable," he said.
Gov. Thomas Carper of Delaware, chairman of the NGA, said, "The nation’s governors proudly acknowledge 1999 as the Year of the Small Manufacturer in recognition of our nation’s small manufacturers whose vitality and dedication to the American spirit of free enterprise have done so much for the prosperity of this country’s economy."
Throughout 1999, MEP, a program of the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, and its nationwide network of centers are planning a series of events to celebrate the achievements of small manufacturers.
Started in 1989 with three centers, the MEP is a nationwide network of manufacturing extension centers and field offices providing business and technical assistance to small manufacturers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
NIST’s MEP has worked closely with NGA in a number of areas. In August 1998, NGA’s Economic Development and Commerce Committee issued a report, "The Future of the State-Federal Partnership in Manufacturing Extension, that said, "States already are partners with MEP, and Governors should consider how to make better use of this strategic asset in the global competition for jobs and strong economies."
As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.