President Clinton yesterday declared the week of Sept. 19-25, 1999, as Small Manufacturing Week to recognize the contributions of America’s small manufacturing firms. Such firms employ fewer than 500 people, but contribute substantially to the nation’s economic strength and competitiveness.
"As we observe Small Manufacturing Week, let us pay tribute to America’s more than 385,000 small manufacturing firms whose unfailing commitment to hard work and excellence has helped set our country on a steady course for continued growth and prosperity," President Clinton said.
"I am proud to join President Clinton and our nation’s governors in celebrating America’s small manufacturers. Located in big cities and small towns, in rural communities and urban centers, these small companies are providing millions of good jobs and are helping to make this country strong, economically sound and more competitive," Commerce Secretary William M. Daley said.
Earlier this year, Daley declared 1999 as the Year of the Small Manufacturer. In addition, the National Governors’ Association passed a resolution in support of the year, and many governors have issued proclamations recognizing small manufacturers in their respective states.
During Small Manufacturing Week, on September 21 and 22, hundreds of small manufacturers, policy makers, leaders in industry and academia and others will convene at a National Manufacturing Summit to recognize and honor small manufacturers and to discuss ways to improve the performance of small manufacturers in four key areas: supplier relationships, e-commerce, workforce and international trade.
As part of the summit, an exhibit of more than 200 products made by small manufacturers from around the country will be displayed.
The summit is being held at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., and is sponsored by the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a program of the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology; the National Association of Manufacturers and the Modernization Forum.
The NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership is a nationwide network of non-profit centers serving small manufacturers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 4,412 firms served by MEP centers in 1997. These companies reported an increase in sales of $236 million, a reduction of $31 million in inventory, and a savings of $24 million in labor and materials. They also created or retained 6,755 jobs and invested more than $193 million in modernization. They directly attribute these benefits to the assistance provided by the NIST manufacturing extension centers.
As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST strengthens the U.S. economy and improves the quality of life by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program and the Baldrige National Quality Program.