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NIST Awards Funding to Support Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturers

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The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will award more than $36 million in annual funding to organizations in 11 states and Puerto Rico, as part of its efforts to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers. The five-year funding agreements will support Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers, which provide a wide range of services to small and medium-sized manufacturers in every state and Puerto Rico. 

“The MEP centers connect local manufacturers with the resources and services necessary to meet new market challenges,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “The Department of Commerce supports these public-private partnerships that improve this sector’s global competitiveness, strengthen our economy and create jobs in communities across the nation.”

The awards will go to organizations in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Utah and Vermont and provide funding for the first year of the five-year agreements. Continued funding is subject to the availability of annual appropriations and successful annual reviews. One remaining award from this federal funding opportunity, announced in January 2016, is still in process.  

“Every day, the MEP system demonstrates the value of strong public-private partnership,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Willie E. May. “This funding will support the continuation and expansion of important efforts in outreach, education and collaboration that provide real benefit to thousands of manufacturers annually.”

The following organizations will sign cooperative agreements to operate centers in their states: 

  • Alabama Technology Network (Montgomery) - $1,780,800
  • Arkansas Economic Development Commission (Little Rock) - $971,218
    MEP center name: Arkansas Economic Development Commission Manufacturing Solutions 
  • California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (Torrance) - $14,046,449
  • Georgia Tech Research Corporation (Atlanta) - $2,693,482
    MEP center name: Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership 
  • Louisiana Community and Technical College System (Baton Rouge) - $1,197,546
    MEP center name: MEPoL
  • Missouri IncuTech Foundation (Rolla) - $2,207,873
    MEP center name: Missouri Enterprise
  • Montana State University (Bozeman) - $512,000
    MEP center name: Montana Manufacturing Extension Center 
  • State of Ohio, Development Services Agency (Columbus) - $5,246,822
    MEP center name: Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership 
  • Pennsylvania IRC Network Foundation (Williamsport) - $5,280,576
    MEP center name: Pennsylvania Manufacturing Extension Partnership 
  • Puerto Rico Manufacturing Extension, Inc. (San Juan) - $643,133
    MEP center name: PRIMEX
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City) - $1,147,573
    MEP center name: University of Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership
  • Vermont State Colleges (Randolph Center) - $500,000*
    MEP center name: Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center 

Proposals were reviewed by government and independent experts and evaluated against a number of criteria, including demonstration of a thorough understanding of market needs and how proposed service offerings would meet those needs. The reviewers also looked at the proposed business models, performance measurements and metrics, partnership potential, staff qualifications and program management, as well as financial and nonfederal cost-share plans. The new agreement reduces the centers’ cost-share burden by reducing the amount of required matching funds from nonfederal sources. 

For every dollar of federal investment, MEP clients generate nearly $17 in new sales, which translates into $2.3 billion in new sales annually. And for every $1,900 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one U.S. manufacturing job. Since 1988, MEP has worked with more than 86,000 manufacturers, leading to $96.4 billion in sales and $15.7 billion in cost savings, and it has helped create nearly 800,000 jobs. Read about some of MEP’s successes on its website

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. 

*Updated Sept. 2, 2016, to include the correct amount of funding for Vermont State Colleges, which is $500,000.

Released September 1, 2016, Updated January 8, 2018