The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program has awarded a total of nearly $12 million in first-year funding to 11 organizations that will operate MEP centers in Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina and Wyoming. MEP centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico support small and medium-size manufacturers and are dedicated to enhancing the productivity and technological performance of U.S. manufacturing.
“Today’s announcement ensures that every state in our nation has funding available to support manufacturers as they compete in the global marketplace,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “The award winners and the MEP centers they operate play a critical role in our continued efforts to strengthen the economy and create jobs in the manufacturing sector.”
“During the past three years, MEP conducted a system-wide competition to determine appropriate funding levels for all of our centers that reflect manufacturing density in their respective regions,” explained NIST Associate Director for Industry and Innovation Services Phil Singerman.
The agreements have five-year periods of performance that begin April 1, 2017, and they will provide nearly $60 million in total funding during that time.
The following organizations will sign cooperative agreements to operate MEP centers:
- Delaware Technical Community College (Newark) - $500,000
- High Technology Development Corporation (Honolulu, Hawaii) - $500,000
- Iowa State University of Science & Technology (Ames) - $1,859,206
- Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center (Overland Park, Kansas) - $1,864,950
- Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Augusta) - $863,522
- Mississippi Manufacturers Association (Jackson) - $1,003,782
- Board of Regents, Nevada System of Higher Education, University of Nevada-Reno - $756,001
- New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Albuquerque) - $1,360,802
- The Dakota Manufacturing Extension Partnership Inc. (Bismarck, North Dakota) - $500,000
- South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Columbia) - $2,268,003
- University of Wyoming (Laramie) - $500,000
Additionally, MEP has awarded four organizations a total of nearly $5 million to pilot new projects that will place staff from MEP centers at four institutes within the Manufacturing USA network. These new projects follow five that were awarded in September 2016. The goal is to establish enduring collaborations among small U.S. manufacturers, the institutes and MEP centers.
The awards will go to the following MEP centers:
- California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (Torrance)
Partnering with: The Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute
- Massachusetts MEP (Worcester)
Partnering with: The Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) Institute
- Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (Plymouth)
Partnering with: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT), operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII)
- Pennsylvania MEP (Williamsport)
Partnering with: America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute
Specifically, the embedded staff will:
- Develop innovate approaches for transferring technology from the Manufacturing USA institutes to small U.S. manufacturers;
- Create approaches for engaging small manufacturers in the work of the institutes through hands-on assistance and services;
- Develop and test business models by which MEP centers and institutes may effectively serve the needs of small U.S. manufacturers in the technology areas of the institutes, and facilitate knowledge and best practice sharing; and
- Cultivate an enhanced nationwide network of partnerships among the institutes and MEP centers.
The four MEP centers will each receive approximately $1.2 million to conduct projects that will run from Jan. 15, 2017, through Jan. 14, 2019. These pilot projects will demonstrate ways to fully leverage the assets and resources of the national MEP program to provide assistance to small U.S. manufacturers in technology areas that are the focus of the Manufacturing USA institutes. The projects will seek to accelerate transition of the latest and most compelling technological innovations into manufactured goods.
Since 1988, MEP has worked with 94,033 manufacturers, leading to $98.7 billion in sales and $17.1 billion in cost savings, and has helped create and retain more than 884,596 jobs.
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.