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NIST Awards $7 Million to MEP Centers in 7 States and Puerto Rico

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has made eight additional cooperative agreement awards as part of its 2017-NIST-MEP-CAP-01 Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs). The following eight MEP Centers will receive awards totaling approximately $7.04 Million to add capabilities to the MEP Program including the development of projects to solve new or emerging manufacturing problems that are not already provided for under a Center’s base MEP award.

Georgia Tech Research Corporation (Atlanta)
The MEP Center in Georgia is conducting a project to develop and deliver Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliance and food safety management system implementation services targeting very small food and beverage manufacturers within each state. From 9/1/2018 to 8/31/2021 totaling $986,805 for the MEP Center in the state of Georgia and collaborating with 3 MEP Centers in the states of Idaho, Oregon, and Iowa.

University of South Dakota (Vermillion)
The MEP in South Dakota is conducting a project to make small and mid-sized manufacturers in South Dakota more competitive and efficient by implementing technological innovations, creating a training/demonstration lab that will target non-traditional new hires that need to acquire skills for employment, and incumbent workers looking to upskill and advance in their careers; collaborating with the NIST Engineering Lab to standardize interface between AGV and CR; and developing an automation lab at MTS to deploy technology directly to manufacturers. From 9/1/2018 to 8/31/2021 totaling $896,964 for the MEP Center in the state of South Dakota.

High Technology Development Corporation (Honolulu)
The MEP Center in Hawaii is conducting a project designed to help companies overcome skills and talent shortages through in-house training development. Smart Talent Workforce Basics addresses skilled worker shortages among manufacturing companies and better prepare workers for on-the-job success. From 9/1/2018 to 8/31/2021 totaling $1,000,000 for the MEP Center in the state of Hawaii and collaborating with 3 MEP Centers in the states of Oregon, Tennessee, and Montana.

Missouri Incutech Foundation (Rolla)
The MEP in Missouri is conducting a project to build robust specialty food manufacturing practices and support small, medium and emerging companies engaged in providing safe food for the nation (including products for both human and animal consumption) and execute strategies and tactics to help food manufacturers identify and remediate critical issues necessary to achieve compliance with regulatory agency requirements. From 9/1/2018 to 8/31/2021 totaling $1,000,000 for the MEP Center in the state of Missouri.

New York State Department of Economic Development (Albany)
The MEP in New York is conducting a project to establish an intensive multifaceted commercialization program that will be developed and fine-tuned at a new Capital Region Innovation Resource Center, bringing a highly coordinated and tailored approach to assisting entrepreneurs, innovators, and young companies and very small companies targeting Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 3-6. From 9/1/2018 to 8/31/2021 totaling $778,223 for the MEP Center in the state of New York.

Montana State University (Bozeman)
The MEP in Montana is conducting a project to create a regional training and technical assistance model to help rural food industry SMMs in the Northwest region of the United States increase their competitiveness by addressing the requirements of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA). From 9/1/2018 to 8/31/2021 totaling $750,000 for the MEP Center in the state of Montana and collaborating with 2 MEP Centers in the states of Washington and Idaho.

Board of Regents, NSHE, obo University of Nevada, Reno (Reno)
The MEP Center in Nevada is conducting a project to enable partnerships with state manufacturing innovation centers and to extend university research and related industry innovation in support of Industry 4.0 to small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) in their center’s geographic region. From 9/1/2018 to 8/31/2021 totaling $1,000,000 for the MEP Center in the state of Nevada and collaborating with one MEP Center in the state of Oregon.

Puerto Rico Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Inc. (Hato Rey)
The MEP in Puerto Rico is conducting a project to enhance the competitive position of small manufacturers with less than 100 employees operating in the food industry in Puerto Rico.  The project will use Toyota Kata as the methodology to develop a culture of continuous improvement to help very small food manufacturing establishments comply with requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act, as well as to implement process improvements through awareness of Industry 4.0. From 9/1/2018 to 8/31/2020 totaling $629,761 for the MEP Center in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Summary
Project themes included new manufacturing technologies of relevance to small and medium-sized manufacturers, particularly those related to Industry/Manufacturing 4.0; supply chain management technologies and practices; and workforce intermediary and business services. In determining focus areas, the NIST MEP Director consulted with SMMs through the publication in the Federal Register of a Request for Information (RFI) on identification of New Capabilities Needed by the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Program (see 81 FR 90326, December 2016).

Released September 5, 2018