The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded a total of $2.5 million in a five-year funding agreement to support a Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) center for the State of Alaska. The University of Alaska Anchorage will use the funds to deliver a wide range of services to small and medium-sized manufacturers through the Alaska MEP Center. The new Center will join the MEP National Network™ representing all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
“I am pleased to announce Alaska will now be served by the University of Alaska Anchorage as the host institution of the state’s NIST MEP Center,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter G. Copan. “NIST is committed to supporting Alaska’s 550 manufacturers to support and grow the state’s manufacturing firms, which account for nearly 13,000 jobs. Manufacturing and the jobs it creates are critical to a vital local economy. The MEP Program’s history of sustaining and growing this sector has been a consistent success for the past 30 years.”
According to NIST MEP, Alaska’s manufacturers create high wage jobs, with an average annual wage of $67,0000. Through the NIST MEP partnership with the University of Alaska Anchorage, small and medium-sized manufacturers will have access to technical and professional assistance to reach rural firms and very small manufacturers, participate in regional economic activities, and support important national priorities such as cybersecurity, workforce training, supply chain and technology development.
“I could not be prouder of the network of MEP Centers we have across this nation,” said Carroll Thomas, director of NIST MEP. “They are a dedicated team of more the 1,300 manufacturing experts representing the network’s 2,100 professional service providers and partners, who stand united and ready to assist the University of Alaska Anchorage. Specifically, Impact Washington, the MEP Center serving the state of Washington, and the MEP Centers in Idaho and Montana as well as the outstanding NIST team serving the region, will all help ensure the new Alaska MEP Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage is a success.”
NIST held an open competition for this award. The five-year period of performance begins April 1, 2019.
Since 1988, MEP has worked with 102,443 manufacturers, leading to $127.3 billion in sales and $20.5 billion in cost savings, and it has helped create and retain more than 1,107,346 jobs. For every dollar of federal investment, NIST MEP generates $29.5 in new sales growth and $31.0 in new client investment. This translates into $3.8 billion in new sales annually. For every $1,065 of federal investment, NIST MEP creates or retains one manufacturing job.