The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has made a cooperative agreement award as part of its 2017-NIST-MEP-CAP-01 Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs). The following MEP Center will receive an award totaling approximately $750,000 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.
The MEP Center in Pennsylvania is conducting a project to develop and implement an “MEP Kata in a Box” practice area within the MEP National NetworkTM. The project aims to develop standardized training, qualify participating Centers, implement knowledge sharing, and support National Network building efforts among MEP Centers. The goal is to build a Kata Ecosystem that harnesses and maximizes the benefits of the Kata management tool. The project period of performance is from 5/01/2019 to 4/30/2021 totaling $750,000 and include partners Catalyst Connection (PA MEP), IMC (PA MEP), Arkansas Economic Development Commission Manufacturing Solutions (Arkansas MEP), Auburn Technical Assistance Center (Alabama MEP), and TMAC (Texas MEP).
To date, fifteen awards have been made under 2017-NIST-MEP-CAP-01 NOFO. Project themes for these awards have included new manufacturing technologies of relevance to small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs), 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 MEP Program (see 81 FR 90326, December 2016).