The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has made four (4) additional cooperative agreement awards as part of its 2017-NIST-MEP-CAP-01 Notice of Funding Opportunity.
The following four (4) MEP Centers will receive awards totaling approximately $3.4 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.
Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Worcester)
The MEP Center in Massachusetts is conducting a project that will create a product, Human Capital Barometrics™, that aligns with the needs of SMMs who typically do not need large, robust human resource data analytics programs but need a tool to strategically guide their talent strategies. Human Capital Barometrics™ utilizes commonly available data and creates a new metric to evaluate and compare the value and performance of individual employees and prioritize needed training based upon maximizing individual potential and company return on investment. The period of performance is 10/1/2019 to 9/30/2021 totaling $999,977 in federal funds. Collaborators include MEP Centers in Rhode Island and Florida.
Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Augusta)
The MEP Center in Maine is conducting a project to develop state and regional capacity in the area of additive manufacturing through partnership with the Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) at the University of Maine. The project is geared towards providing businesses and entrepreneurs with access to publicly accessible additive metal manufacturing technology services at the AMC to improve manufacturing processes and therefore supply chain competitiveness. The period of performance is 10/1/2019 to 9/30/2021 totaling $1,000,000 in federal funds.
FloridaMakes, Inc. (Orlando)
The MEP Center in Florida is conducting a project to bring a new program to the Florida aerospace manufacturing sector to develop the skilled talent pipeline it needs by addressing the current and future skills gaps through the innovative and flexible Aero-Flex Pre-Apprenticeship (AFPA) program. The AFPA program addresses the critical entry level training needs of the aerospace industry and provides flexibility in programming to address multiple supply chain manufacturing partner specific skills needs. The period of performance is 10/1/2019 to 9/30/2020 totaling $356,063.
University of Rhode Island Research Foundation (Kingston)
The MEP Center in Rhode Island is conducting a project to create a Materials Innovation Center for Design and Manufacturing (Materials ICDM) to aid manufacturing and technology startups by connecting them to the Federal Laboratories and Institutes, identify small manufacturers capable of commercializing new technology and help them find knowledge partners and training for new hires to work with innovative technology and providing a roadmap for connecting national technology resources to local MEP Centers. The period of performance is 9/1/2019 to 8/31/2021 totaling $1,000,000.
Project themes 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 Manufacturing Extension Partnership (see 81 FR 90326, December 2016).