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NIST Announces Funding Opportunity for Manufacturing Centers in Kentucky, Nebraska, Rhode Island and South Dakota

U.S. map shows highlighted states: S.D., Neb., Ken., R.I.
Credit: B. Hayes/NIST

GAITHERSBURG, Md. — The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is accepting applications from eligible organizations to operate Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers in Kentucky, Nebraska, Rhode Island and South Dakota. NIST will award nearly $19.8 million to support four centers that will provide manufacturing extension services to small and medium-sized manufacturers in these states. 

“American manufacturing makes our nation stronger by growing the U.S. economy, safeguarding the health of our citizens and securing our national defense,” said Mojdeh Bahar, NIST associate director for innovation and industry services. “Small and medium-sized manufacturers are the foundation of American manufacturing, and these competitions will serve to strengthen manufacturing and empower manufacturers in Kentucky, Nebraska, Rhode Island and South Dakota.”

NIST’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership supports 51 centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Through the program, more than 1,400 manufacturing experts provide hands-on technical expertise and assistance services that address the critical needs of their local manufacturers and strengthen U.S. manufacturing.

NIST plans to award up to the following amounts for centers in each state: 

  • Kentucky: $6,217,500
  • Nebraska: $3,978,500
  • Rhode Island: $6,021,500
  • South Dakota: $3,561,000 

Awardees will sign a cooperative agreement for an initial performance period of up to five years and must meet a cost-share requirement. 

For every dollar of federal investment in fiscal year 2021, the MEP Centers in these four states generated more than $20.90 in new sales growth and $25.70 in new client investment. This translates into $275 million in new and retained sales. During this same time, for every $1,143 of federal investment, MEP created or retained one manufacturing job.

Eligible applicants are limited to United States-based nonprofit institutions or consortia thereof, institutions of higher education, or state, U.S. territory, local or tribal governments. Existing MEP Centers that have received financial assistance for 10 consecutive years and that the secretary of commerce determines are in good standing are also eligible to apply.

MEP center awards must be recompeted every 10 years for an award of up to 10 years, based on availability of the appropriation of federal funds and the good standing of the applicant. The MEP Centers in these four states are each nearing 10 consecutive years of operation.

NIST MEP will host an informational webinar on this funding opportunity on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022, 10 a.m.-noon Eastern Standard Time. There is no registration required, and the webinar may be accessed directly via the BlueJeans videoconferencing platform

Additional information about this funding opportunity can be found on and the NIST MEP website. NIST MEP held a webinar on Nov. 22, 2021, in anticipation of this and additional funding opportunities. A recording of that earlier webinar is available for viewing

Applications in response to today’s Notice of Funding Opportunity must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Tuesday, April 26, 2022. 

Released January 26, 2022, Updated February 22, 2023