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As part of a multiyear effort to make the most of its federal investment in U.S. manufacturing, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded a new cooperative agreement for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) center in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Inc. (MassMEP), will receive approximately $2,467,879 for each year during the 5-year agreement to work with partners at the state and federal levels to help small and medium-sized manufacturers develop new customers, expand into new markets and create new products. NIST funding beyond year one is subject to the availability of annual appropriations and successful annual reviews.
“This award represents a great opportunity for smaller manufacturers in Massachusetts,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Willie E. May. “It will allow the center to offer a greater variety of services and reach out to more companies who could benefit from the expertise of the MEP system.”
The center will pursue new initiatives, such as placing “experts in residence” at incubators and tech acceleration centers, including the University of Massachusetts, to provide growth services and accelerate jobs. Using the Enterprise Massachusetts Network, an effort launched in 2012 with an MEP grant to build business-to-business networks, MassMEP will expand its reach and capabilities to provide domestic and international business opportunities for the state’s manufacturers. In addition, it will pursue new partnerships with three Manufacturing USA Institutes: AIM Photonics (link is external), Nextflex (link is external) and Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (link is external).
“The award is part of MEP’s ongoing competition process to review and reset funding in each of the 50 states and Puerto Rico,” said Carroll Thomas, NIST MEP director. “It will better position Massachusetts MEP to meet the needs of and reach more of the manufacturers in the state.”
MassMEP’s proposal was reviewed by government and independent experts and evaluated against a number of criteria, including demonstration of a thorough understanding of market needs and how proposed service offerings would meet those needs. The reviewers also looked at the proposed business models, performance measurements and metrics, partnership potential, staff qualifications and program management, as well as financial and nonfederal cost-share plans.
For every dollar of federal investment, MEP clients generate nearly $17 in new sales, which translates into $2.3 billion in new sales annually. And for every $1,900 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one U.S. manufacturing job. Since 1988, MEP has worked with more than 86,000 manufacturers, leading to $96.4 billion in sales and $15.7 billion in cost savings, and it has helped create nearly 800,000 jobs.