New Competition Planned to Help Small and Mid-Sized Manufacturers Create Jobs, Save Money

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) will open a competition this summer to help small and mid-sized manufacturers create and retain jobs, increase profits and save time and money.

The new competition, which is expected to be officially announced in July 2016, is part of a multi-year effort to update the MEP’s funding structure to better match manufacturing industry needs with resources in the partnership's network. U.S.-based nonprofits and organizations will be eligible to participate in the competition, which will be held in 11 states: Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina and Wyoming.

Run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the MEP is a national network of more than 1,200 technical experts who are available to help U.S. manufacturers compete globally. It’s built around manufacturing extension centers located strategically throughout the United States, which bring together “a diverse network of State, non-profit university-based and other non-profit organizations” to help address the needs of local manufacturers.

Ahead of the competition, the MEP will host three regional forums — two in May in Washington, D.C. and Denver, one in June in Chicago — to provide more information about the MEP program. You can learn more about the forums here.

The MEP boasts that one manufacturing job is created or retained for every $1,900 of federal investment. It has generated $17 in new sales growth and $24 in new client investment for every $1 of federal investment. That translates into $2.3 billion in new sales each year.

Roughly 86,620 manufacturers have worked with the MEP since the program launched in 1988, leading to $96.4 billion in sales. Nearly 800,000 manufacturing jobs have been retained or created.