New Funds Available to Help Small and Mid-Sized Manufacturers

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Jan 29 2016 |
Courtesy MEP via Youtube

MEP works to help manufacturers create jobs, save money and increase profits.

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) announced this week it has opened a new competition to award up to $39 million for its centers is 12 states and Puerto Rico.

It’s all part of a multi-year effort to help small and mid-sized American manufacturers create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is overseeing the effort. 

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.

MEP boasts that it has created $19 in new sales for every dollar of federal investment — which translates to $2.5 billion each year. Every $2,001 invested creates or retains one U.S. manufacturing job, and since its founding in 1988, MEP has created more than 729,000 jobs. It's worked with nearly 80,000 manufacturers, leading to $88 billion in sales and $14 billion in cost savings.

The current competition will provide funding for centers in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Utah and Vermont. U.S.-based nonprofits, including existing MEP centers, are eligible to apply.

Informational webinars on the competition are expected to be held in February, and funding proposals are due on April 25. The awards will be announced by July, and funding will be made available in October.

Click here for more information on the competition.

In addition, MEP will announce funding availability in July for MEP centers in 11 states, including Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina and Wyoming. Three regional forums — in Washington D.C., Denver and Chicago — will be help to provide additional information on the new funding opportunity. You can find out more about the forums here, and if you also can schedule a one-on-one meeting with MEP represenatives if sign up for the forums at least one week ahead of time.