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About the Manufacturing Extension Partnership

MEP Impacts

MEP leverages over $100 million dollars of federal investment into a nearly $300 million dollar program by teaming with industry as well as state and local organizations. MEP provides access to a range of resources meeting the critical and often unique needs of America's manufacturers. The following documents show MEP's economic impact.

FY2010/2011 Manufacturing Extension Partnership Impact Numbers


Delivering Measurable Results to Manufacturing Clients - Full FY2009 Results Report 

Research and Reports

The following represent commonly referenced reports and studies in which MEP has either been directly or indirectly involved, or from which MEP has received some guidance. Some were directly commissioned by MEP to investigate trends and challenges in manufacturing. Others were conducted by outside organizations, and feature discussions about MEP. And others provide more general insights and analysis about manufacturing that have proven valuable to MEP and our partners in strategic planning and operations.


The Case for a National Manufacturing Strategy - U.S.  manufacturing is in crisis, with almost 6  million jobs lost and 42,000 factories closed over the last decade. Even worse, we are losing know-how and ultimately control over our future. While the U.S. retains important strengths, U.S. manufacturing competitiveness is slipping rapidly. There is no reason to resign   ourselves to defeat or to sugarcoat the challenges we face. We possess the tools, talent, and resources to revive manufacturing. But to do so we need a national strategy for manufacturing renewal. This is the message of the ITIF report called, “The Case for a National Manufacturing Strategy for the United States.” The report explains the five key reasons why we need to act quickly and boldly to revitalize our manufacturing sector. 

ITIF hosted an event surrounding the report, which included a thought-provoking discussion on the urgent but winnable battle to restore U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. MEP Advisory Board Chair, Mark Rice, served as a panelist and provided valuable insights to the issue. To view the webinar, visit the ITIF event website.


International Benchmarking of Countries SME Support Programs and Policies - This report builds on the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation's (ITIF's) recent report The Case for a National Manufacturing Strategy by identifying and analyzing manufacturing support programs and practices for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that have been implemented in ten foreign countries, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom (in addition to those of the United States). Specific emphasis is given in the report to Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Spain, and the United Kingdom, countries which have created formal agencies, institutions, or programs most like the United States’ Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program to provide manufacturing extension services to their SME manufacturers.

Related to the report, ITIF hosted an event September 14th, 2011 featuring presentations from key officials in U.S. and foreign governments crafting SME manufacturing policy in their countries, including MEP Director Roger Kilmer. Visit the ITIF event site to watch the presentations.



Re-examining the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Business Model Alternatives for Increasing the Program’s Impact on US Manufacturing Sector Performance - MEP is uniquely positioned to respond the needs of U.S. manufacturers. First, MEP’s focus on established manufacturing firms is critical, as they are an under-valued source of innovation. There are thousands of established manufacturing firms that represent opportunities for growth, with much less risk than start-ups. The leadership of these firms, often in mature industries, needs help to transform their companies, re-ignite innovation, enter new markets, and accelerate growth. The market by itself is unable to fully exploit the growth potential of these small and mid-size manufacturers.

Read Full Report or Executive Summary

The Evaluation Process - Evaluation is a key element of all NIST MEP programs and activities. Results are used to assess the effectiveness of services and their impact on the performance of client firms, and to help guide planning at both the center and network levels. By measuring short- and long-term impacts, NIST MEP can assess economic returns on the federal investment in manufacturing extension services. Many studies are finding that small manufacturers who work with their local NIST MEP center show dramatic improvements.


Talent Pressures and the Aging Workforce: Responsive Action Steps for the Manufacturing Sector - The future of manufacturing will be tied to the quantity and quality of its workforce. Yet, skill shortages due to the mass retirement of older workers could define the near future of the manufacturing sector, according to a new report by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work. Top skills reportedly in short supply include: Management skills (37.4%), legal skills (33.3%), sales/marketing skills (28.2%), operations skills (24.4%), technical computer skills (22.1%), and basic literacy in writing and math (18.9%). However, despite this impending shortage, a lower percentage of manufacturers have analyzed the projected retirement rates compared to employers in other industries. This report has data that is very useful in helping manufacturers understand their overall approach to talent management and specifically how to adapt to the aging workforce and what implications it has on their future workforce.

The Manufacturing Institute's Facts About Modern Manufacturing provides an overview of the current state of U.S. manufacturing and demonstrates its strengths and challenges. These challenges suggest that there are key areas that need to be addressed to support manufacturing competitiveness in the United States. This publication clearly shows that manufacturing continues to play a vital role in the U.S. economy.


Manufacturing in America (2004) - Provides an overview of the domestic and international economic issues facing American manufacturing and identifies the powerful trends shaping the environment in which U.S. manufacturers compete today.


5th Edition of the MEP Growth Finance Guide – For most small and medium sized manufacturers, identifying and securing source of capital for sales and growth, while one of the most basic of business activities, is often a complex and frustrating process. With capital becoming significantly scarcer in today’s financial climate, that process has become more difficult for even historically successful companies. The scarcity of available capital and credit is particularly impactful on the manufacturing sector which is capital intensive and often requires the financing of inventories and receivables over long periods of time. This guide is intended to provide small manufacturers with a better understanding of some of the range of financial options and resources that may available to them to meet their particular financial needs. The guide includes information on a variety of government loan programs, tax incentives, debt and investment options, and other capital enhancement and access strategies.


In the interests of improving the performance of the MEP Program, the National Institute of Standards and Technology asked the National Academy of Public Administration to research and address several issues: the current barriers to productivity improvement that small manufacturers face; the extent to which the MEP Program is positioned to help reduce these barriers; and alternative business models for operating the Program. Report 1 provides findings and conclusions for the first phase of this study. Report 2 focuses on alternative business models.

Re-Examining the Core Premise of the MEP Program Report 1 of 2 - Overview of findings and conclusions for the first phase of this study.

Alternative Business Models Report 2 of 2 - A comprehensive overview of findings and recommendations.

MEP Advisory Board Reports

The NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership Advisory Board collaborate to prepare annual reports about U.S. manufacturing and the impacts manufacturing has on overall U.S. economy. View Reports

Innovation and Product Development in the 21st Century - U.S. manufacturing is at a critical crossroads. Policymakers have a choice to establish a framework to guide the future of manufacturing in the U.S. and to accelerate adjustments to markets or leave its future up to serendipity, chance, complacency, and indifference. U.S. policymakers can help manufacturing firms change, innovate, move into new markets, and adapt to a constantly changing global economic environment or operate under the false assumptions that the industry is not worth the effort.

The Manufacturing Innovation Series

THE NATIONAL SUMMIT ON COMPETITIVENESS - The National Summit on Competitiveness has one fundamental and urgent message: if trends in U.S. research and education continue, our nation will squander its economic leadership, and the result will be a lower standard of living for the American people.

- While small and medium manufacturers (SMMs) in the United States are being challenged as never before, they continue to make a vital contribution to the U.S. economy and exhibit numerous competitive strengths. This report identifies 15 best practices that are followed by successful SMMs.