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New Manufacturing Extension Centers Planned for Arizona and Rhode Island

From NIST Tech Beat: April 30, 2013

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Contact: Jennifer Huergo

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program has awarded cooperative agreements to the Arizona Commerce Authority and the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation to serve the small and mid-size manufacturers in their respective states.

Arizona is home to more than 4,300 manufacturers, 95 percent of which have fewer than 100 employees, and only 29 employ more than 500 people. Among the state’s top manufactured goods are computer and electronic equipment, electronic components, transportation equipment (space vehicles, helicopters, turbine engines, guided missiles) and chemicals. The NIST award provides $1 million, which is half of the center’s operating budget for the first year.

Rhode Island is the country’s smallest state but has a densely populated and industrialized region, with jewelry manufacturing, electronics, metal, plastics, and boat/ship construction among its primary industries. Out of 1,554 manufacturers, 95 percent have fewer than 100 employees, with the remaining 5 percent employing 100-400 people. In 2011, these manufacturers employed 40,349 workers. The award provides $750,000, which is half of the center’s operating budget for the first year.

MEP centers are public-private partnerships with annual funding from a mix of sources, including a portion from NIST MEP, industry support through fees for service, and some from nonfederal agencies or organizations. This mandatory cost-share increases after the third annual renewal, up to a maximum two-thirds of the center's budget for year five and beyond.

As a public-private partnership, MEP delivers a high return on investment to taxpayers. For every one dollar of federal investment, the MEP generates nearly $20 in new sales growth and $20 in new client investment. This translates into $2.5 billion in new sales annually. For every $2,100 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one manufacturing job.

For more on the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership at NIST, go to www.nist.gov/mep/index.cfm.