WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded $5,976,983 to the Ohio Department of Development for the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). This grant will provide manufacturing extension services to primarily small and medium-sized manufacturers in the state of Ohio with a focus on operational excellence, advanced manufacturing technologies, cybersecurity, and workforce engagement such as apprenticeships.
“Ohio has a proud history of leading the country in manufacturing innovation. We’re building on that legacy by making new investments in Ohio’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which creates and retains jobs and has a proven return on investment for American taxpayers,” said Brown. “This investment will help Ohio’s small businesses and manufacturers be better equipped to compete with competitors around the country and the world.”
The NIST Engineering Laboratory promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology for engineered systems in ways that enhance economic security and improve quality of life. The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program, run out of NIST, is our nation’s only network of public-private partnerships that supports small- and medium-sized manufacturers in every state and Puerto Rico. Through the MEP program, manufacturers are connected with critical resources that strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing base. MEP provides support systems that help manufacturers improve supply chain integration, efficiency, productivity, profitability, and job retention.
Senator Brown has supported increased investments in the Hollings MEP in President Biden’s budget and through the passage of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act.
The MEP program has a proven return on investment for the American economy. Earlier this year, the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research found that for every dollar spent on the MEP program in FY2020, the federal government received a $13.60 return on investment. Since 1988, NIST estimates that MEP has worked with over 115,000 manufacturers, leading to $135 billion in new sales, $24.7 billion in cost savings, and the creation and retention of over 1.3 million jobs. The program stimulates growth in the manufacturing sector, which already features a strong multiplier effect, while also providing a strong return on investment for American taxpayers.
The MEP program also helps manufacturers better confront the challenges of supply chain resiliency. During the pandemic, MEP Program Supplier Scouting services were able to identify U.S. manufacturers capable of supplying critically needed materials, such as personal protective equipment and medical equipment and supplies.