How to Take Advantage of your Local Manufacturing Extension Program

July 20, 2021

What is the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)?

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership is a network of state and local manufacturing service/consulting centers funded in part by the federal government, local government, and private investment. Each local and state MEP has unique fundraising methods to match federal contributions, but most include some combination of fees for services to manufacturers, contributions from local charitable organizations, community colleges, trade organizations, and nonfederal government agencies. The New York MEP, FuzeHub, for instance, receives most of its non federal funding from the New York State Empire State Development Agency division on science and technology. The national center supports local centers as they offer services such as strategy/planning advising, technology driven market intel, technology scouting for manufacturers, workforce training and development, etc. The national center regularly publishes white papers on their work and industry trends. Clients pay in part for services from the center.

How big is MEP?

MEPs across the country interacted with and/or helped over 28,000 unique manufacturing clients in 2019. Centers in every state, Puerto Rico and guam. In 2019, the MEP annual report claimed clients of the local centers saw more than $15 billion in new and retained sales, and generated more than $33 in new sales growth for each federal dollar invested in the program.

How are MEPs changing?

Changes and spending authorization under USICA: $480 million each year 2022-2026. I have a more detailed breakdown of spending in another document I can share, but the bill sets aside a significant portion for geographic diversification in business and manufacturing, offering and expanding non cost-sharing funding agreements for centers in regions with low manufacturing activity. 

How to Access MEP benefits and programs

Contact your state center or search for local center’s contact information

It is also worth reviewing material published on the manufacturing innovation blog, and reviewing the manufacturing and supply chain infographics on MEP site for a bird’s eye view of American manufacturing R&D funding projects. 

If you have difficulty contacting your local MEP-affiliated center,  you may contact the national organization: https://www.nist.gov/mep/contact-nist-mep 

Additional resources: 

Notices of Funding Opportunities for small manufacturers: https://www.nist.gov/mep/about-nist-mep/notice-funding-opportunities 

NIST Small Business Innovation Research Program: https://www.nist.gov/tpo/small-business-innovation-research-program-sbir  (annual funding awards for science and tech based manufacturers)