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Hollings MEP program receives increased funding
Kirill Abbakumov   on Friday, July 21, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

On June 27, 2017, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a final rule to amend the regulations governing the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program to allow NIST to provide up to 50% of the capital and annual operating and maintenance funds required to establish and support an MEP Center. The regulations are also being amended to remove other cost sharing rules that are not required by the MEP authorizing statute or current program policies.

The Hollings MEP Program consists of technical centers in each state that connects small and medium-sized manufacturers to public and private training, tools, and other resources essential for increasing innovation capabilities, expanding domestic and foreign markets, and improving productivity and overall competitiveness.  MEP focuses on small and mid-sized enterprises that puts manufacturers. MEP leverages more than $100 million of federal investment into a nearly $300 million program by partnering with state a local governments and the private sector to provide a wealth of expertise and resources to manufacturers

Prior to being amended the program required that NIST provide less than 50% of the capital and annual operating and maintenance funds of an MEP Center beginning in the fourth year of a cooperative agreement. The revised statute allows NIST to provide up to 50% of the capital and annual operating and maintenance funds required to establish and support an MEP Center. This is a welcome change for economic development, as an increase in funding translates to greater support for a program that aid small American manufacturers in developing new products, expanding into global markets, adopting new technology, reshoring production, and upgrading their technological capabilities.