NIST Awards $11 Million to MEP Centers in 10 States

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has made 12 cooperative agreement awards totaling approximately $11.0 million as part of its 2017-NIST-MEP-CAP-01 Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs). This funding opportunity is available for MEP Centers to add capabilities to the MEP Program including the development of projects to solve new or emerging manufacturing problems that are not already provided for under a Center’s base MEP award. Project themes for these awards have included new manufacturing technologies of relevance to small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs), particularly those related to Industry/Manufacturing 4.0; supply chain management technologies and practices; and workforce intermediary and business services.

California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC), the MEP Center in California, will lead a project to create a regional approach establishing MEP Centers of Excellence that create cybersecurity competency and expertise. The program will identify MEP Centers as Go-To Collaborative Centers with advanced cybersecurity capabilities and capacity to assist other MEP Centers in the region. The network will establish a presence in key states with large populations of SMMs participating in the DoD supply chain. The cybersecurity offerings will prepare SMMs to meet evolving DoD cybersecurity requirements, particularly preparation for Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). Regional partners will include Impact Washington (the MEP Center in Washington state) and Manufacturer’s Edge (the MEP Center in Colorado) and will provide services to the Northwest, Southwest and Mountain State MEP Centers, as well as Hawaii and Alaska. The project is funded from 9/1/2020 to 8/31/2021 for $925,000.

CONNSTEP (the MEP Center in Connecticut) will lead Manufacturing Skills for Connecticut, a project to produce an accessible database that describes, maps and analyzes the design, impact and efficacy of manufacturing-related programs across school districts. The database will also demonstrate and foster industry links to and relationships with these school districts. CONNSTEP will conduct the project in partnership with the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), ReadyCT, a business-driven education reform organization and the Connecticut Manufacturers’ Collaborative (CMC), a policy-focused collective formed and facilitated by CONNSTEP and CBIA, The project will meet two goals, including to:

  1. Expand the availability and quality of K-12 programs aimed at preparing students for manufacturing careers at all skill levels, from entry level to engineering, in order to both increase and diversify the highly qualified manufacturing labor pool; and
  2. Accelerate the growth of the manufacturing sectors in CT, across New England, and eventually nationwide.

The project is funded from 9/1/2020 to 8/31/2022 for $1,000,000.

FloridaMakes, the MEP Center in Florida, will deliver a project to develop and implement a new, manufacturing-specific, Baldrige-derived assessment tool incorporating Industry 4.0 principles within the Baldrige framework. The tools developed through this project – an on-line, digitized assessment platform and a published Baldrige framework document specifically for manufacturers – will provide clear pathways for companies to embark on the Baldrige journey, and for MEP practitioners to further engage clients using company-centric Industry 4.0 tools in creating performance excellence within their organizations. Partners in this proposal include the NIST Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center (IMEC, the MEP Center in Illinois), Johnson & Johnson Vision (a member of the World Economic Forum Global Lighthouse Network), the Florida Sterling Council and Florida’s Regional Manufacturers Associations. The project is funded from 9/1/2020 to 2/28/2022 for $1,000,000.

GENEDGE Alliance (GENEDGE), the MEP Center in Virginia, will lead a project to create a regional approach establishing MEP Centers of Excellence that create cybersecurity competency and expertise. The program will identify MEP Centers as Go-To Collaborative Centers with advanced cybersecurity capabilities and capacity to assist other MEP Centers in the region. The network will establish a presence in key states with large populations of SMMs participating in the Department of Defense (DoD) supply chain. The cybersecurity offerings will prepare SMMs to meet evolving DoD cybersecurity requirements, particularly preparation for CMMC. Regional partners will include Maryland MEP and CONNSTEP and will provide services to New England, as well as the Middle Atlantic and Southeast regions. The project is funded from 9/1/2020 to 8/31/2021 for $1,000,000.

GENEDGE has also been awarded funding to expand MedMMAP, an MEP National NetworkTM program that developed the service capabilities of the Network to aid U.S. medical device manufacturing facilities to efficiently and effectively prepare for MedAccred® Accreditation. MedAccred is an industry-managed critical process accreditation program that aims to improve quality, lower costs and positively impact patient safety. The project will work with 9 MEP Centers to train and certify Center subject matter experts, build relationships with MedAccred OEMs and expand marketing to promote the MedMMAP program to the MEP National Network. The expansion of the MedAccred project will have long-term impact on MEP Centers’ increased interaction with medical manufacturers in the growing medical device industry. The project partners will include CMTC-(the MEP Center in California ), Georgia MEP, IMEC, MassMEP (the MEP Center in Massachusetts), Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC, the MEP Center in Michigan), New Jersey MEP, North Carolina MEP, TMAC-(the MEP Center in Texas) and PRiMEX-(the MEP Center in Puerto Rico). The project is funded from 9/1/2020 to 8/31/2021 for $600,000.

Georgia MEP (GaMEP) will develop and deliver a training program for SMMs with a focus on DoD suppliers for the new CMMC (Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification) standard that was recently published in January 2020. The training will be piloted with GaMEP clients and will also be piloted by MEP Centers in Iowa, Missouri and North Carolina. The project is funded from 9/1/2020 to 8/31/2023 for $457,663.

Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC), the MEP Center in Michigan, will lead a project to create a regional approach establishing MEP Centers of Excellence that create cybersecurity competency and expertise. The program will identify MEP Centers as Go-To Collaborative Centers with advanced cybersecurity capabilities and capacity to assist other MEP Centers in the region. The network will establish a presence in key states with large populations of SMMs participating in the DoD supply chain. The cybersecurity offerings will prepare SMMs to meet evolving DoD cybersecurity requirements, particularly preparation for CMMC. Regional partners will include TMAC (the MEP Center in Texas) and Missouri Enterprise (the MEP Center in Missouri) and will provide services to the Midwest MEP Centers. The project is funded from 9/1/2020 to 8/31/2021 for $1,000,000.

Missouri Enterprise, the MEP Center in Missouri, will develop a America Works, a project that will create a database of MEP National Network workforce efforts. America Works will offer a shared, centralized space for MEP Center staff at all levels to congregate, discuss, innovate and create new solutions. Over the next three years, America Works will focus on four primary goals, including to:

  1. Accelerate individual and national MEP Center innovation, effectiveness and efficiency through offering a national database, resources, informal and formal connections as well as hands-on consulting;
  2. Identify and scale up effective solutions beyond local MEP Centers to catalyze national workforce development improvement;
  3. Solidify MEP Centers as the go-to place for U.S. small manufacturers struggling with workforce issues; and
  4. Create a model for future inventories, centralization and coordination of MEP Centers, which could be expanded to other areas in the future.
  5. The Missouri Enterprise will partner with MAGNET (part of the OH MEP), CIRAS (the MEP Center in Iowa), Purdue MEP (the MEP Center in Indiana), NJ MEP and the Foundation for Manufacturing Excellence (FORME). The project is funded from 9/1/2020 to 8/31/2023 for $1,000,000.

The New York MEP will coordinate the Manufacturing Readiness Program (MRP). The funded partners are NextCorps, Inc., a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Rochester, New York that serves the Finger Lakes region as part of the NY MEP, and Catalyst Connection, which serves Southwestern Pennsylvania and is part of Pennsylvania MEP. The project will develop and implement the MRP to support startups and contract manufacturers by providing training, education, operational and programming support to decrease the time it takes to move from prototype to commercial product. The project will engage, mentor and support startups by filling gaps in manufacturing readiness and manufacturing engagement. MRP will also expose manufacturers to new customers that are better equipped to engage in the product development process. These activities will accelerate the rate of new technology commercialization, job creation and economic growth. The project is funded from 9/1/2020 to 8/31/2023 for $999,000.

The Ohio MEP will lead a project to develop and deploy a strategically focused approach to implementing Advanced Technology Services for SMMs. The Digital Maturity Model tools will lead SMM teams to create a more strategically focused pathway with implementation to support a return on investment (ROI) through incremental changes and advancements. The support of the Digital Maturity model will lead SMMs to make the investment necessary to sustain healthy growth patterns. The program will focus deliberately on engaging and supporting the SMMs in underserved communities in Ohio. Project partners include The Ohio State University’s Ohio Manufacturing Institute (OMI) and the MPI Group, and will engage Ohio MEP’s regional affiliate service organizations for statewide assistance. The project is funded from 9/1/2020 to 8/31/2023 for $1,000,000.

Oregon MEP (OMEP) will deliver a project to develop a regional strategy in 5 western states to focus on the development and delivery of Industry 4.0-related projects. The project will focus on three key technology groupings, which represent the highest potential value at this time to MEP Center clients in this region, including: 1) internet of things (IoT), cloud computing and related technologies; 2) automation, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) and robotics; and 3) cybersecurity. A key outcome includes development of programs and technology deployments that harness the most valuable parts of a technology for SMMs. Regional partners include Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC, the MEP Center in Montana), TechHelp (the MEP Center in Idaho), INNOVATE Hawaii-(the MEP Center in Hawaii) and Nevada Industry Excellence (the MEP Center in Nevada). The project is funded from 9/1/2020 to 8/31/2023 for $1,000,000.

The University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services (UT CIS), the NIST-designated MEP Center in Tennessee, will establish an MEP National Advanced Tech Team. The project will focus on developing capabilities for the transfer of technology based on the needs of SMMs and the available technologies of higher education, laboratories and other technology producing entities. The project’s Tech Team of MEP Center experts will be responsible for understanding readiness and applicability of technologies and finding similar technological expertise at local universities, national laboratories and Manufacturing USA Institutes. Tennessee MEP will partner with New York MEP and coordinate with Impact Washington, the MEP Center in Washington state. The project is funded from 9/1/2020 to 8/31/2022 for $1,000,000.

/Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.