The Georgia Institute of Technology will receive $13.5 million in federal funding over the next five years to continue a program that has assisted small- and mid-sized manufacturing companies in Georgia for more than half a century. The funding will be used by the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP), which serves manufacturers through a network of 10 regional offices and more than 30 extension personnel statewide.
In fiscal 2015, the GaMEP assisted nearly 2,000 Georgia manufacturers, helping them create or save 2,149 jobs, invest $106 million in facilities, reduce operating costs by $25 million and increase sales by more than $200 million. Established in 1960, the GaMEP is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s business assistance and economic development unit.
“Manufacturing is a key component of Georgia’s economy, and this funding will allow us to continue serving the companies that provide jobs, investment and new economic activity across our state,” said Karen Fite, director of the GaMEP program. “We are proud to be part of the national Manufacturing Extension Partnership helping companies expand their top-line growth and reduce bottom-line cost. The Georgia MEP helps our state’s manufacturers grow and remain competitive in world markets.”
GaMEP offers assistance in such areas as lean and process improvement, quality management, energy management, sustainability and business growth – which includes new customer development, new market expansion and new product development. GaMEP also connects companies to resources and expertise at Georgia Tech, which is ranked among the top U.S. public universities.
The funding, announced September 1, will take the form of a five-year cooperative agreement in which federal funds will be matched by state funds and contracts with manufacturers requesting assistance with a broad range of technical, managerial and marketing issues. The federal funding is provided by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which awarded more than $180 million to organizations in 11 states and Puerto Rico, as part of its efforts to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.
“The MEP centers connect local manufacturers with the resources and services necessary to meet new market challenges,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “The Department of Commerce supports these public-private partnerships that improve this sector’s global competitiveness, strengthen our economy and create jobs in communities across the nation.”
The awards will go to organizations in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Utah and Vermont. Continued funding is subject to the availability of annual appropriations and successful annual reviews.
“Every day, the MEP system demonstrates the value of strong public-private partnership,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Willie E. May. “This funding will support the continuation and expansion of important efforts in outreach, education and collaboration that provide real benefit to thousands of manufacturers annually.”
Proposals were reviewed by government and independent experts and evaluated against a number of criteria, including demonstration of a thorough understanding of market needs and how proposed service offerings would meet those needs. The reviewers also looked at the proposed business models, performance measurements and metrics, partnership potential, staff qualifications and program management, as well as financial and nonfederal cost-share plans. The new agreement reduces the centers’ cost-share burden by reducing the amount of required matching funds from nonfederal sources.
For every dollar of federal investment, MEP clients generate nearly $17 in new sales, which translates into $2.3 billion in new sales annually. And for every $1,900 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one U.S. manufacturing job. Since 1988, MEP has worked with more than 86,000 manufacturers, leading to $96.4 billion in sales and $15.7 billion in cost savings, and it has helped create nearly 800,000 jobs.
As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.
For more information on GaMEP, please visit gamep.org.