The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) awarded a total of $50 million in emergency funding to support U.S. manufacturers in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding will allow the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico to offer services that help manufacturers increase the production of products that support the response to the pandemic, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), and to reach new suppliers or markets, recover from workforce and supply chain interruptions, and achieve greater resilience.
“This administration is proud to support manufacturers across the nation as they face this unprecedented health and economic situation,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said. “The funding provided through MEP will also help to reinvigorate the economy and, in particular, improve the competitiveness of our small and medium-sized manufacturers and those in rural locations.”
The funding represents a one-time allocation from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed by President Donald Trump on March 27, 2020.
Under the act, MEP centers may accept this funding without the private contribution match normally required by the MEP program. The centers may use these awards for new initiatives to help manufacturers increase the production of PPE or establish new supplier relationships, or more broadly to support a national manufacturing recovery from the crisis.
“I am exceptionally proud of America’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership and deeply grateful to the NIST team for getting this funding allocated in record time,” Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter G. Copan said. “MEP continues to deliver for U.S. manufacturing, strengthening the resilience of our economy and supply chains.”
The funding awards to the 51 MEP centers range from $91,000 to $6.1 million and have performance periods ending on or before Sept. 30, 2021. Due to the critical need for this funding, all awards were made within 90 days of the passage of the CARES Act.