Manufacturing Extension Partnership Marks 30th Anniversary with Nearly 1 Million Jobs Created or Retained

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Thirty years ago, President Ronald Reagan signed the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act (P.L. 100-418) to create the foundation of what would become the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) program. Since 1988, the MEP National Network™ has worked with 94,033 manufacturers, leading to $111.3 billion in sales, $18.8 billion in cost savings, and it has helped create and retain 985,317 jobs as reported by clients.

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This public-private partnership initially established three regional centers to enhance the productivity and technological performance of United States manufacturing. From this modest beginning, the MEP National Network expanded to achieve nationwide coverage. The MEP National Network now comprises NIST MEP, 51 MEP Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and over 1,300 trusted advisors and experts at more than 400 MEP service locations. Together, this Network of professionals provide small and medium-sized U.S. manufacturers the resources they need to improve operations, chart paths to growth, and improve their competitiveness in the global marketplace.

“Over the past 30 years, the MEP National Network has successfully evolved to better meet the needs of manufacturers and advance U.S. manufacturing,” shared Dave Boulay, PhD, President of the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center and Chair of the American Small Manufacturers Coalition. “Manufacturers can tap into national expertise as they look to improve operations, increase profits, create or maintain jobs, and ultimately, establish a foundation for long-term business growth and productivity.”

According to a 3rd party assessment by the W.E. Upjohn Institute, total U.S. employment in 2017 was higher by 219,000 jobs (than it would have been otherwise) because of services provided by the MEP National Network. These results translated into a 14.5:1 return on the $128 million in federal investment in Fiscal Year 2017.

The Upjohn study also quantified additional economic benefits not previously reported, including higher personal income ($13.76 billion) and GDP ($22.01 billion) as a result of Network services, translating into an increase of $1.86 billion in personal income tax revenue to the federal government. The study is available at

The American Small Manufacturers Coalition (ASMC) is a trade association of manufacturing extension centers that work to improve the innovation and productivity of America’s manufacturing community. ASMC advocates for legislative and programmatic resources that allow our small manufacturing clients to better compete in the global marketplace. The Coalition and its members do this by increasing awareness of the importance of American small manufacturers, the challenges which they face, and the federal legislation and programs that affect them.

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