Thirty years ago today (August 23rd), 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. “Northwest Industrial Resource Center (NWIRC) is part of the MEP National Network serving manufacturers in 13 counties of northwestern Pennsylvania,” said NWIRC’s President/CEO Robert Zaruta.

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 Zaruta. “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  https://research.upjohn.org/reports/230/.

About the MEP National Network

The MEP National Network™ is a unique public-private partnership that delivers comprehensive, proven solutions to U.S. manufacturers, fueling growth and advancing U.S. manufacturing.

Focused on helping small and medium-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy, the MEP National Network comprises the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), the 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, providing any U.S. manufacturer with access to resources they need to succeed. Each MEP Center is a partnership between the federal government and a variety of public or private entities, including state, university, and nonprofit organizations.