Manufacturing Extension Partnership Archives - Shopfloor

Spending Bill: No Czars, But Manufacturing Extension Partnership

By | Innovation, Small Business | 5 Comments

Searching for the word “manufacturing” in Thursday’s House floor debate on H.R. 1473, the continuing resolution, that passed by a vote of 260-167, we find first the section that eliminates funding for White House “czars.”

Sec. 2262. None of the funds made available by this division may be used to pay the salaries and expenses for the following positions:

(1) Director, White House Office of Health Reform.

(2) Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

(3) Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury assigned to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and Senior Counselor for Manufacturing Policy.

(4) White House Director of Urban Affairs.

The Detroit Free Press observes, “In the case of the car czar — actually the senior advisor to the secretary of the Treasury assigned to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and senior counselor for manufacturing policy — it hardly matters: Ron Bloom, who held the job, moved to the National Economic Council earlier this year, so it’s vacant.”

On another topic, Rep. Chakah Fattah (D-PA) complimented Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), who chairs the Commerce, Science, Justice activities in the continuing resolution. From Congressinal Record, Page H2742:

Notwithstanding the very challenging fiscal circumstances, Chairman Wolf has worked towards a set of priorities that will help move our country forward, and I thank him for working with me on a bipartisan basis.

I want to point out our highest priority within that section of the Commerce Department, which is that of the Manufacturing and Extension Partnerships, which will see an increase above the 2010 enacted and also the Senate amendment, or H.R. 1. I am very pleased about that.

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) operates out of the National Institute for Standards and Technology, working with state partnerships to provide business planning services and technical advice to small businesses. Read More

Innovation, R&D and STEM Education Bill Passes House

By | Briefly Legal, Education and Training, General, Innovation, Technology | No Comments

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 262-150 Friday to pass H.R. 5116, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, authorizing federal support for R&D, government science agencies and education programs. When the bill first came up, opposition mostly from Republicans mostly on overspending forced the bill back to committee, but Friday’s final vote was bipartisan.

From a news release from Rep. Barton Gordon (D-TN), bill sponsor and chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee:

“If we are to reverse the trend of the last twenty years, where our country’s technology edge in the world has diminished, we must make the investments necessary today,” said Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN). “The path is simple. Research and education lead to innovation. Innovation leads to economic development and good paying jobs and the revenue to pay for more research. And as private firms under-invest in research and development because the returns are too far off in the future, there is a clear and necessary role of government to help our nation keep pace with the rest of the world.”

Rep. Gordon divided the bill’s consideration into nine separate votes before final passage, creating the political leverage to push it through.

Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), a cosponsor, highlighted the bill’s funding for manufacturing programs:

America COMPETES legislation will also provide critically needed help to our small- and medium-sized manufacturers who have been hard hit by the financial downturn. In order to improve competitiveness and access to capital, America COMPETES will provide Innovative Technology Federal Loan Guarantees for these manufacturers. To help manufacturers modernize, this legislation authorizes the National Science Foundation to support research needed for advances in manufacturing. To ensure manufacturers will have the skilled employees they need, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers will be directed to work with local community colleges to ensure training programs fit the needs of local manufacturers. It will also reduce the cost share contribution for Manufacturing Extension Partnership program centers, which provides invaluable assistance to manufacturers by increasing their technological capabilities, instituting green or lean manufacturing techniques, and increasing their sales.

The National Association of Manufacturers had earlier sent a “Key Vote” letter to the House urging passage of the legislation, and the NAM’s support was widely cited by backers.

America COMPETES, Moving Forward

By | Education and Training, Innovation, Technology | No Comments

The House Science Committee this week passed out an updated version (Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to , America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010. The vote was bipartisan, 29 to 8.

Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) issued a statement and commented:

If we are to reverse the trend of the last twenty years, where our country’s technology edge in the world has diminished, we must make the investments necessary today. The statistics speak for them themselves. More than half of our economic growth since World War II can be directly attributed to development and adoption of new technologies. The path is simple. Research and education lead to innovation. Innovation leads to economic development and good paying jobs.

The bill has six major sections, including provisions to encourage R&D in areas such as energy research. There are also programs to strengthen STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The bill continues the trend of increasing funding authorization for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, as well.

Last week, the National Association of Manufacturers sent a letter to the committee expressing manufacturers’ support for the legislation.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) issued a statement noting committee passage, saying he planned to schedule the bill for floor action before the Memorial Day recess.

The Middle Class Task Force Met in Ohio on Tuesday

By | Economy, Technology | No Comments

The Middle Class Task Force led by Vice President Biden was in Perrysburg, Ohio, on Tuesday, to talk about U.S. manufacturing. The Vice President was joined by Governor Ted Strickland and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke:

Didn’t seem to draw much media attention. Here’s the news release from the White House, including the news:

During the meeting, the Department of Commerce announced the expansion of the National Innovation Marketplace, part of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. This program will help revitalize supply chains by providing manufacturers with the tools they need to transition from contracting sectors to emerging technologies and new market opportunities.

“American manufacturers have sophisticated technologies and systems and some of the most skilled workforces in the entire world,” said Secretary Locke. “By expanding the National Innovation Marketplace, the Commerce Department is bringing together in one place the ideas, products and future opportunities businesses need to identify new markets, diversify and create new jobs.”

To learn more about this program, click here: http://www.planeteureka.org/marketplace/

The Vice President also announced an Executive Order creating the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers. This inter-agency council will work to address the issues facing the automotive industry and protect the hardest-hit communities and workers.

The National Association of Manufacturers strongly supports the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Secretary Locke’s news release has more information on the new initiative.

The executive order hasn’t been posted online as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.

This Week on America’s Business Radio

By | America's Business, General | No Comments

Americas-Business-logo.jpgRep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) says he was under a lot of pressure from folks in the Texas 11th Congressional District to vote against the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.” But Conaway, a guest on this week’s “America’s Business with Mike Hambrick” radio program, decided he had to vote for the bill.

Congress approved the bill and President Bush signed the legislation into law a week ago. Supporters hope the bill will help prevent the American economy from sinking into another Great Depression.

“My job as I see it is to form the best opinion I can, the most informed, intelligent,” Conaway says. “And yes, you listen to the constituents. But at the end of the day I had to vote for what I believe is right.”

One of the most important pieces of legislation for businesses in 2009 will be the misnamed “Employee Free Choice Act.” That bill would strip away an employee’s right to a secret ballot on union organizing. One group fighting against the bill is the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. Mike will talk to their spokeswoman Rhonda Bentz about their campaign.

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership helps American manufacturers grow and compete in the global marketplace. For the past 17 years it has helped manufacturers achieve $1.3 billion in cost savings annually. But the program has been unfairly criticized as a government handout.

Mike will talk to Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions Director Dan Curtis about why the program is crucial to manufacturers in his state and around the country. In fact, Lee Morgan, president of Farr Air Pollution Control in Jonesboro, Arkansas, will tell Mike how MEP helped save his company and jobs.

In our regular segments, Renee Giachino of American Justice Partnership gives us the latest on tort reform, NAM Executive Vice President Jay Timmons offers an update on the 2008 political campaign season, and commentator Hank Cox recalls “The Way It Was.” And our program will close with “The Last Word” from the National Association of Manufacturers President Gov. John Engler.

For more about “America’s Business with Mike Hambrick” and to listen to the program online check out http://www.americasbusiness.org.

Report from America: In Arkansas, Solutions and Partnerships

By | Innovation, Report from America, Trade | No Comments

I just got back from a productive visit with our friends with Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions (AMS) in Little Rock, offering a talk about the importance of manufacturing to our economy and the challenges we face. The AMS is one of many Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs) around the country that work with small manufacturers to help them acquire modern technology, have access to professional advice, obtain funding and export their products abroad. The MEPs are a profound blessing to manufacturing and our economy, so of course the bean counters in the Office of Management and Budget try to zero out the minimal federal funding they receive each year, and every year we (the NAM) fight to get it put back. But every dollar that goes to the MEPs generates many more in economic growth, new jobs and exports.

I don’t have space to recount all of the information I picked up down there. But a couple of stories stand out. Timothy J. Grant, Chairman, President and CEO of Actronix, described how his company brought production back to the U.S. from China, primarily because of concern about quality. Lee Morgan, President of Farr Air Pollution Control, described how his company almost went under and attributed much of the credit for their survival – and expansion – to the AMS. There was lots of talk about, and interest in, green manufacturing. And everyone there was grateful to Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR) for his ardent support of the MEP program.

Many thanks to Dan Curtis and Tovia Chan of the AMS for arranging this great meeting and inviting me to speak. I had a wonderful time, and as always happens on these trips, I came back wiser than I left.


Vodcast: Sen. John Ensign, Rep. Joe Knollenberg

By | America's Business, Energy | No Comments

This week’s video podcast of “America’s Business with Mike Hambrick” looks at energy and the encouragement of manufacturing, with two guests from Capitol Hill. Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) talks about his plan to extend tax credits to encourage alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. Rep. Joe Knollenberg makes the case for funding of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program (MEP); the almost 20-year-old MEP program offers small and medium manufacturers the expertise they need to become more competitive and create jobs, he says.

Below you’ll see the full program for “America’s Business,” a radio program the keeps listeners abreast of policies, politics and the practices of manufacturing in the United States.

This Week on America’s Business Radio

By | America's Business, General | No Comments

Americas-Business-logo.jpgThe Manufacturing Extension Partnership program has helped small and medium-sized manufacturers stay competitive and create jobs for almost 20 years. Despite its benefits, MEP supporters often have to scramble to get federal funds.

Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), a guest on this week’s edition of “America’s Business with Mike Hambrick” radio program, explains how he and other program supporters recently pushed to get the program funding.

“We did it by having individuals with the MEP talk to people in their district, wherever it might be, whatever state it might be in,” he says. “And that drummed up a lot of support because those members of Congress living in those states did not want to lose out.”

Higher energy prices are putting a financial pinch on manufacturers and made more Americans eager to embrace alternative energy sources. Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) will discuss his plan to extend tax credits that encourage development of alternative fuels such as solar and wind.

High energy prices also make shipping more expensive. CIBC World Markets Chief Economist Jeff Rubin will talk about his recent report on how energy costs affect global trade flow.

Canada is one of our nation’s closest allies. Canadian Ambassador to the United States Michael Wilson will join Mike to discuss the trade and other economic ties that bind the United States to its neighbor to the north.

In our regular segments, Renee Giachino of American Justice Partnership gives us the latest on tort reform and commentator Hank Cox recalls “The Way It Was.” This week “America’s Business” is launching a new regular segment featuring NAM Executive Vice President Jay Timmons. Jay, who has been intimately involved in politics for years, will give us his take on 2008 political races that manufacturers should watch.

And our program will close with “The Last Word” from the National Association of Manufacturers President Gov. John Engler will close the program with “The Last Word.”

For more about “America’s Business with Mike Hambrick” and to listen to the program online, please click here. And for video highlights and more, check out www.americasbusiness.org.