MEP Archives - Shopfloor

Poster: Proud to Manufacture in Michigan

By | General | No Comments

Roger Kilmer, director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), writing at the Manufacturing Innovation blog notes our post about Congress increasing funding for MEP, a program of the Department of Commerce’s National Institute for Standards and Technology.

He continues:

[In] the spirit of recognition, take a look at the recent ‘Proud to Manufacture in Michigan’ poster produced by our Michigan affiliate, Michigan Manufacturing Technology center.  The poster, available for download, helps show the “pride” of the Motor City’s manufacturing community.

Thanks to Jacklyn Gardner at MEP for bringing this to our attention via Twitter.

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.

Supporting the America COMPETES Act, Innovation, R&D

By | Education and Training, Innovation | No Comments

The National Association of Manufacturers sent a Key Vote letter to the House Tuesday urging support for H.R. 5116, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010.

The NAM strongly supports reauthorization of the COMPETES Act, as its programs are working to strengthen innovation in the U.S. manufacturing sector and to build a stronger workforce. Key programs in H.R. 5116 of significant interest to manufacturers include: federal funding for basic R&D; the Advanced Research Projects Administration for Energy (ARPA-E); the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which helps thousands of small and medium manufacturers increase their productivity and technological capabilities; and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education grants that will help increase the number and quality of students receiving degrees in areas of importance to manufacturers.

The House Science and Technology Committee has a variety of background materials on the legislation.

NAM President John Engler testified on the legislation before the committee at a Jan. 20 hearing, “America COMPETES: Big Picture Perspectives on the Need for Innovation, Investments in R&D and a Commitment to STEM Education.” Engler’s opening statement is here.

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.

Science, Research, Education, Energy: America COMPETES Act

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

Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) of the House Science Committee commented on Wednesday’s committee hearing, “America COMPETES: Big Picture Perspectives on the Need for Innovation, Investments in R&D and a Commitment to STEM Education.” From his news release:

[We] are kicking off one of the most important efforts of the year – to reauthorize our Committee’s landmark legislation, the America COMPETES Act,” stated Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN). “As we learned from the National Academies’ report Rising Above the Gathering Storm, in order to create an innovative economy we need a well-educated workforce and predictable funding streams for these programs. Today, our witnesses have expressed how critical this commitment to innovation is to our prosperity and our economic growth. COMPETES has affected, and will continue to affect, U.S. innovation and its programs will help sustain a skilled workforce in the future.”

National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler testified on basic research, technical education, the Manufacturing Extension Program (MEP) and a research-supporting arm of the Department of Energy known as ARPA-E, Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy. Rep. Gordon is a big supporter:

One key provision of COMPETES with a strong public-private partnership component was ARPA-E.  The agency recently made its first round of awards.  In addition to receiving far more concept papers for the first Funding Opportunity Announcement than expected—3,700—the awards also attracted far more funds from the private sector than was required or expected. The Chairman and the Committee have continued to look for ways to attract additional private sector support for high-risk, high-reward energy technology development.

“There are far more good ideas than ARPA-E’s funding can accommodate,” said Gordon.  “Many of the finalists have very promising projects that are as deserving of grant funding as the award winners.”

Focusing more attention on the projects and other innovations is the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit scheduled March 1-3 at National Harbor Place.

The Committee continues its work today with a hearing by the Subcommittee on Technology & Innovation, “Commerce Department Programs to Support Job Creation and Innovation at Small- and Medium-Sized Manufacturers,” primarily the MEP.

Competitiveness Builds on Research and Education

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

National Association of Manufacturers’ President John Engler testified today at a House Science Committee hearing, “America COMPETES: Big Picture Perspectives on the Need for Innovation, Investments in R&D and a Commitment to STEM Education.”

His testimony focused on four programs important to America’s manufacturers: federal funding for basic R&D; the Advanced Research Projects Administration for Energy (ARPA-E); science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, and the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

Engler’s complete prepared testimony is available at the committee’s website here.

Also testifying were:

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.

The Stimulus Bill, For Now

By | Economy, Energy | No Comments

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s statement, “Hoyer Statement on American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill“:

In the midst of a recession that has already cost our economy 2.6 million jobs, the need for swift action is clear. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill unveiled today will create jobs and strengthen our economy both now and in the future.

The depth of our economic crisis means that the consequences of inaction are far worse, starting with double digit unemployment and even deeper deficits. A recovery package is needed to stop our economy’s downward spiral so that we may then address the underlying financial crisis. Once our economy stabilizes, we must renew our pledge of fiscal responsibility and make the tough choices necessary to rein in deficits and restore balanced budgets.

Finally, the process is not over today. Members of Congress will continue to work on crafting the best package possible, including holding markups on this legislation next week, and I expect to bring the final House bill to the Floor for a vote the following week. I look forward to working further on this legislation that is critical to strengthening our economy and helping American families struggling under this recession.

The text of the draft Appropriations Committee bill is here, a 258-page (.pdf) document. And so we searched using the term, “manufac” and found these references:

Page 47

19 For an additional amount for ‘‘Industrial Technology
20 Services’’, $100,000,000, of which $70,000,000 shall be
21 available for the necessary expenses of the Technology In
22 novation Program and $30,000,000 shall be available for
23 the necessary expenses of the Hollings Manufacturing Ex
24 tension Partnership.

Page 71

(10) $1,000,000,000 shall be for expenses nec
2 essary for the manufacturing of advanced batteries
3 authorized under section 136(b)(1)(B) of the Energy
4 Independence and Security Act of 2007 (42 U.S.C.
5 17013(b)(1)(B)):

And that’s it, the only specific references.

The committee report is here. It’s 76 pages.

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.