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Impact Washington and NIST MEP National Network Helps Manufacturers Respond to the Pandemic and Thrive Despite It

Tuesday, April 5, 2022 | News Release
MEP National Network Helps Manufacturers Respond to the Pandemic and Thrive Despite 

The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a program of the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has announced the results of its fiscal year 2021 manufacturing client survey, as well as the impacts of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding through January 2022.

“The survey shows that, even while navigating industry-wide disruptions caused by the pandemic, the MEP National Network helped manufacturing clients achieve some of the highest impacts to date,” said Jennifer Sinsabaugh, board chair of the Foundation for Manufacturing Excellence, which supports the network’s educational efforts, and chief executive officer of the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership. “Each of these impacts is critically important to the health of America’s manufacturers and to the U.S. manufacturing ecosystem overall.”

The MEP program supports the competitiveness of U.S.-based manufacturing by making manufacturing technologies, processes, and services more accessible to small and medium-sized manufacturers through MEP Centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

According to the survey, for every dollar of federal investment in FY 2021, the MEP National Network generated $26.20 in new sales growth and $34.50 in new client investment. This translates into $14.4 billion in new and retained sales for U.S. manufacturers. The network also created or retained one manufacturing job for every $1,193 of federal investment.

In FY 2021, the MEP National Network interacted with 34,307 U.S. manufacturers from nearly all manufacturing industries, delivering vital assistance and helping them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost 9,000 MEP Center manufacturing clients completed the FY 2021 survey, which shows that these services helped U.S. manufacturers to create or retain 125,746 jobs and to realize:

  • $14.4 billion in new and retained sales;
  • $5.2 billion in new client investments; and
  • $1.5 billion in cost savings.

This year’s survey asked MEP Center manufacturing clients to identify from a list the top three challenges their companies will face over the next three years. The top challenges they identified are:

  • Employee recruitment and retention (63%);
  • Cost reduction (60%);
  • Identifying growth opportunities (46%); and
  • Innovation/product development (38%). 

The survey is conducted annually by an independent third party to document the economic impact of services provided by MEP National Network experts. These survey results help the network better understand manufacturers’ challenges, identify areas of need, and focus on providing services that help manufacturers overcome the challenges they find most pressing.

Washington State Manufacturers Prove to be Resilient - State-Level Economic Impact FY 2021

The entire country and the thousands of small and midsize manufacturers across the U.S., including Washington, faced enormous challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic dislocation. Despite these obstacles, manufacturers in our state proved to be resilient, and Impact Washington continued to deliver a consistent and significant return on investment to the allocated federal funds.

The study finds that the investment of federal dollars into Impact Washington—$2.8 million in FY 2021—generated a significant economic and financial return in every corner of the state.

For every dollar of federal investment in FY 2021, Impact Washington generated $20.58 in new sales growth, translating into $58.3 million in new sales. During this same time, for every $1,264 of federal investment, Impact Washington created or retained one manufacturing job for a total of 2,243. Impact Washington clients are increasing their capacity to produce goods. For every one dollar of federal investment in FY 2021, Impact Washington generated $11.54 in new client investments. This outcome equates to a total reported $32.7 million in new investments directly attributed to their work with Impact Washington.

CARES Act Impacts


In 2020, NIST MEP awarded a total of $50 million in federal funds authorized by Congress under the CARES Act to the MEP centers. Award amounts were determined by a formula based on each state’s population of manufacturers and ranged from $91,000 to $6.1 million. NIST MEP was able to make the awards in record time so centers could quickly implement critically needed COVID-19-related projects. Impact Washington was awarded $1.2 million in CARES Act Funds. 

According to CARES Act project clients surveyed, through January 2022, MEP Centers served more than 5,300 companies with more than 7,300 CARES Act-funded projects, resulting in nearly 18,000 jobs created or retained. CARES Act funding expanded the reach of the MEP Centers, enabling them to serve more than 2,200 new manufacturing clients. Additional impacts of CARES Act funding include:

  • $1.4 billion in new and retained sales;
  • $480 million in new client investments; and
  • $175 million in total cost savings.

MEP Centers in every state are helping companies in new and different ways that include helping protect their workforce during the pandemic, finding sources of capital, stabilizing their supply chains, and protecting manufacturers from cybersecurity threats. CARES Act funding has enabled MEP Centers to provide manufacturers with additional services such as: 

  • Assessing the extent and nature of the disruption caused by the pandemic;
  • Rethinking and retooling service delivery;
  • Forging new and strengthening existing state partnerships;
  • Helping manufacturers pivot operations to produce personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and medical devices;
  • Implementing supplier databases for searching and matching; and
  • Tailoring services for operating in the post-pandemic environment.

About NIST-MEP National Network

The MEP National Network is a unique public-private partnership comprising NIST MEP, 51 MEP Centers, the MEP Advisory Board, MEP Center boards, and the Foundation for Manufacturing Excellence. More than 1,400 trusted advisers and experts at approximately 450 MEP service locations provide U.S. manufacturers with access to the resources they need to succeed. Manufacturers can connect with their local center and find additional resources through the NIST MEP website

MEP National Network Information provided April 05, 2022, by Jennifer Huergo
jennifer.huergo@nist.gov (202) 309-1027 Find original release here 

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