ORLANDO, Fla.- National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President John Engler on Tuesday acknowledged the contribution of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to the U.S. economy and said the NAM “strongly supports adequate funding for the MEP.”
The MEP is a nationwide network of not-for-profit centers in almost 350 locations that provide small- and medium-sized manufacturers with expertise and services ranging from process improvements and worker training to business practices and applications of advanced technology.
The centers, funded by federal, state and private sources, are linked together through the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
According to Engler, in fiscal year 2005, the MEP was responsible for helping to create or save over 53,000 jobs and generating over $6 billion in sales.
“By some accounts, the MEP stimulated more than $2.2 billion in economic growth – contributing to an innovative, investment-rich manufacturing sector,” Engler told the National MEP-NIST Annual Conference.
Engler said the Bush Administration’s budget request of $46 million for the MEP in fiscal 2008, which was funded for $104.6 million this year, “falls short – especially in a time of increased global competition. The NAM has gone through these funding battles with you before, and together we’ve won the day. We’ll win it again this year, too. The case is just so strong.”
Engler referred to a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter signed by Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, and Ranking Member Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), and more than 100 other legislators, calling for MEP funding of $113 million in 2008. That amount, Engler said, “is far more fitting with the demands placed on the MEP.”