August 22, 2012

Manchin, Rockefeller Announce Significant Grant to Improve Manufacturing in WV

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin today announced a $365,700 grant award to the West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a program designed to help small and medium-sized companies create jobs, new products and expand into new markets.  The WV MEP program is located on the campus of West Virginia University, with strong university participation and oversight.

“West Virginia has a strong manufacturing history, and these funds will support our manufacturing future by boosting innovation among small and medium-sized companies throughout the state,” said Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. His committee oversees the Commerce Department, which administers the funding through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

“Manufacturing is a critical cornerstone of West Virginia’s economy, which is why I have always worked to increase our manufacturing base. In the last couple of years, I have convened several roundtable discussions among West Virginia workers and business owners, and three Congressional hearings – including one in West Virginia – on the future of manufacturing, and introduced or supported a dozen bills that would help create jobs and strengthen manufacturing in the state. This grant is an extension of my efforts.”

“Even though the manufacturing sector is struggling, our manufacturers here in West Virginia work hard to innovate and keep good-paying jobs in our state,” Senator Manchin said. “As Senator, I believe it is so important to help these local manufacturers improve and invest in innovative technologies and practices out there. We need to make sure West Virginia remains competitive and successful - and that we keep our good jobs and create new ones. West Virginians are incredibly dedicated workers, and I am pleased that these funds will help the manufacturing industry and the jobs it supports.”

NIST’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) works with small and mid-sized U.S. manufacturers to help them create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money. The nationwide network provides a variety of services, from innovation strategies to process improvements to green manufacturing. The Commerce Committee has specific jurisdiction over MEP, which works with partners at the state and federal levels on programs that put manufacturers in position to develop new customers, expand into new markets and create new products.
As a public/private partnership, MEP delivers a high return on investment.  For every one dollar of federal investment, the MEP generates $29 in new sales growth.  This translates into $3.6 billion in new sales annually.