State’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership helped with 6,600 jobs in 2020

New York’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a statewide network of 11 organizations that provide growth and innovation services to small and mid-sized manufacturers, helped create or retain more than 6,600 jobs last year and generated $994 million in financial impacts, NY MEP said this week.

“As New York’s manufacturers confronted uncertainty, adversity and disruption amid the pandemic, the NY MEP network stepped up in a big way. Each of the centers was tireless in its work to help manufacturers overcome challenges, pivot to new products, adopt new technologies and scale innovative ideas,” said Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation Senior Vice President Matt Watson. “By deploying NYSTAR funding, providing direct assistance and helping companies navigate NYSTAR’s robust network of over 70 innovation assets, the NY MEP centers delivered a massive economic impact in 2020, measuring at nearly $1 billion and over 6,600 jobs.”

In the Finger Lakes Region, NextCorps serves as the regional NY MEP Center. The 11 centers statewide are among more than 70 NYSTAR-backed centers statewide that are actively working to generate technology-driven economic growth, officials noted. The network provides entrepreneurs, researchers and business leaders with access to the support, assistance and resources they need to solve challenges, develop and scale new technologies, start companies and grow existing businesses.

NYSTAR oversees the NY MEP, which brings together 10 regional centers and one statewide center, FuzeHub. In New York state, manufacturers employ more than 419,000 people, which represents a payroll of roughly $38 billion. The industry produces an economic output of $84.4 billion, officials noted.

“As our state’s recovery gains momentum, the NY MEP will remain focused on helping manufacturers address emerging challenges, accelerate growth and create jobs,” Watson said.

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Statewide Manufacturing Extension Partnerships launch $1 million grant programs

Four centers within the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) network have launched competitive grant programs that will help manufacturers solve challenges created by COVID-19.

Rochester area MEP NextCorps is working closely with the Manufacturing & Technology Enterprise Center (MTEC) to administer the Next Generation Grant Program, which focuses on helping manufacturers optimize operations for the post-pandemic era.

Combined, the four programs will award nearly $1 million to manufacturing and technology companies statewide. In addition to the MTEC-led program, New York City MEP, ITAC, will award $250,000 through the Personal Protective Equipment Fund; the Capital Region’s MEP, CEG, will award $200,000 through the Supply Chain Grant Program; and FuzeHub, the statewide MEP, will award $170,000 through the Manufacturing Reimagined Fund.

The MTEC-led program will award $350,000 in total through grants of up to $10,000 per recipient. The funds will enable manufacturers to ensure they are operating safely, effectively and efficiently in a virtual business environment.

“Some companies need help adjusting to this new way of doing business. Our goal is to get them up to speed and connect them with services they need,” said Alexis Wilson, MTEC project manager, virtual assessments & assistance.

The NY MEP is a network of 11 organizations that provide growth and innovation services to small and mid-sized manufacturers statewide to help them create and retain jobs, increase profits and save time and money. The MEPs are supported through a combination of federal and state funding.

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FuzeHub offers manufacturing grants for masks, ventilators

FuzeHub, the statewide New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership center, has launched a competitive grant program that will award a total of $400,000 in COVID-19 manufacturing grants.

Everton Henriques
Everton Henriques

“In this program, we have a total of $400,000; $100,000 each for two companies that can come up with the ability to manufacture ventilators, and in the area of the N95 respirators or masks we have four $50,000 awards,” said Everton Henriques, NY MEP solutions director for FuzeHub.

The grants will be funded through FuzeHub’s Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund, which annually awards some $1 million to bolster New York’s manufacturing, technology and startup arenas. The application deadline is 4 p.m. April 17.

“We support economic development in New York State. In looking at the issues, we recognized that there is a shortage of these particular components, not only nationally, but in New York State,” Henriques explained.

The Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund typically funds two rounds of grants and a commercialization competition, he added.

“We decided that it would be in the interest of the state and communities to repurpose that funding to help offset these needs for materials that are in short supply,” Henriques said.

FuzeHub is particularly interested in the N95 masks for industrial uses. Those masks are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

“It’s important to realize that there are many, many masks out there, but not all are approved, and we’re focusing on masks that we know that once these manufacturers are done they will be able to stay in business, not go out of business immediately,” he said. “People who manufacture NIOSH-approved masks can later satisfy the FDA requirements if they follow the guidelines.”

The NY MEP is a state and federally funded program that is overseen by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology & Innovation (NYSTAR).

The panel reviewing the grant applications will prioritize projects that are clearly defined and ready to be undertaken immediately. Projects will be expected to be completed as quickly as possible to help address emerging shortages of supplies.

“Fuzehub is constantly monitoring the situation and we’re trying to do everything we can to help New York State manufacturers, and in this particular case, the citizens of New York in general,” Henriques said. “The impact (of COVID-19) is — unless you are a required business — your production will be impacted because your workers will not be on the job. The smaller businesses will see an even tighter impact, except the essential businesses. But even then, they’re feeling a strain too.”

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