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Making U.S. Manufacturing Stronger

March 18, 2015

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This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Guest blog post by Phillip Singerman, Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

During his visit to Cleveland, Ohio, today, President Obama highlighted increased investment in a unique program that makes sure small and medium-size U.S. manufactures have the support they need to innovate, grow and succeed.

The president visited the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), one of 60 centers across the country in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).  MAGNET is one of the Ohio MEP affiliates located at Cleveland State University. These centers have helped manufacturers such as Ohio-based Wright Materials Research and Heather Moore Jewelry make improvements that led to the hiring of new staff, sped delivery of their products and generated new sales.

As a new report released by the White House (which was supported by our colleagues at the Economics and Statistics Administration) finds that small and medium-size companies like these form the backbone of America’s manufacturing supply chains and employ nearly half of all U.S. manufacturing workers.

There are many success stories in MEP’s 26-year history that demonstrate the benefits of investing in these manufacturers. And we plan to support many more. MEP has issued a Federal Funding Opportunity for non-profit organizations to operate centers in Alaska, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. This is the second round of competitions in a multiyear effort to update MEP’s funding structure and will strengthen the network. We announced the first competition awardees in February 2015.

The awardees in this new competition will receive a total of nearly $32 million annually for five years from MEP, and all of that funding will be matched at a minimum dollar-for-dollar by non-federal sources. Over the course of the five-year awards, more than $320 million total federal and non-federal investment will be provided to support the small and medium-size manufactures in these states.

That investment will go a long way. For every dollar of federal funding, MEP clients generate nearly $19 in new sales, which translates into $2.5 billion annually. And for every $2,001 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one U.S. manufacturing job. Since 1988, MEP has worked with nearly 80,000 manufacturers, leading to $88 billion in sales and $14 billion in cost savings, and it has helped create more than 729,000 jobs.

Revitalized centers will benefit each of these states, but I’m especially glad to see that Alaska is included in this competition because it is the only state that does not currently have an MEP center. However, based on a recent study funded by MEP, the state does have a small and vibrant manufacturing community that could truly benefit from the collaborative, public-private nature of an MEP center.

Running an MEP center is not an easy task, but the benefits to the country and local communities is tremendous. We’ll be hosting an informational webinar regarding the latest MEP competition on March 30, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time (register by sending an email to, and applications are due June 1, 2015. I encourage all eligible non-profits to consider applying for this opportunity to help ensure a strong future for U.S. manufacturing.


Greater Seattle: Marshaling Export Success for Future Gains in Direct Investment

January 15, 2015

Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan Selig delivers remarks to the Annual Seattle Economic Forecasting Conference on January 15, 2015.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan Selig delivers remarks to the Annual Seattle Economic Forecasting Conference on January 15, 2015.

“Trade and investment is an expression of American greatness. It is not a threat to it.”

That was one of the messages ‎I delivered today at the 43rd Annual Economic Forecast Conference, held by the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County.

The Seattle Metropolitan area has already established itself as an elite export hub. In 2013, this part of the country sold more than $57 billion in goods exports, making it the fifth largest metropolitan export region in the country.

But today’s event was an opportunity for me to learn about how the Greater Seattle region is planning on marshaling that export prowess to attract foreign direct investment.

When Greater Seattle  ‎puts together their toolbox for attracting investment, they will find plenty of tools from ITA.

That includes SelectUSA, the first ever whole-of-government program to attract FDI.‎ Their experience and success in connecting foreign investors with economic development organizations, as well as their advocacy and ombudsman services are why companies ‎ from China, India, Germany, and South Africa among other countries are setting up shop in the U.S.

Another ITA tool is our work to make the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership a reality. While these are largely seen as trade agreements, they will also unlock also remove barriers to investment, which should boost FDI for the Greater Seattle region and the country.

Finally, we hope to bolster their public support efforts by doing our part to remind people that trade and investment is a platform for the best goods and services in the world, made by the best workforce.

On behalf of ITA, I would like to once again congratulate the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County for this plan, which will surely make the region a leading hub for FDI. You can be sure that we will be there to help along the way.


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