Tester Announces $853,333 Investment in Montana's Manufacturing Industry

(Helena, Mont.)-Senator Jon Tester announced today that MSU’s Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) will receive $853,333 from the U.S. Department of Commerce to continue its work supporting small and medium-sized manufacturing across the state.

“For decades manufacturing has been the backbone of America’s economy, helping propel millions of workers into the middle class,”
Tester said. “That’s why investments like this are such a huge asset to our state’s economy.”

MMEC is part of the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which cultivates and funds a network of state-based organizations to help local manufacturers thrive.

“The MEP program is our nation’s only network of public-private partnerships that delivers support for small- and medium-sized manufacturers in every state,” Tester wrote in his letter urging Congress to increase funding for MEP. “It connects manufacturers with the critical resources necessary to compete globally. It offers support systems that lead to greater supply chain integration. And it helps firms invest in their processes, technologies, and workforces in order to improve efficiency and grow.”

In 2014 MMEC helped create 67 new jobs and retain an additional 386 jobs across the state. More than half of the companies MMEC worked with in 2014 reported retaining otherwise lost jobs as a result of MMEC’s services, while 42 percent said they added new jobs, 44 percent said they retained otherwise lost sales, and 38 percent reported generating new sales.

“This funding along with matching funds from the state legislature will allow MMEC to continue to provide growth, innovation and profit enhancement services to Montana’s growing manufacturing industry,” said Paddy Fleming, Director of the MMEC.

Tester has been a strong supporter of the MEP program, helping secure $130 million in funding for the initiative in the 2017 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill, a bill Tester helped get passed out of committee. You can read Tester’s letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee HERE.