Tester Announces $227,000 for MSU to Support Rural Manufacturing During Pandemic

Funds will be provide services that directly support Montana manufacturers’ ability to respond to the coronavirus

U.S. Senator Tester today announced $227,000 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds for Montana State University’s Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC), which will support Montana-based small- and medium sized manufacturers, including rural manufacturers, to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Montana’s rural manufacturers play a critical role in our state’s health care supply chain, producing essential medical equipment that allow frontline workers to protect our communities from the coronavirus,” said Tester. “These funds will allow MMEC to provide more resources to these main street businesses so they can keep their doors open and support Montana’s medical community as our state responds to the pandemic.”

These funds will be used to provide services that directly support Montana manufacturers’ ability to respond to the coronavirus through, for example, the accelerated production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and services that support manufacturers’ ability to improve their competitiveness as the marketplace adapts to coronavirus disruption.

MMEC will continue to coordinate its activities with its state partners response efforts, including Montana Disaster Emergency Services to make all hospitals, first responders and rest homes aware of COVID 19 response products that can be purchased from Montana manufacturers. MMEC will also facilitate collaborative manufacturing groups where manufacturers can work together to provide new COVID-19 response products to those in need. In addition, MMEC will continue to provide training and advice to Montana’s manufacturers on COVID-19 issues. Activities will include:

  • Expand field operations staff to collaborate with partners and assist with assessments and service delivery;
  • Provide remote no-cost assessments to determine the solutions to meet manufacturers challenges statewide;
  • Serve as a conduit to connect manufacturers to state and local resources necessary to sustain operations;
  • Serve as trusted advisors to manufacturers to aid them in understanding and accessing federal, state and local resources;
  • Offer no-cost cybersecurity evaluations to manufacturers with a focus on the defense, food and health care supply chains;
  • Conduct supplier scouting and matching activities with its clients as necessary.
  • Tester has fought tirelessly to ensure that Montana is prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. After 72 hours of negotiating substantial, bipartisan improvements to COVID-19 stimulus legislation that had previously fallen far short, Tester voted to deliver critical, urgent relief to Montana workers, families, small businesses, hospitals and others hardest hit by the outbreak. This funding includes $1.25 billion for the state of Montana.

    Visit tester.senate.gov/coronavirusresources for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19