The annual Made in New Jersey Manufacturing Day always serves as a reminder of the strength and importance of the manufacturing sector in the state. This year, that validation came a few days early.
The New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program has been awarded $1.5 million in state funding to expand its services, beginning in 2021, thanks to the state budget signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday. Manufacturing Day will be held virtually Friday.
The budget appropriates $1.5 million to be invested in NJMEP to help stimulate job growth — especially in underserved communities, including to industries reengineering to make personal protective equipment and to help domesticate the New Jersey supply chain in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program, led by NJMEP, plans to also use these funds to open a southern New Jersey operation to make sure this training and jobs program is equally effective throughout the state.
NJMEP is a private, not–for-profit organization that aims to improve the profitability and competitiveness of manufacturers in the state. Backed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NJMEP enables organizations to enhance their productivity and efficiencies, reduce costs and improve employee performance.
John Kennedy, the CEO of MEP, said the group’s extensive engagement with the state’s manufacturers and the resulting economic impacts and return on investment were key in obtaining the state funding.
“NJMEP has a history of high marks within the national program’s performance metrics,” Kennedy said. “In the first six months of 2020, the organization ranked as the No. 1 MEP center in the country. More significantly, the center has helped its clients collectively achieve more than $4.31 billion in economic impact in New Jersey.”
Kennedy notes MEP’s efforts during the pandemic have paid dividends for all.
“NJMEP assisted over 3,700 New Jersey manufacturing, STEM and supply chain firms during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Through collaboration and constant support from the Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, we saw an astonishing 30:1 Return on Investment over the past 6 months.”
MEP’s services are categorized into the following three areas: operational excellence, innovation and growth strategies, and workforce development. NJMEP also has a signature philanthropic program, Manufacturing Cares, which is designed to provide a platform for manufacturers to give back to the community by pooling efforts to increase our impact.
Kennedy said these efforts will be aided by the increased funding from the state.
“We are very thankful to the New Jersey legislators, including those on the Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, the Labor and Budget committees and to Gov. Murphy,” he said.
“The tireless efforts of the NJMEP board and staff, and their commitment to strengthening New Jersey manufacturing, puts the state and economy in a position to grow and prosper in 2021 and beyond. This state support will allow NJMEP to continue increasing the competitiveness of our state’s manufacturers, as well as providing professional development programs to New Jersey residents, especially those in underserved communities.”