U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both-D-N.J.) on Wednesday announced a $400,000 National Institute of Standards and Technology grant awarded to the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) based in Cedar Knolls from the U.S. Department of Commerce NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership program.
The grant enables the NJMEP to provide the technical assistance and optimization improvements to New Jersey’s small to mid-sized manufacturers while establishing a supply chain intelligence network for manufacturers in the state of New Jersey based on legislation the Senator successfully passed in Congress and which President Biden signed into law.
“As an integral part of the backbone of New Jersey’s economy, supporting manufacturers across the state creates a gateway for growing the state’s economy and providing New Jersey’s families and businesses with greater economic opportunity,” Menendez said. “With the $400,000 in federal funding, the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program will ensure that small and medium sized manufacturing companies remain connected to over 140,000 U.S. producers and suppliers, assisting companies and entrepreneurs across the state to innovate and thrive.”
“This funding will empower NJMEP to support small- and medium-sized manufacturers in our state while strengthening domestic supply chains nationwide. I’m proud to see this federal investment in our manufacturing sector to create more resilience and growth in our supply chains,” Booker said.
“COVID-19 showed our country what happens when supply chains aren’t transparent. The United States felt tremendous pressure when borders closed, and state and federal governments couldn’t locate domestic manufacturers to support the country’s critical needs during the pandemic. Not only was PPE difficult to source, but private industry could not quickly pivot to finding new raw material suppliers. At the national level it was identified that progress had to be made to create a more resilient and transparent national supply chain,” CEO of NJMEP, Peter Connolly said. “NJMEP secured a grant to support NIST MEP’s effort of developing a National Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network here in New Jersey. NJMEP is utilizing these funds to bring on Supply Chain experts to the team, implement the latest supply chain technologies, and give New Jersey manufacturers access to these technologies at no cost for as long as possible. Manufacturers can start taking advantage of this network now and learn more about the benefits by visiting NJMEP.org/Connex. Without taking these steps, the country will not be ready for the next global disruption.”
With these funds, the NJMEP program will be able to:
- Provide support for national supplier scouting and optimization services to ensure every MEP supplier scouting request receives a response;
- Use a national database to support MEP supplier scouting and optimization of 140,000+ U.S. manufacturers and suppliers that features in-depth search capacity based on production capabilities, processes, certifications, materials, industry sectors, and capability statements;
- Strengthen internal personnel configurations to support the MEP with timely processing of all supplier scouting requests;
- Prioritize supply chain optimization activity within industries most relevant to New Jersey, including wind, medical device manufacturing, and the Department of Defense supply chain, among others; and
- Increase awareness by New Jersey OEMs and manufacturers of the relevance and utility of the National Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network.
As a long-standing supporter of the NJMEP, Sen. Menendez successfully secured the unanimous Senate passage of his National Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Supply Chain Database Act, which President Biden subsequently signed into law. The legislation provided $52 billion in subsidies to incentivize U.S. computer chip manufacturing and semiconductor production and decrease dependence on foreign manufacturers.