Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and Senator Joe Manchin today announced $418,624 in federal funding for West Virginia University to continue supporting the West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).
The West Virginia MEP is operated by West Virginia University (WVU) and works with small- and mid-sized manufacturers in the state to make them more efficient and to help them create jobs. In addition, the WV MEP serves as an advisor to local businesses by helping them to increase profits, work through challenges, and build their workforce.
“West Virginia’s small businesses and manufacturers are critical to growing West Virginia’s economy and driving job creation,” Rockefeller said. “The Manufacturing Extension Partnership has become an important resource in our efforts to make sure they can thrive in our communities and remain competitive. With this additional funding for the MEP, our small business community will continue to have this critical ally in place that is focused on their overall success and longevity.”
Rockefeller’s has long been a leading advocate for the MEP, and championed the effort in Congress to establish this program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Signed into law in 1998, the legislation Rockefeller spearheaded established a network of federal, state, and industry advisors tasked with improving the productivity and success of American manufacturers. Most recently, Rockefeller was successful in securing $141 million for MEP in the Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill for FY 2015, which is a $13 million increase over the FY 2014 funding level.
“Investing in our manufacturing industry is vital to creating good-paying jobs and expanding economic opportunities across our great state,” Manchin said. “It is important to help our local manufacturers make the critical improvements necessary to help them stay competitive and successful, and I am pleased that this funding offers public-private partnerships that will help sustain job growth, create new products and expand into new markets right here at home.”