VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota has received a Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Grant, totaling $400,000. The MEP program is part of a national network of programs funded through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The grant will establish an official MEP Center for South Dakota, and provide funding to implement NIST “Next Generation Strategies” with a focus on innovation engineering. This funding will help South Dakota manufacturers grow their business through the innovation of new products and new markets. The grant also provides for a full-time business advisor, program support, and several interns to work within South Dakota manufacturing companies, and will connect work being done in South Dakota engineering schools with industry in the state.
The total MEP program cost in South Dakota is matched with funds provided by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and fees paid by the companies that receive service. The MEP activities will be merged into the existing Manufacturing & Technology Solutions (MTS) program, created in 2010 as the first step toward a South Dakota MEP. South Dakota was previously served by the Dakota MEP based in North Dakota. Today, the South Dakota MTS program is well established and has three business advisors, with more than 65 combined years of industry experience. The MEP grant will broaden the scope of offerings available to customers through MTS. More information about MTS is available at: http://www.usd.edu/business/manufacturing-and-technology-solutions/.
The MEP Center for South Dakota works with small and mid-sized U.S. manufacturers to help them create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money. The nationwide network provides a variety of services, from innovation strategies to process improvements to green manufacturing. MEP field staff has more than 1,400 technical experts – located in every state – serving as trusted business advisors, focused on solving manufacturers’ challenges and identifying opportunities for growth.
“Thanks to our partners at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the University of South Dakota’s Small Business Development Center, the Manufacturing & Technology Solutions program has established a great track record with our South Dakota manufacturers,” said Wes Kelly, director for the South Dakota MTS program and MEP Center director. “Our affiliation with the MEP program will help raise our profile and provide additional resources to help our companies to not only become more efficient and profitable but to grow their businesses which will create and retain hundreds of high quality jobs for South Dakotans.”