Reed & Whitehouse Announce $750,000 to Help RI Manufacturers

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today announced
$750,000 in federal funding to continue supporting the Polaris Manufacturing
Extension Partnership (MEP). Based in Providence, Polaris MEP is a statewide
non-profit organization that provides manufacturing business improvement programs to
help the state’s manufacturing industry become more competitive and innovative.
Polaris is a business unit of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation and
has worked for nearly two decades to provide improvement solutions to over 750 Rhode
Island manufacturers.

The federal grant was awarded under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership
(MEP) program. MEP centers form a nationwide network of proven resources that
enables manufacturers to compete globally, supports greater supply chain
integration, and provides access to information, training, and technologies that
improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

«These federal funds will help fuel Rhode Island’s manufacturing sector and ensure
local companies have the tools and technical assistance they need to compete,
expand, and thrive here at home,» said Senator Reed, a member of the Appropriations
Committee, who helped include $130 million in the fiscal year 2016 omnibus
appropriations bill for MEP.

«Manufacturing has been a centerpiece of Rhode Island’s economy since the American
Industrial Revolution began on the banks of the Blackstone River,» said Senator
Whitehouse. «For generations, Rhode Island manufacturers have created products known
for quality and design, and jobs that allow families to enjoy a good quality of
life. I am pleased that this continued funding will support Polaris’s work to ensure
that our state’s manufacturers have the tools they need to succeed.»

According to its website, Polaris MEP provides on-site training and one-on-one
custom services designed to help manufacturing companies in Rhode Island grow their
businesses and operate more efficiently. It offers «lean manufacturing» programs,
including production optimization, cost reduction, facility layout and quality
management services like ISO certification, as well as growth-oriented services
designed to help manufacturers access new markets and develop new products and
processes.