Arizona Commerce Authority Awarded $5 Million Grant to Operate State’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership

MEP to strengthen Arizona’s small and medium-sized manufacturers 


PHOENIX, AZ (May 3, 2013) — The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is pleased to announce it has been awarded a $5 million grant ($1 million per year for five years) from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program to run Arizona’s MEP Center.  The Center will serve as a catalyst for strengthening manufacturing in Arizona, accelerating manufacturing’s ongoing transformation into a more efficient and powerful engine of innovation.


“Small- and medium-sized manufacturing companies play a vital role in our statewide economy by strengthening local communities, creating jobs all across the state, and bolstering the supply chain for large-scale manufacturers,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority.


Arizona is home to more than 4,300 manufacturers, 95-percent of which have fewer than 100 employees.  Arizona’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership will be staffed with a team of business and manufacturing experts who will lend know-how to companies that face technological challenges.  Services will include assistance with business strategy development for top-line growth, manufacturing and operational strategies for productivity improvements, engineering strategies to enable product and process innovation, and workforce and organizational development strategies to grow the state’s talent pipeline.


“To remain competitive, manufacturers have to continually develop and implement sound policies and new technologies, and that’s where the MEP Center plans to step in and assist.  Strengthening our state’s manufacturing capabilities is critical to our economic well-being by driving growth and job creation,” added Watson.


According to NIST, MEP delivers a high return on investment to taxpayers.  For every one dollar of federal investment, the MEP generates nearly $20 in new sales growth and $20 in new client investment. This translates into $2.5 billion in new sales annually. For every $2,100 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one manufacturing job.


Media Contact

Nicole McTheny, Arizona Commerce Authority, (602) 845-1231, [email protected]


About the Arizona Commerce Authority

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state’s leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona’s economy. The ACA uses a three-pronged approach to advance the overall economy: attract, expand, create – attract out-of-state companies to establish operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to expand their business in Arizona and beyond; and help entrepreneurs create new Arizona businesses in targeted industries. For more information, please visit and follow the ACA on Twitter at @azcommerce.