Polaris MEP nets $6M grant, renews federal partnership

PROVIDENCE – Polaris MEP has secured a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, renewing its status as the state’s designated Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

The institute awarded the funding as part of a $19.8 million package distributed to Rhode Island, Kentucky, Nebraska and South Dakota. The institute finances a Manufacturing Extension Partnership in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, with funding awarded in staggered cycles.

Rhode Island received the second-largest allocation of the four states, behind Kentucky’s $6.2 million grant. This cycle’s funding will be awarded over a five-year period, according to the institute, but funding can sometimes extend as long as 10 years.

The grant provides funding for small- to medium-sized manufacturing companies to support areas such as supply chain, technology innovation and technical training.

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Polaris MEP, along with all other institute-funded organizations, goes through a performance period of up to five years and must meet a cost-share provision.

While Polaris MEP has held the designation previously, a re-awarding is not guaranteed, with an application period in January also open to nonprofits; higher education institutes;  and state, U.S. territory, local and tribal governments, in addition to existing MEP centers.

The institute reports that Polaris MEP, alongside the three other MEP centers awarded grants this cycle, has generated more than $20 in new sales growth per federal dollar and $25 in new client investments per federal dollar in 2021.

Jacquelyn Voghel is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Voghel@PBN.com.