The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) is the North Carolina sanctioned component of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), originally established by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act (P.L. 100-418) in 1988.

Located at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a laboratory of the US Department of Commerce, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program is built on regional centers to assist companies in adopting and adapting new technologies and manufacturing techniques. Federal funding is offered on a competitive basis to nonprofit, state, or local organizations for development and management of the centers.

MEP dollars are meant to provide catalyst resources for new programs or enhancement resources for existing programs in order to bolster their effectiveness in aiding profitable growth for smaller manufacturers. State MEP centers operate as public-private programs requiring non-federal sources to provide 50% or more of each center’s capital and costs through matched dollars, fees for service collected, and/or industry contributions.

MEP centers have evolved to provide a wide range of business services, including helping companies:

  1. solve individual manufacturing problems,
  2. obtain training for their workers,
  3. create marketing plans, and
  4. upgrade their equipment and computers.

Current efforts are focusing on issues of concern to the small manufacturing community including, as identified by NIST, technology acceleration, supplier development, sustainability, continuous improvement, and workforce development.

The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership is administered by the Industrial Extension Service at NC State University and has maintained complementary sub recipient program partners at Polymers Center of Excellence (PCE), Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC) at Catawba Valley Community College, and more recently with the Business and Industry Division of the NC Department of Commerce. Source: 2015 NCMEP Handbook.