MassDevelopment has awarded the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP), a leading resource for manufacturing companies in Massachusetts, $400,000 to accelerate outreach and training programs for the defense supply chain. The funds are part of a $1,475,588 grant to MassDevelopment from the Department of Defense to undertake economic adjustment activities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MassDevelopment seeks to identify gaps and resources available to the manufacturing companies in the defense industry that will be impacted by sequestration.
The MassDevelopment project, funded by the federal Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), will develop a proactive response to mitigate the potential impact of federal defense budget cuts and sequestration on an industry that has become increasingly dependent on defense contracts. The project will map a strategy to capitalize on the Commonwealth’s competitive advantage within its defense industry, conducting a comprehensive economic diversification study and developing an implementation strategy to create an economic base that becomes less dependent on defense contracting.
”MassDevelopment works with both the defense and manufacturing sectors, two critical, economically intertwined areas of the Massachusetts innovation economy,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “MassMEP plays a leadership role in strengthening manufacturers, and we look forward to working with such a fine organization on its important efforts.”
Establishing a Baseline for Defense Industry
The study will be conducted in two distinct, yet interdependent, phases. Phase I, “Setting the Stage for Action,” will address the assessment and economic diversification approach. Phase II, “Taking Action,” will address the implementation strategy and sustainability.
MassMEP will focus on:
- the potential for expanding technology transfer and identifying methods to accelerate the commercialization of defense-related products, and
- identifying the potential for new applications of defense-related products and expanding the defense industry customer base.
The challenges budget cuts present provide an opportunity to identify new economic growth sectors related to assets in the industry. MassMEP will identify potential support services, create enterprise clusters, and develop other innovative techniques to identify, recruit, and grow development of a supply chain for Massachusetts’ manufacturers.
Using the services provided in the MassDevelopment OEA grant and MassMEP’s existing resources, MassMEP will be able to assist manufacturing companies in identifying additional opportunities for growth and employee retention.
Jack Healy, President of MassMEP stated, “It is a privilege to be chosen to assist the Defense Supplier Network in our state in this endeavor. The variety and unique range of technologies provided by enterprises within this network make it imperative that we help them to competitively position their firms for a future of diminishing defense funding.”