COVID-19 Better Together

COVID-19 Better Together

  • On March 20, 2020

Better Together

By Lisa Derby Oden

Challenging times call for adjusting, creating and exploring new ways for doing business. MassMEP is here to provide assistance and resources as we all make our way through this uncharted territory of COVID 19. As trusted advisors to the manufacturing ecosystem in Massachusetts, we offer you these ideas for weathering these rocky waters.

1) Supply chain disruption: Are you having a hard time getting the supplies that you need? MassMEP is part of a nationwide network of 51 MEP centers. As part of that system, we have access to supplier matchmaking and can provide connections to solve your disruption.

2) Cybersecurity: As organizations and individuals world-wide take to the internet, hackers and malware and virus infectors will have greater opportunity for adding to the chaos. MassMEP offers cybersecurity assessments and training for your protection, provide you with DFARS 800-171 compliance, as well as prepare you for a CMMC audit. Contact Tom Andrellos at toma@massmep.

3) Workforce Training Strategies: When business gets slow, it is a good time to do the training that you know you can benefit from. We can help you discuss and plan a strategy, prepare a Workforce Training Fund Grant, and then implement training. We can conduct much of our training via webinars and virtual training. Training during these times can provide you a jump start as we come through this, as well as help keep your employees working. Contact Jim Gusha at to get started.

4) Critical Skills Assessment: Even before COVID 19, manufacturers were having difficulty training their workforce to take on the business and technology challenges they currently face. It is even harder if you are a small manufacturer with less than 100 people. Questions that arise are:

  • Who should we train?
  • What should we train them in?
  • What kind of financial return can we expect?

Questions such as these often leave small companies overwhelmed to the point where they end up doing nothing. MassMEP, Polaris (RI) MEP and FloridaMakes are currently working on a simple Microsoft Excel tool that creates a series of indexed metrics that PREDICT the economic impact of training specific individuals in your organization. The project is part of a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) grant to develop tools to assist small and medium sized manufacturers. How long is the assessment? For a company of 50 people the data collection only takes about three hours. Since the assessment is in its testing stages, it is available at no cost to your company. We will provide you with a report of our training recommendations and explain the metrics that we have developed. Contact Leslie Parady at

5) ToolingU: The MEP network has a partnership with Tooling U-SME that provides you with special pricing when purchased through MassMEP. A leading provider of online manufacturing training, Tooling U-SME is working with organizations across the country educating employees in a multitude of manufacturing programs such as machining, industrial maintenance/mechatronics, welding and additive manufacturing. Their online courses are industry-recognized and provide foundation knowledge that is a great combination with on-the-job training. Because Tooling U-SME courses are online this may be an option for employees that are working remotely or are taking time off to be home due to family needs. There is also a user-friendly app available for tablets and phones so classes can be taken anywhere. Contact Leslie Parady at for a ToolingU Catalog of classes or to sign up and get started.

How are you adjusting to the current environment? Let us know so we can share ideas – we are better together. Questions about other issues? Contact us at 508-831-7020 – we are innovating daily.