Frequently Asked Questions

What is an MEP?

Since 1988, the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has been committed to strengthening U.S. manufacturing, continually evolving to meet the changing needs of manufacturers. Through its services and partnerships, it has had a profound impact on the growth of well-paying jobs, the development of dynamic manufacturing communities, and the enhancement of American innovation and global competitiveness.

MEP’s strength is in its partnerships. Through its collaborations at the federal, state and local level, MEP puts manufacturers in position to develop new products and customers, expand into global markets, adopt new technology, reshore production, and more.  And because of its direct contact with manufacturers, MEP serves as a valuable bridge to other organizations that share a passion for enhancing the manufacturing community.

MEP’s strategic objective is to create value for all manufacturers, with a particular focus on small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs represent nearly 99% of manufacturing firms in the U.S. and form the essential fabric of the U.S. manufacturing infrastructure. MEP is able to provide this support to individual manufacturers through its nationwide network of local centers made up of teams of experts and business professionals.

As a public/private partnership, MEP delivers a high return on investment to taxpayers. For every one dollar of federal investment, the MEP generates $17 in new sales growth and $24 in new client investment. This translates into $2.3 billion in new sales annually. And, for every $1,900 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one manufacturing job. Since 1988, MEP has worked with 86,620 manufacturers, leading to $96.4 billion in sales and $15.7 billion in cost savings, and it has helped create and retain more than 797,994 jobs.

After more than 26 years, MEP continues to innovate, meeting the challenge of developing new programs, services, and partnerships to help manufacturers flourish in the 21st century. MEP is a part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a U.S. Department of Commerce agency.

How is SWAMC affiliated with MAKE?

MAKE is a program within the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference (SWAMC). SWAMC became Alaska’s MEP in January 2016.  SWAMC was incorporated in 1988 as a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation to encourage economic development in Southwest Alaska.  SWAMC is recognized as an Economic Development District (EDD) by Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce and as an Alaska Regional Development Organization (ARDOR) by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.

SWAMC believes with their established membership base, recognition as an economic development agency from Federal and State government, and nearly three decades of economic development accomplishments, that they will be able to contribute a strong infrastructure starting an MEP from the ground up.  Another investment SWAMC has is that over one-half of Alaska’s manufacturing jobs are located in the SWAMC region and most of these jobs are related to seafood and ocean products.

The MAKE program is complimentary to other SWAMC economic development initiatives to reduce energy costs, develop an able workforce for future employment, protect and expand fish and marine related jobs, and help create retain locally generated wealth to improve life within the region.   The eleven member SWAMC Board serves as the fiduciary body for the MAKE program and it has an established governance track record that places SWAMC on a secure financial footing.  

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