The Arizona Commerce Authority and the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation inked cooperative agreements to serve small- and mid-size manufacturers in their respective states with National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program. MEP centers are public-private partnerships with annual funding from a mix of sources that serve manufacturers in their area.

The NIST award for Arizona Commerce Authority provides $1 million, which is half of the center’s operating budget for the first year. Arizona is home to more than 4,300 manufacturers, 95 percent of which have fewer than 100 employees, and only 29 employ more than 500 people. Among the state’s top manufactured goods are computer and electronic equipment, electronic components, transportation equipment and chemicals.

Rhode Island is the country’s smallest state but has a densely populated and industrialized region. The NIST award for the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation provides $750,000, which is half of the center’s operating budget for the first year. Primary industries in Rhode Island include jewelry manufacturing, electronics, metal, plastics, and boat/ship construction.