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Published May 20, 2022
A Wyoming program that helps manufacturers achieve success has been approved for five more years of federal funding.
Manufacturing Works, a partnership of the University of Wyoming, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Wyoming Business Council, recently received word that it would receive $600,000 annually over the next five years from NIST. Subsequently, NIST leaders added another $100,000 annual allocation each for Wyoming’s Manufacturing Works and other members of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) National Network, which has centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
MEP is administered by NIST, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“We’re delighted to receive approval for continued federal funding, which confirms that Manufacturing Works is a valued resource for manufacturing in Wyoming and has demonstrated excellence in pursuit of improving the economic performance of Wyoming’s manufacturers,” says Rocky Case, the center director for Manufacturing Works. “We’re excited to build upon the momentum we’ve built to support Wyoming manufacturers.”
Manufacturing Works promotes innovation, manufacturing and industrial competitiveness to build a stronger and more prosperous Wyoming through enhanced economic security and improved quality of life. Services to manufacturers include broad technical assistance, engineering solutions, general business assistance, marketing assistance and financial counseling.
Manufacturing Works is part of the Wyoming Business Resource Network, with offices in Laramie, Cheyenne, Casper, Sheridan and Afton. Other components of the Wyoming Business Resource Network include IMPACT 307; and the Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network, which includes the Wyoming Market Research Center, the Wyoming Procurement Technical Assistance Center and the Wyoming SBIR/STTR Initiative.
The efforts of the Business Resource Network are being supported and augmented by the Wyoming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which is under the umbrella of the Wyoming Innovation Partnership (WIP). WIP, created at the request of Gov. Mark Gordon in 2021 to modernize and focus Wyoming’s efforts to develop a resilient workforce and economy, involves UW, the state’s community colleges, the Wyoming Business Council and the Department of Workforce Services, with an emphasis on developing innovative solutions that support and enhance Wyoming’s economy, workforce and sources of revenue.
NIST’s approval for five more years of funding for Manufacturing Works came after a “secretarial review,” or an analysis of how the program is performing. Reviewers looked at metrics that include jobs created, investments in equipment and increases in sales reported by clients of Manufacturing Works.
“We’re very happy with what we’ve accomplished as a team with the support of other economic development efforts throughout the state,” says Case, who has led Manufacturing Works since June 2019. “We’re looking forward to growing out other services related to automation, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and cybersecurity. The world is in the midst of another industrial revolution now, and we’re working to bring Wyoming manufacturing into the 21st century.”