By Ryan Mapes
Business Program Leader
The Ohio State University South Centers is currently serving as the Southeast Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) lead affiliate through September 30, 2019.
Our team recently submitted a proposal to continue serving as the lead MEP affiliate for Subregion 1, plus several contingent counties for the years 2020 and 2021. Counties requested to service are as follows: Adams, Athens, Gallia, Guernsey, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington.
The primary goal of the program is to accelerate the growth of over 500 regional manufacturers identified as small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises (SMMEs) within the region. In addition to providing growth advisory services, MEP at OSU South Centers will leverage Ohio State’s resources and relationships to create a robust support network.
The MEP at South Centers has identified the five largest manufacturing clusters within the Southeast region: food, wood products, polymer and chemical, primary metals, and automotive supply chain. The MEP at South Centers will develop targeted services by data gained directly from regional companies to address NIST’s Next Generation Strategy Initiatives of continuous improvement, technology acceleration, supply chain optimization, sustainability, and workforce development.
The program will also will work closely with the other five Ohio MEP organizations to provide SMMEs with access to numerous resources and facilities throughout the region and state, as well being a conduit to such resources as The Ohio Manufacturing Institute, the Robert C. Byrd Institute, Shawnee State University, and third-party consultants. The program will create a regional network of resources for client companies that is closely integrated with economic development organizations and business service providers, as well as academic institutions, in order to exponentially increase impact in providing resources to SMMEs.
The MEP at South Centers will employ growth advisers to work with manufacturing leaders across the region to solve businesses’ issues and improve the economic competitiveness of the small and mid-sized manufacturing base. These growth advisers will provide one-on-one consultation for clients, get to know and understand the client’s business and needs, and serve as conduits to relevant and qualified resources and providers to meet those needs.