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May 01, 2020

Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Stevens Holds Bipartisan Teleconference on NIST Manufacturing Programs and COVID-19 Response and Recovery

(Washington, DC) – Yesterday afternoon, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research & Technology held a bipartisan teleconference with Mr. Mike Molnar, Director of the Office of Advanced Manufacturing at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Ms. Carroll Thomas, Director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership at NIST, to understand how these programs are helping to support and mobilize manufacturers during the during the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, including through the production of PPE, vaccines, and other essential medical supplies.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed deep vulnerabilities in our nation’s critical manufacturing sector,” said Chairwoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology. “In this time of great need, NIST’s Manufacturing USA program and Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers are stepping up to the challenge of assisting small and medium manufacturers who are at the front lines of producing the medical equipment we so badly need to respond to the monumental challenge before us. After leading the reauthorization of the Manufacturing USA program last year, I will continue to champion this essential program moving forward as we look to the manufacturing sector to rebuild our economy and protect us from future vulnerabilities in our supply chain.”

The Members and Directors Molnar and Thomas discussed how the Manufacturing USA program and MEP centers are spending funding they received under the CARES Act; the immediate needs of manufacturers looking to contribute to COVID-19 response, and how these NIST programs are meeting these needs; the immediate and long-term impacts on the U.S. supply chain due to the pandemic and what is needed to mitigate these impacts; how the manufacturing workforce is being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and how Manufacturing USA workforce development programs and MEP centers are helping manufacturers manage workforce challenges; and how Manufacturing USA institutes and MEP centers are mobilizing small and medium manufacturers across the nation to respond to the COVID-19 health crisis by disseminating resources about federal programs and providing technical assistance.

“Americans’ basic needs have been dramatically altered during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “Our first responders, essential workers, and constituents are in dire need of personal protective equipment, medications, testing kits, and, eventually, a vaccine. With the assistance of NIST’s Manufacturing USA Program and Manufacturing Extension Partnership, small- and medium-sized manufactures are filling a critical role to address the needs of the American people during this pandemic. I applaud NIST’s manufacturing programs for stepping up to the challenge of providing essential support and services in these trying times.”