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Menendez, Booker announce $400K in federal funding for the NJ Manufacturing Extension Program

The U.S. Department of Commerce will provide services to expand existing capabilities and establish a supply chain intelligence network

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both-D-N.J.) announced a $400,000 National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) grant awarded to the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) based in Cedar Knolls, Morris County from the U.S. Department of Commerce NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program.

The grant enables the NJMEP to provide the technical assistance and optimization improvements to New Jersey’s small to mid-sized manufacturers while establishing a supply chain intelligence network for manufacturers in the state of New Jersey based on legislation the Senator successfully passed in Congress and which President Biden signed into law.

“As an integral part of the backbone of New Jersey’s economy, supporting manufacturers across the state creates a gateway for growing the state’s economy and providing New Jersey’s families and businesses with greater economic opportunity,” Menendez said. “With the $400,000 in federal funding, the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program will ensure that small and medium sized manufacturing companies remain connected to over 140,000 U.S. producers and suppliers, assisting companies and entrepreneurs across the state to innovate and thrive. I will continue to advocate for smart, cost-effective public-private partnerships that help create good paying jobs and pave the way for a prosperous future for New Jersey’s manufacturing industry.”

“This funding will empower NJMEP to support small- and medium-sized manufacturers in our state while strengthening domestic supply chains nationwide. I’m proud to see this federal investment in our manufacturing sector to create more resilience and growth in our supply chains,” Booker said.

“COVID-19 showed our country what happens when supply chains aren’t transparent. The United States felt tremendous pressure when borders closed, and state and federal governments couldn’t locate domestic manufacturers to support the country’s critical needs during the pandemic. Not only was PPE difficult to source, but private industry could not quickly pivot to finding new raw material suppliers. At the national level it was identified that progress had to be made to create a more resilient and transparent national supply chain,” said CEO of NJMEP, Peter Connolly. “NJMEP secured a grant to support NIST MEP’s effort of developing a National Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network here in New Jersey. NJMEP is utilizing these funds to bring on Supply Chain experts to the team, implement the latest supply chain technologies, and give New Jersey manufacturers access to these technologies at no cost for as long as possible. Manufacturers can start taking advantage of this network now and learn more about the benefits by visiting Without taking these steps, the country will not be ready for the next global disruption.”

With these funds, the NJMEP program will be able to:

  1. Provide support for national supplier scouting and optimization services to ensure every MEP supplier scouting request receives a response
  2. Use a national database to support MEP supplier scouting and optimization of 140,000+ U.S. manufacturers and suppliers that features in-depth search capacity based on production capabilities, processes, certifications, materials, industry sectors, and capability statements
  3. Strengthen internal personnel configurations to support the MEP with timely processing of all supplier scouting requests
  4. Prioritize supply chain optimization activity within industries most relevant to New Jersey, including wind, medical device manufacturing, and the Department of Defense supply chain, among others
  5. Increase awareness by New Jersey OEMs and manufacturers of the relevance and utility of the National Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network

As a long-standing supporter of the NJMEP, Sen. Menendez successfully secured the unanimous Senate passage of his National Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Supply Chain Database Actwhich President Biden subsequently signed into law. The law will help establish a national database with information about the interconnectivity of manufacturers in the United States supply chain.

The database will help prevent future supply chain disruptions by offering manufacturers key information as they make decisions on how to retool in critical areas to meet the demand for key products, such as defense supplies, food, and medical devices. In 2022, Sen. Menendez also joined with representatives of the NJMEP, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and other business leaders to discuss the CHIPS Act and urge its passage. The legislation provided $52 billion in subsidies to incentivize U.S. computer chip manufacturing and semiconductor production and decrease dependence on foreign manufacturers.

In 2017, Sens. Menendez and Booker announced a total of $3.7 million to the NJMEP in Cedar Knolls to help manufacturers in the state grow and compete in the marketplace. The grants were awarded through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program. MEP centers form a nationwide network of proven resources designed to assist small and mid-sized U.S. manufacturers create and retain jobs through innovative strategies, process improvements and green technology.

The NJMEP is a not-for-profit entity that was established in January 1996, with the USDOC’s approval, through the efforts of Dr. Saul Fenster, then President of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Dr. Donald Sebastian, Executive Director of the Center for Manufacturing Systems (CMS) at NJIT, and Dr. Jay Brandinger, then Director of the Commission on Science and Technology.

The NJMEP is one of 59 MEPs across the United States that is working to support the manufacturing sector by delivering technical and business assistance resulting in substantial savings and growth.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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