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June 28, 2015 – Telegram.com, By Susan Gonsalves

WORCESTER – The Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, an organization headquartered in Worcester that assists companies in overcoming strategic, operational and workforce challenges, was recently awarded a $400,000 grant from MassDevelopment, an economic development and finance agency.

The grant’s purpose is to develop a strategy that creates an economic base less dependent on defense contracting in the wake of federal budget cuts and sequestration.

The project is funded by the federal Office of Economic Adjustment and part of a $1.5 million MassDevelopment's Department of Defense grant.

MassMEP President Jack Healy said the organization recently started a comprehensive economic diversification study that is expected to be completed in March 2016.

He said a large number of manufacturers providing critical systems to the defense industry will have a problem surviving when those customers diminish.

Part of MassMEP’s role will be to help companies reposition their defense-related products to commercial applications. Toward that end, it will provide the necessary training for that transfer to a “commercial mode.”

In addition, the grant will expand an initiative whereby undergraduates from Worcester Polytechnic Institute teach a training curriculum to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

Of the about 87,000 jobs in the state supported by the defense industry, 43,000 are “direct jobs,” Mr. Healy said. The 87,000 positions do not include research and development or Small Business Innovation Research grant jobs.

 

The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.