MANUFACTURING EXTENSION PARTNERSHIP
Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, since 2001 America has lost 2.5 million manufacturing jobs, eroding an industry that was once the pride of the United States. Manufacturing represents the cornerstone of our economy and the best in American values. It creates the cars we drive to work, the computers our children use to learn, and the household appliances we use each day. I rise today to talk about the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, MEP, one of the few Federal programs that has provided tangible assistance to the manufacturing sector, keeping companies in business and retaining jobs.
MEP is a public-private partnership working with small and medium sized manufacturers, helping them streamline operations, integrate new technologies, shorten production times, and lower costs. MEP clients surveyed in fiscal year 2004 reported 43,600 jobs created or retained and $1.889 billion in additional sales.
In Wisconsin, where manufacturing employs 512,000 people and contributes 22 percent of the State's gross product, MEP has assisted 1,700 small and medium sized manufacturers to improve their productivity and profitability. One example is the Jor-Mac Company, a metal fabrication company in Grafton, WI, which was beset by fierce Chinese competitors. After working with MEP, Jor-Mac improved its production efficiency, increasing sales by $5 million.
Since its inception in 1988, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership has been an invaluable resource to manufacturers. Without strong Federal support, MEP will be unable to maintain its mission of serving America's small manufacturers. At a time when we want to increase economic activity, expand U.S. exports, and strengthen the manufacturing base of our Nation, MEP is a fiscally sound investment of Federal resources.