Governor Doyle: Announces $1.3 Million Investment in State’s Manufacturing Extension Partnerships

Ethnie Groves, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2156

Investment Will Leverage $6 Million In Federal Dollars

STEVENS POINT – Governor Jim Doyle announced today that he
will propose, as part of his next budget, a $1.3 million investment in the
state’s two Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEP) – The Wisconsin
Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Northwest Manufacturing Outreach
Center – to help improve the competitive position of Wisconsin’s
manufacturers. The announcement is the first in a series of initiatives the
Governor will outline in the coming weeks as he enters the next phase of his
“Grow Wisconsin” plan. Governor Doyle made the announcement at the
Donaldson Company in Stevens Point.

Wisconsin’s Manufacturing Extension Partnerships help small
and mid-size manufacturers increase productivity, adopt new technology, and
incorporate innovation in product and process. It is the only entity
specifically chartered by the state to advance manufacturing

“By fully funding the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships,
Wisconsin will see over $15 million in increased tax revenue for the state,
a return on investment of 10 to 1,” Governor Doyle said. “This investment in
manufacturing innovation will build a stronger economy, leverage federal
dollars, and protect manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin.”

The funding also ensures that Wisconsin will receive its
full share of federal funding to support manufacturing. The investment is
expected to leverage a total of $6 million in federal funds. Senator Herb
Kohl has also been instrumental in securing millions of federal dollars to
support this program.

Governor Doyle recognized the key role these centers will
play as manufacturing in Wisconsin transforms from large, vertically
integrated firms to smaller, flexible and faster supplier firms. Technology
and productivity improvements will mean that although fewer people are
directly employed in the assembly process, more people will be needed in the
service professions necessary to support production.

“These centers have a dramatic impact on accelerating the
manufacturing transformation across the state,” Governor Doyle said. “They
help manufacturers adopt new technology and incorporate innovation, helping
Wisconsin build on its traditional strengths to be a leader in the next
generation of manufacturing. ”

Wisconsin’s Manufacturing Extension Partnerships have
already had tremendous success. Even during a prolonged manufacturing
recession, in three years MEP-driven improvements have generated over $500
million in economic benefit, and created and retained nearly 3,000 jobs for
Wisconsin manufacturers and their communities.

“This investment is critical to the long term success and
competitiveness of our manufacturing industry,” Governor Doyle said. “I
hope the Legislature will recognize the importance of supporting our
manufacturing industry, and approve this funding in my budget.”

Governor Doyle also discussed his larger vision for
manufacturing in Wisconsin. He described the MEP initiative as part of a
broad effort to upgrade and expand Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry, with
an aggressive effort that harnesses the university, our technical colleges,
state government, and the private sector. He outlined a strategy that
included proposals for working with Wisconsin’s Technical College System,
focusing more state worker training dollars on manufacturing, supporting
labor-management initiatives, and continuing to aggressively market
Wisconsin exports to China, Japan, and the rest of the world.