BATON ROUGE – In September of this year, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana (MEP of Louisiana) was awarded a $1 million two-year grant through the United States Department of Commerce. The Louisiana Hurricane Harvey Manufacturing Disaster Assessment Program was awarded to help the MEP of Louisiana identify and provide recovery support to small and medium-sized manufacturers who are suffering from physical damage to their facilities, labor shortages, and other disruptions caused by the storm and flooding. The funds will be used for manufacturing clients in the following 12 disaster-declared parishes: Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine, Vermilion, and Vernon.
    Community Forums have been scheduled in each of the 12 disaster-declared parishes to understand manufacturing impact as well as affected area needs. The events are free to attend. Smaller manufacturers are often important suppliers in vital national supply chains. Helping them recover quickly by systematically assessing their needs and constraints could limit the repercussions felt up and down the supply chain and across the country. The MEP of Louisiana will help identify obstacles keeping affected manufacturers from returning to normal operations and help them develop plans to recover.
    Through various assessment tools, the MEP of Louisiana will select and focus on manufacturers located in these 12 parishes that have experienced some damage and are rebuilding, manufacturers who have had disruptions to their supply chain and distribution channels, and manufacturers unaffected initially by hurricanes, but who expect impact within one year due to short term and long term employee, customer or supply chain adverse impacts. For impacted manufacturers that are interested and selected, the MEP of Louisiana will provide business assessment and evaluation services to assist manufacturers that can include a review and recommendations related to all aspects of the manufacturing operation, including business practices, customer retention and expansion, quality certifications, cybersecurity, product line enhancements, manufacturing workflow optimization, and process automation.
    The MEP of Louisiana is a partner of the National Institute of Standards and Technology as well as a national network of Manufacturing Extension Partnerships based in every state. The MEP of Louisiana is operated by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) and provides a full range of services to manufacturers, including growth and cost-reduction strategies, website development and branding, process and quality improvement, engineering and prototyping, facility layout, and leadership training. All activities are focused on increasing productivity, profitability, and manufacturing success. A key mission of the MEP of Louisiana is to connect manufacturers to workforce development services offered by the 13 LCTCS colleges located in every region of the state.
    If you are a manufacturer located in one of these 12 disaster-declared parishes, please visit to find a Hurricane Harvey Community Forum taking place in your affected area. You can register for these events by emailing with your name and company information.
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