Publication Date

8-16-2022

Series

Upjohn Institute working paper ; 22-371

DOI

10.17848/wp22-371

Abstract

As the U.S. economy rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic, strategies that promote long-term transformation toward high-quality jobs will be critical. This includes workplace-improving interventions that enable employers to upgrade existing jobs, often while enhancing their own competitive position. This paper focuses on the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a national network of federally funded centers that support small and medium-sized manufacturing firms. We document the range of workforce- and workplace-enhancing strategies that MEP centers have adopted since the network’s inception in the mid-1990s. While workforce development is unevenly implemented across today’s MEP network, leading centers within the network are devising transformative strategies that shape underlying business practices in ways that can improve the quality of front-line manufacturing jobs. The pandemic recovery, along with federal commitment to reenergize domestic supply chains, presents an opportunity to establish NIST-MEP as a national workforce-development leader while also strengthening localized institutional partnerships to center that effort on inclusive economic development and recovery.

Issue Date

August 2022

Note

Upjohn project #58000

Sponsorship

College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina Policy Collaboratory, North Carolina Coronavirus Relief Fund, and the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research Investing in Community Small Grant Program 20-58159-01

Subject Areas

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT; Industry studies; WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

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Citation

Lowe, Nichola, Greg Schrock, Matthew D. Wilson, Rumana Rabbani, and Allison Forbes. 2022. "Centering Work: Integration and Diffusion of Workforce Development within the U.S. Manufacturing Extension Network." Upjohn Institute Working Paper 22-371. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. https://doi.org/10.17848/wp22-371