The Baker-Polito Administration today announced a new initiative and over $10 million in funding to support manufacturers’ efforts to pivot production operations to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical devices, such as ventilators, sanitizers, and thermometers. To make this announcement, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito today were joined by the Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kenneally, MassTech Collaborative CEO Carolyn Kirk and Brenna Schneider, CEO of 99Degrees, a Lawrence-based performance activewear manufacturing firm that has begun manufacturing gowns for health care workers.
Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (M-ERT):The M-ERT is a coordinated response by the Baker-Polito Administration and leading academic and industry stakeholders to support the Commonwealth’s manufacturers in their efforts to produce much-needed supplies for front-line workers and the health care system. Members of the M-ERT include representatives from: Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), MIT, MIT Lincoln Labs, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP), Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), and other industry partners.
The M-ERT is being launched alongside $10.6 million in new funding to help manufacturers scale their operations to produce PPE and other critical items. Companies can apply for grants through an online form for equipment, materials, supplies, workforce training and other needs. A Review Committee will process applications based on criteria including production timeline and recommend grant awards.
MassTech and AFFOA (Advanced Functional Fabrics of America), a member of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes based in Cambridge, will administer $5.6 million in funds through the existing Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Institute (M2I2) program. Another $4 million has been made available through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), with an additional $1 million for workforce training contributed by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and the Commonwealth Corporation through the existing Workforce Training Fund Program (WTFP).
In addition to this funding, the M-ERT will offer other assistance to manufacturers, including:
- Understanding what PPE and COVID-19 related materials are of highest priority to produce;
- Regulatory compliance, including insight into FDA guidance;
- Addressing specifications and testing that is necessary, and identifying in-state test centers;
- Retraining workers on new production lines and standards; and
- Sharing design and CAD files for critical items.
The Baker-Polito Administration will continue to update the public on developments related to COVID-19. Residents can visit www.mass.gov/covid19 for the latest information, call 2-1-1 with questions, and subscribe to text-alerts by texting “COVIDMA” or “COVIDMAESP” (for Spanish alerts) to 888-777.