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Connection Point Among Talent Partners Awarded $2.19 Million Grant to Grow Regional Contract Manufacturing Base in Southeast Michigan

DETROIT, October 11, 2012 – The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Connection Point is among partners including the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences and Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) that were recently awarded $2.19 million over three years through the federal Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge for Advanced Manufacturing.  The funding will support development of the “Innovation Realization Cluster” of Southeast Michigan and connect local businesses with new opportunities in an effort to foster growth and development of the region’s custom-manufacturing base

“Winning this grant reflects this region’s ability to collaborate, its manufacturing capabilities and its unparalleled innovative capacity,” said Benjamin Erulkar, senior vice president of economic development for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “This grant will boost Connection Point’s continued efforts to help Michigan companies pursue and obtain business across new markets and industries.”

Funds will allow partner recipients to identify and connect small-to-medium manufacturing firms that can support lower-volume, rapid-production, highly custom projects.  For example, companies will be better poised to help entrepreneurial firms that develop new concepts to produce prototypes and initial runs of those products without necessarily going into high-volume production.  Partners will work with companies to develop their capacity to accommodate and promote such contracts, arrange partnerships to bid and work on such opportunities, and train workers in custom manufacturing processes, including rapid machine set-up, prototyping, and related skillsets.

“A growing number of manufacturing firms are, or are open to, making a business of producing new things, as well as supporting other companies in doing so,” explained Lisa Katz, executive director of WIN. “Each partner organization will play a critical role in addressing challenges that prevent these employers from starting, growing, or transforming their business.”

Mike Finney, president & CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corporation added, “Hundreds of manufacturing firms in Southeast Michigan are well-positioned to grow their businesses into this space. We can support innovative firms by teaching new processes and entering new markets.”

In addition to the federal funds, the state of Michigan will provide $500,000 through the MI Match program.  Other key supporting partners include the members of the Business Accelerator Network of SE Michigan (BANSEM), University of Michigan, and Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

The Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge for Advanced Manufacturing is funded by five federal agencies: Economic Development Administration, Employment & Training Administration, Small Business Administration, Department of Energy, and National Institute of Science & Technology.

Detroit Regional Chamber’s Connection Point  With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three-quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. As part of the Chamber’s economic development portfolio, Connection Point links Michigan companies to global and local purchasers in new markets. Connection Point uncovers and develops procurement and R&D opportunities that diversify the customer bases of Michigan companies and creates sustained economic growth. The Connection Point program is funded by a grant through the Economic Development Administration, which operates as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) is an affiliate of the NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program. MMTC’s focus is on business development, cost reduction, and quality improvement in manufacturing companies with fewer than 500 employees, with an emphasis on those with 20-249 – large enough to need effective, repeatable processes but too small to be well-served by the for-profit consulting sector. Each year, MMTC helps 200-300 Michigan manufacturers through training, consulting, and management mentoring. The MMTC is funded by NIST MEP, the MEDC, and its industry clients.

NCMS  The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, the largest cross industry collaborative Research & Development consortium in North America, is dedicated to driving innovation in commercial, defense, robotics and environmentally sustainable manufacturing. NCMS has over 25 years of experience in the formation and management of complex, multi-partner collaborative R&D programs, and is backed by corporate members representing virtually every manufacturing sector. For more information on NCMS, visit

WIN is a collaborative effort between eight community colleges, seven Michigan Works! Agencies, and various other academic, economic development, and other partners.  Its mission is to help Southeast Michigan businesses find the talent they need for success.  WIN accomplishes this using labor market intelligence, providing custom solutions for employers, and promoting innovative policy and practice.  For more information on WIN visit

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