The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a national network of specialists who assist U.S. manufacturers, has designated the Advanced Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) at Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) as an MEP center. AIM will provide business and technical development, manufacturing training and instruction, and certification-related services to manufacturers in a six-county region that include Oneida, Herkimer, Fulton, Montgomery, Schoharie, and Otsego counties.
Since 1988, the MEP system has been strengthening manufacturing in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. New York State is home to 10 MEP centers that have regional designations and an 11th MEP center, FuzeHub, which connects manufacturers to statewide resources. Funding for NYS MEP centers is provided by multi-year grants from Empire State Development’s (ESD) Division of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI), and by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) MEP program.
Quality, Safety, and Cybersecurity
In an interview with FuzeHub, AIM Director Cory Albrecht described the new MEP center’s mission, opportunities, and challenges. Albrecht, a former business development manager and vice president for Mohawk Valley Applied Technical Corporation (MVATC), become AIM’s full-time director in April. The transition from MVATC to AIM was “a natural one”, he said, as AIM will deliver “all of the typical core MEP services”. These include lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, and ISO-certification programs; environmental compliance, food safety, and OSHA training; and strategic business services.
In addition, Albrecht says, AIM will provide cybersecurity programs for small manufacturers. According to Fortinet and as reported by FuzeHub, hackers launched 8.63 million cyberattacks against 59 manufacturers from October 1, 2015 to April 30, 2016. Most of these attacks targeted larger firms, but smaller manufacturers also need to prepare. Locally, the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council (MVREDC) has designated cybersecurity as a key focus. AIM will help manufacturers to leverage the region’s university and private-sector resources in this area.
Supply Chain Development
“The economy of the Mohawk Valley is changing for the better,” Albrecht says, and the Marcy Nanocenter holds great promise for local and regional manufacturers who become part of the semiconductor supply chain. Located at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Marcy, the 450-acre site is already home to ams AG, a leading global semiconductor manufacturer. The balance of the world’s largest shovel-ready semiconductor site is being developed for additional semiconductor manufacturing facilities.
For local companies who want to engage these large manufacturers, obtaining quality certifications and implementing process improvements can be critical. “We need to prepare our small and medium manufacturers for the process of entering the supply chain for major technology companies,” Albrecht explains. “Our job at AIM,” he adds, “is to educate and train them so that they have an opportunity.” Part of that job may involve answering questions about cleanroom requirements and available technologies.
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