CIRAS + MEP = The National Network for Manufacturers

Writen by: Mike O’Donnell
CIRAS Program Manager

One of the promises CIRAS makes to our clients is that working with us brings you more than just our 500+ years of combined industry experience. Clients also get connected with CIRAS’ vast network of experts. Usually, this means one of our great partners or the service providers we work with in Iowa. But frequently, it means tapping into the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) National Network.

The MEP National Network is a public-private partnership of different-shaped centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. These 1,300 experts have deep backgrounds rooted in serving manufacturers. None are afraid to roll up their sleeves. In 2016, we combined to help more than 25,000 manufacturers and create an economic impact of more than $14 billion.

Many of you have already experienced the national network. If you’ve participated in CIRAS programs such as ExporTech, Technology Scouting, or Training Within Industry, you’ve benefited from programs developed across the network. CIRAS also regularly brings in MEP experts from other states to help in areas such as internet marketing, ISO, and food safety.

That’s only a portion of what’s coming.

The MEP National Network

Today is an unprecedented time in manufacturing. We’re experiencing a shortage of manufacturing talent as a new generation takes the reins. Major disruptive technologies are hitting the market, and global competition is fierce. CIRAS is doing everything possible to help, but we can’t do it alone.

While CIRAS is executing on technologies like digital manufacturing and metal additive, our trusted partners in places like Michigan and California are deploying new tools to implement cybersecurity. And right up the road in South Dakota, they’re testing new ways to integrate cobots in small manufacturing operations.

As change evolves, CIRAS will continue to bring you the best of what’s out there. The MEP National Network is just one way we’ll help you redefine what manufacturing means to the world.



> For more information, contact Mike O’Donnell at or 515-509-4379.


 A version of this article was published in the Fall 2017 edition of CIRAS News. To read more of that edition or others, please explore elsewhere on our website.