September 21, 2016

United States Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews has announced that the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) is one of five centers nationally to win a grant, worth $1 million over two years, from NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). The grant program’s emphasis is on leveraging the expertise and assets of MEP centers for the benefit of small tech-based manufacturers. NCMEP will apply its grant toward cultivating the growth of PowerAmerica, the Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute headquartered at NC State University.

PowerAmerica is one of seven fully functional Manufacturing USA (formally NNMI) Institutes across the US; its mission is to develop advanced manufacturing processes enabling large-scale production of wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors, which allow power conversion systems to be smaller, faster and more efficient than power electronics made from silicon. WBG semiconductor technology increases efficiency in everything that uses a semiconductor, from industrial motors and household appliances to military satellites.

Under the auspices of its new NIST grant, NCMEP will work with PowerAmerica and its expanding network of project partners to grow the WBG semiconductor technology sector, accelerate the production of valuable goods and services and develop industry-led skills strategies.

Embedding a highly-trained engineer within PowerAmerica will be one of the first items of business for the NCMEP staff managing the grant. In addition to serving as a valuable technical resource, the engineer will lead outreach and project development nationally to small- and medium-sized manufacturers in market sectors, like renewable energy and innovative transport systems, where WBG semiconductors could have the most impact.

“We are excited to work more closely with PowerAmerica in order to ensure that the development of this new technology includes our nation’s smaller manufacturers.  With this work, we will also learn more about the other Manufacturing USA institutes and how they can benefit our NC manufacturers,” says NCMEP Director Phil Mintz.

By the close of 2018, Mintz says that he expects to see development of many advanced manufacturing projects between PowerAmerica and small to medium-sized enterprises across the US.


About NCMEP – The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) provides manufacturing extension services that enhance the productivity, innovative capacity, global competitiveness and technological performance of US-based manufacturing firms.

Contact: Teresa Bradford, Director of Marketing,