Garafano: Pandemic Support for Manufacturers in Arizona

Manufacturing is a major engine of Arizona’s economy. The industry employs around 177,500 people in more than 5,000 factories in our state.

Under the leadership of Governor Ducey, we have seen a tremendous increase in manufacturing activity in Arizona. In 2020, Arizona saw the strongest manufacturing job growth in 30 years, outpacing construction jobs created in our state. In 2019, manufacturing contributed $ 56.6 billion to Arizona’s gross domestic product. In Pinal County alone, manufacturing employment growth rose 19% from 2015 to 2019 – jobs that pay an average wage of more than $ 57,000 a year.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, we aim to increase the momentum.

The Arizona Manufacturing Extension Partnership (AZ MEP) of the Arizona Commerce Authority is providing support in the form of low-cost services to manufacturers in Arizona affected by the pandemic. The subsidized services are made possible through a one-time allocation under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The funds granted to AZ MEP support its programs to assist manufacturers in addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic. And these challenges are far-reaching.

Manufacturers have faced disruptions in the supply chain, declining customer demand and increasing cash flow, cybersecurity risks and human resource issues. Many companies need help with strategic planning and identification of new markets. Others benefit from support with lean manufacturing and continuous improvement measures.

The pandemic has created a situation where all companies can benefit from an objective perspective – expertise that may not be available in-house – and best practices implemented by other companies to improve the health of their businesses.

In addition, many manufacturers have stepped up to help fight the pandemic and shift operations to the manufacture of personal protective equipment and other necessary consumables. Support is also available to these companies.

The program is open to manufacturers across the state and will be available through June 30, 2021.

No one could have foreseen the effects of the pandemic, but we can work together to mitigate its effects and help companies recover and move forward. With the help of our federal partners, AZ MEP is ready to help Arizona manufacturers and keep our industry healthy.

For more information on the Arizona Representative’s Emergency Relief Program, visit azcommerce.com.

David Garafano is senior vice president of manufacturing programs for the Arizona Commerce Authority and executive director of AZ MEP.

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