Press Release: 2020-05-22

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grants to Boost Production of Personal Protective Equipment, Critical Supplies in Massachusetts to Support COVID-19 Response

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grants to Boost Production of Personal Protective Equipment, Critical Supplies in Massachusetts to Support COVID-19 Response

More than $9.5 Million Awarded Statewide to Participating M-ERT Manufacturers, Research Organizations

 

BOSTON - May 21, 2020 —Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced more than $9.5 million in grants to boost production of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical materials needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Reopening Massachusetts plan. The new awards were made through the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (M-ERT) to 15 grantees, including Massachusetts manufacturers, that are producing needed items such as masks, gowns, ventilators, swabs, and testing materials, and the capacity to test them.

Thirteen of the grant recipients are producing masks (surgical and N95), gowns, ventilators, swabs, and transport media, while the other two are involved with the testing of products produced by M-ERT partners and others to gain FDA approval. Funding was made available for equipment, working capital, materials and workforce development through a competitive application process. Grant applications continue to be considered on a rolling basis.

“Given the demand for materials and protective equipment critical to combating COVID-19, these grants provide the necessary support the Commonwealth’s manufacturers need to pivot operations and increase capacity to meet that demand,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “As we continue to fight this virus, this production will support front-line workers and help facilitate our phased approach to reopen Massachusetts.”

“Thanks to both M-ERT and these grants, we can both provide important technical assistance and unlock the potential within our manufacturing industry to produce these necessary supplies and equipment,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are grateful to the grant recipients, located in communities from the Berkshires to the Merrimack Valley, for their willingness to step up and strengthen our efforts to fight this virus.”

“These grants, which leverage important manufacturing capacity, will result in the production and testing of materials that are critical to our roadmap that outlines a phased approach to reopening Massachusetts safely and carefully,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “As we enter the beginning of the first phase of the reopening process, success will rely in part on the availability of key supplies and materials necessary for businesses and activities to resume safely, while protecting the progress we’ve already made in containing the spread of COVID-19.”

“Our focus has always been on the workers and businesses of Massachusetts, whether the medical professionals fighting this pandemic, the manufacturers supporting that effort, or anyone whose livelihood is at risk because of COVID-19," said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. "We will remain unceasing in our efforts to build Massachusetts’ resiliency, both health-wise and economically, so that the Commonwealth can safely recover from impact of the coronavirus.”

The M-ERT is a coordinated effort comprised of members from academia, industry, and government to address the urgent need for PPE to support healthcare workers on the front-lines of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 response. Today’s awards are part of $10.6 million in funding announced last month, and are made possible through a partnership between the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech), Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), Commonwealth Corporation, and the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2).

Managed by MassTech, the quasi-public economic development agency that oversees advanced manufacturing programs for the Commonwealth, the M-ERT was devised as an emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to assist manufacturers in targeted ways as the demand for PPE continues. The agency recently launched a new website that profiles nearly 20 Massachusetts manufacturers that have shifted operations.

“Experts from our manufacturing community, healthcare systems, and universities came together in early March to address this crisis head-on, helping numerous companies pivot their operations and get critical masks, gowns, face shields, and other necessary items into the hands of our frontline workers,” said Carolyn Kirk, executive director of MassTech. “With these new awards, we’re boosting the ability of our homegrown manufacturers to produce even more of these critical products, allowing them to meet the continued demand here in Massachusetts and beyond.”

“Our 'Made in MA' manufacturers continue to step up to make the necessary operational pivots and expansions to make this equipment that is critical to the COVID-19 response,” said Timothy J. McGourthy, interim president and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. “The MLSC is proud to be part of a collaborative effort that leverages the Commonwealth’s manufacturing strength and academic expertise to enable a continuous flow of PPE to our medical professionals.”

“Our grant programs are designed to provide workers with the skills they need for lifelong careers, but today they’re providing a lifeline to our dedicated frontline workers. We’re grateful that we can assist in this critical effort, support manufacturers impacted by the pandemic, and bolster the stabilization of the Massachusetts economy now and as the state strategically reopens,” said Commonwealth Corporation CEO and President Christine Abrams.

“AFFOA is grateful for the opportunity to work with the M-ERT. The combination of clinical expertise coupled with the deep and broad manufacturing reach enabled the team to make significant impact in a very short amount of time,” said Sasha Stolyarov, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA). “I have no doubt that investments made by M-ERT and its manufacturing partners will not only help us get through this pandemic but will have lasting impact on our emergency preparedness as a state and as a nation.”