FALL RIVER – Governor Charlie Baker today toured Merrow Manufacturing in Fall River, an 8th generation family-owned and -operated company participating in the Administration’s Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (M-ERT). This initiative assists local manufacturers in transitioning operations to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical items needed to support the Commonwealth’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
According to Merrow, the partnership with the M-ERT has allowed the company to scale its diverse manufacturing operations to become the largest manufacturer of USA-sourced PPE reusable and disposable medical isolation gowns in the country. This collaboration is projected to produce 650,000 gowns per week by July 2020, establishing a new, substantial, and secure supply chain for essential medical products nationwide. Their operations have also pivoted to produce surgical caps, gaiters, and pillowcases.
In addition to providing essential PPE for frontline medical workers battling COVID-19, Merrow Manufacturing’s M-ERT efforts have so far created 41 new manufacturing jobs for local workers, employing 1,200 total to build Merrow PPE products across all of their factories, and estimate the company will invest approximately $5 million into the City of Fall River this year.
About the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (M-ERT): The M-ERT is a coordinated response by the Baker-Polito Administration and leading academic and industry stakeholders to support the Commonwealth’s manufacturers in their efforts to produce much-needed supplies for front-line workers and the health care system. Members of the M-ERT include representatives from Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), MIT, MIT Lincoln Labs, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP), Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), and other industry partners.
The M-ERT also launched $10.6 million in new funding to help manufacturers scale their operations to produce PPE and other critical items. Companies can apply for grants through an online form for equipment, materials, supplies, workforce training, and other needs. A Review Committee will process applications based on criteria including production timeline and recommend grant awards.
To date, 667 companies in total have reached out to participate in the M-ERT initiative, including 424 from Massachusetts.