CIS Benefits State Manufacturers During COVID-19

The UT Center for Industrial Services (CIS) will receive federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to expand services to manufacturers. CIS will directly contact over 1,500 manufacturers across the state to gather information on the impact of COVID-19 on operations, workforce, sales and needs.

CIS will help companies identify their technical assistance needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic; and will use CARES funding to provide these services to a limited number of manufacturers at no cost to them.  Potential services could include: back-to-work safety planning, supply chain risk mitigation, workforce systems, process improvement, and other topics that address specific company needs.    

“Manufacturing is more important than ever during these challenging times.  We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to help manufacturers adopt proven business solutions and keep their workforce safe,” says CIS executive director Paul Jennings. 

CIS is receiving CARES Act funding because of our longstanding partnership with the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership. CIS has housed Tennessee’s MEP since 1994. 

Also, CIS has been able to support businesses and communities across Tennessee through reduced-fee technical assistance during COVID-19.

A grant CIS received in 2019 has allowed the agency to provide technical assistance to four Tennessee food manufacturers at no cost. The environmental management and energy efficiency experts at CIS have worked with these food manufacturers across the state to identify environmental and energy savings opportunities at their facilities. The CIS team believes that by identifying these opportunities, the manufacturer can make project investment decisions that improve wastewater operations, increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

In addition to this service, the CIS Health, Safety and Emergency Preparedness team is offering no cost, virtual consultations with manufacturers to discuss strategies and plans for creating and implementing customized COVID-19 preparedness and response plans. The agency’s Health, Safety, and Emergency Preparedness consulting team is staffed with safety and health professionals with training in emergency preparedness and backgrounds in plant safety and health.

CIS is committed to ensuring that manufacturing businesses in Tennessee get the assistance they need during this challenging time. Each consultation covers how to develop a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, strategies for business continuity and guidance on effective disinfection strategies for manufacturing plants.