A Federally Funded Program
The Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) program is a federally funded, U.S. Department of Commerce, program that assists manufacturing companies impacted by foreign competition. Companies able to meet the program’s qualification criteria are eligible for a federal grant of up to $75,000 in matching funds that can be used to fund strategic initiatives targeted at improving overall competitiveness.
The program began in 1974 in response to increasing foreign competition in manufacturing; since then TAAF has helped thousands of companies across virtually every industry segment develop and implement turnaround plans. In recent years the combination of economic slowdown and unrelenting foreign competition has resulted in a high demand for TAAF assistance, with nearly 100 Rocky Mountain region manufacturers currently being assisted at various stages of the TAAF process.
The program is run out of regional offices across the country, with the Rocky Mountain region served by the Rocky Mountain Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (RMTAAC), located in Boulder. RMTAAC serves manufacturers in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. RMTAAC’s experienced business professionals guide interested firms through the qualification process, develop the customized turnaround plans and then lead the companies through business initiatives designed to help the companies compete more effectively and build a foundation for future growth.
TAAF is a 50/50 cost share program. The federal government assistance matches, dollar for dollar, the strategic investments companies make, up to the current limit of $75,000 per company. One restriction of the program is that the federal funds cannot be used to purchase capital goods or equipment. The federal dollars may be used for a wide range of projects to help companies develop the critical capabilities they need to compete in the global economy.
Typical TAAF Funded Initiatives
- Production: LEAN manufacturing consulting/training, automation system IT customization and integration, production facility layout optimization
- Marketing: Strategic marketing plans, sales team development and training, integrated internet marketing strategy: websites, search engine optimization, video/new media development, social media, new product market assessments
- Information Systems: ERP/MRP systems: selection, specification, customization, implementation
- Management: Management training, team building, succession planning
- Quality: Quality improvement program development, ISO9001/AS9100 consulting and registration
To qualify for the TAAF program, companies need meet three criteria that are evaluated in relation to two 12 months periods within a recent past 24 month time frame:
- Decline in average monthly employment
- Decline in company sales, either overall sales or a major product category (25% of sales)
- Import competition in company’s market category (evaluated by looking at import category data)
In the Rocky Mountain Region, companies interested in learning more about the benefits of and qualification to the TAAF program should contact Chris Stone at RMTAAF in Boulder. He can be reached via email at Chris Stone or you can call 303.506.8961.
learn more at the RMTAAF website