A comparison of TAA, MEP and SBDC Programs*

* The Urban Institute, "An Evaluation of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program", November 1998.

The evaluation of the TAA program conducted by the Urban Institute for the Department of Commerce speaks for the success of the program.  Although the report is comprehensive and well documented with statistics, the below chart comparing federal manufacturing assistance programs clearly sums up the report. 

Program Trade Adjustment Assistance Center's (TAACs) Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs) Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
Types of Firms Assisted Declining manufacturing enterprises in trade- impacted industries. Small and medium- sized manufacturing enterprises. Small retail, service, manufacturing, and other businesses, often start-ups.
Scope of Assistance Comprehensive and in-depth Some in-depth and selective, others shallow and selective. Varies across MEPs. Shallow and selective.
Assistance Provider Private consultants. MEP staff (primarily) and private consultants. SBDC staff (primarily) and university staff.
Time to Get Assistance Six to eight months for certification and AP approval. Less than one month; no certification or AP Less than one month; no certification or AP
Program Leverage 70:30 federal to private (small projects) 50:50 (large projects) 30:70 federal to state/private. 50:50 federal to state/university/ private.
Control Firm matches funding and selects provider. Firm pays fee for offered service from preselected provider. Preselected provider services are free to firm.
Geographic Coverage Multistate Substate Substate
(FY 1998)
$11 million ($1.5 million from Defense Adjustment) $114 million $75 million



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