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Trade Adjustment Assistance Funds for Manufacturers

April 20, 2020

Financial assistance may be available for manufacturers affected by import competition. The program is not new, but the timing may be right to put it to use. The application process starts in July so the time to start is now.

Program Overview 

The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program is a federal grant sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce providing financial assistance to manufacturers affected by import competition.  Funds can be used to pay for 50%-75% the cost of consultants or industry-specific experts ranging from financial and general management, process improvement, technology implementation, and more, to strengthen operations and sharpen competitiveness.  The TAA program is managed by eleven non-profit organizations, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers (TAACs).  TAACs are funded by the US Department of Commerce and organized by region.  

Eligibility Requirements

  1. The company has to be a manufacturer.
  2. The company must have experienced 5% or more in declines in both sales and headcounts over a 24-month lookback period or comparative interim periods such as year-over-year or period-over-period.
  3. The decline can apply to the entire company or a specific product line. 
  4. Business impacted mainly, but not limited to, import competition.  

If you think you may qualify, complete the Excel Qualification Workbook and we will work with the TAAC to make an initial assessment of eligibility.

FAQs 

Are only companies seriously affected by imports able to participate? 

Direct foreign competition is an important factor, but it is not the only determining factor for qualification.  . 

What aspects of an improvement project are included? 

TAA covers 50%-75% the cost of outside consulting services or other industry-specific experts. 

Is there anything that the funds cannot be used for?

Funds cannot be used for capital expenditures such as equipment, buildings, or salaries. 

How much TAA can a company expect to receive? 

The regional TAAC determines the levels of assistance after reviewing a variety of factors, including but not limited to, the size of the company, nature of the proposed projects, and availability of program funds. The maximum limit is $150,000 in total project costs, with a TAA share not to exceed $75,000 per project. 

How will the TAA grant be provided to a qualified company? 

Typically the regional TAAC pays the portion of the consulting services being covered by the grant directly to the consultant(s) on behalf of the company. 

Who chooses the consultant? 

The company generally chooses the consultant with concurrence from the regional TAAC. 

Is a company limited to one project? 

No. Most companies receive a TAA grant for more than one project, depending on the nature and cost of each project.   

Is there a comprehensive list of projects that are eligible for a TAA grant?   

The purpose of the grant is to help improve a manufacturer's overall competitiveness, therefore the grant can be applied towards various aspects of the business, not just the import impacted areas of the business.  For example, some of the specific solutions MarksNelson provides that would be included are strategic planning; advisory services to improve financial performance; budgeting, cash management, and cost management; enhancing manufacturing processes including engineering and quality; technology upgrades; succession planning; and more. MarksNelson offers business advisory solutions that may help lead your manufacturing business on your new path forward. 

How to Apply

The program was created so that a firm applies on behalf of the manufacturer. The process takes approximately four months from application to approval, there are limited opportunities, and the next application session begins in July. If you are interested, we can help. Simply request and complete the Excel Qualification Workbook and we will work with you and TAAC personnel to prepare the application on your behalf. 

If you are additionally interested in learning more about any of our advisory services, call us at (816) 743-7700 or send us an email.