Stony Brook University on Wednesday unveiled a partnership with other colleges and nonprofit groups to help local manufacturers develop products and improve employees’ skills.

The university has created the Manufacturing and Technology Resource Consortium, or MTRC, to aid factories, particularly those that produce drugs, vitamins and medical devices.

The consortium is part of an effort to expand the biotechnology industry, which is a priority of the region’s leaders.

The MTRC, opened in August, has recommended four businesses so far for funding out of 20 candidates. Most have ties to Stony Brook’s Center for Biotechnology.

The consortium has $1.3 million per year in federal and state money under the federal Manufacturing Extension Partnership program. The funds are expected to continue for 10 years.

“MEP has existed on Long Island since 1989 but [the consortium] is a totally new concept,” said MTRC director Jeffrey Saelens.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

“This is not an industrial trade association,” he told about 100 executives at a meeting on campus on Wednesday. “We have 11 program partners that provide the services to manufacturers.”

Saelens predicted most of the funding would go to businesses because the consortium will have only two employees. He said 50 percent of the money would be for product development and 25 percent for skills training of workers.

In addition to Stony Brook, the consortium’s partners include Farmingdale State College, Nassau Community College, New York Institute of Technology, St. Joseph’s College, Suffolk County Community College, and the Composite Prototyping Center in Plainview, a unit of the Long Island Forum for Technology, or LIFT.

Patricia Malone, director of Stony Brook’s Center for Corporate Education, said, “While the pharmaceutical industry will be a particular focus this is not exclusively about them. We want to assist those in aerospace, food, electronics and other manufacturing industries.”

Stony Brook follows LIFT in running the manufacturing program in Nassau and Suffolk counties. LIFT had been the designee for 26 years and now is being reorganized.

Barry Shorten, LIFT’s interim board chairman, said in an interview that the group hopes to provide services to factories that receive consortium funding.

Manufacturers interested in participating should contact the Small Business Development Center at Stony Brook at 631-632-9837.