Gov. Charlie Baker and State Sen. Karen Spilka listen to Alex Armento Image by Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald
Wearing a mask, Gov. Charlie Baker and State Sen. Karen Spilka listen to Alex Armento, president of MatTek Life Sciences on May 12 in Ashland. The company is making COVID-19 test kits and hand sanitizer.

By Steph Solis

Fifteen companies received state grants totaling $9.5 million to produce personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Baker administration announced the awards as part of the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team, which was created in April so manufacturers could stay open and help with the state’s COVID-19 response. The 15 recipients are making masks, gowns, ventilators, swabs and testing materials.

“Thanks to both M-ERT and these grants, we can both provide important technical assistance and unlock the potential within our manufacturing industry to produce these necessary supplies and equipment,” Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said in a news release Thursday. “We are grateful to the grant recipients, located in communities from the Berkshires to the Merrimack Valley, for their willingness to step up and strengthen our efforts to fight this virus.”

The state received 71 grant applications since the M-ERT program began. State officials say grant applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

Contollo Mass Manufacturing in Franklin received $1.8 million to produce surgery masks, as well as $30,000 for workforce training.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute received $100,000 to produce ventilator parts. WPI plans to uses the money to develop a low-cost powered resuscitator. Some of the funds will go toward buying raw materials and components for the parts.

UMass Lowell’s Fabric Discovery Center received $130,781 to buy PPE performance testing equipment. The public university is planning to screen N95 respirators, gowns and face masks and work with manufacturers to fix products that don’t pass the tests.

Cogmedix West Boylston received $390,592 to make ventilators and $80,000 for workforce training.

MatTek Corporation in Ashland, which the governor visited earlier this month, received $40,000 to boost its production of equipment to transport COVID-19 tests and work on viral replication.

Massachusetts received offers from 676 manufacturers to help, including 424 Massachusetts-based companies, Gov. Charlie Baker said earlier this month during a visit to Merrow Manufacturing in Fall River. Merrow Manufacturing did not receive grant funding from the M-ERT program, but did get advice from the state under the program.

“One of the best parts about this particular initiative and this particular company that we’re standing in here today is they’re located here in the commonwealth, they’ve been working with us several years,” Baker said at the time.