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Government Contracts Will Create 17M USA-Made Masks

The Biden Administration has awarded two contracts—to Parkdale Mills and Ferrara Manufacturing Inc., both members of the National Council of Textile Organizations—following through on the president’s pledge to procure millions of fully Made in America face masks for community health centers, food pantries and soup kitchens across the country.

North Carolina-based Parkdale Mills, considered the nation’s largest cotton yarn spinner, has partnered with Ferrara Manufacturing, a tailored clothing company based in New York City’s garment center, to manufacture more than 17 million reusable masks. The government said it could purchase up to a maximum of 22.2 million masks under the two contracts. The masks will be “Berry compliant”—a mandate that government procurement prioritize U.S.-made goods.

NCTO said a third contract is expected to be awarded to a small business this week. Ferrara Manufacturing and Parkdale Mills will contract with additional U.S. companies across the manufacturing supply chain, employing nearly 5,000 American workers as a result of these awards. Parkdale will be utilizing yarn from its facilities in North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia, and Ferrara will deploy its cut and sew operations in New York City.

Additional suppliers include Clover Knits and Fitessa of South Carolina; American & Efird, Apex Elastic, Texlon Plastics and South Fork Industries of North Carolina; Georgia’s America Knits; Cotswold Industries, with facilities in New York and South Carolina; USC Bag of New Mexico; New Jersey’s Unionwear, and Lynda Studios and Domoi Collection, based in New York.

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The Biden Administration awarded contracts to Parkdale Mills and Ferrara Manufacturing, following through on the President’s pledge.
Making elastic ear loops at Apex Elastics. Courtesy

“The entire Parkdale team wants to thank President Biden and his administration for this opportunity to make reusable cotton face masks for millions of Americans,” Davis Warlick, executive vice president of Parkdale Mills, said. “By procuring 100 percent American-made masks, we are putting thousands of workers across the United States to work to help our most vulnerable communities. We are excited to partner with Ferrara Manufacturing and are proud of our supply chain partners and their hard work to make this product crafted with pride in the United States.”

Gabrielle Ferrara, chief operating officer and owner of Ferrara Manufacturing, said this is “another amazing moment for our industry to come together to produce lifesaving PPE for people who need it most.”

“Ferrara is proud to partner with Parkdale Mills and we want to thank the administration for supporting our workforce, who have sacrificed so much during the pandemic to answer the call of the nation to produce millions of masks,” Ferrara said. “We also greatly appreciate the strong support and partnership of Workers United/SEIU to help amplify the needs to bolster this critical supply chain.”

The U.S. textile industry has produced more than 1 billion lifesaving PPE and other medical products over the last year, according to NCTO. Since the spring of 2020, both Ferrara and Parkdale have retooled their production chains to help produce millions of masks and gowns to help workers on the frontlines.

“We want to sincerely thank President Biden for his leadership and support of American manufacturing workers with this purchase,” Kim Glas, president and CEO of NCTO, said. “We appreciate the administration’s commitment to purchase fully made in America masks and we believe this is a significant opportunity to continue to showcase our incredible domestic textile industry and all of its capabilities. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to onshore these critical supply chains long-term and we look forward to working with the administration and Congress to advance long-term policies to bolster this critical production capacity here in the United States.”