State Funding to Strengthen Advanced-manufacturing Industry
AMHERST — Building on the Patrick administration’s historic commitment to strengthening the advanced-manufacturing industry in Massachusetts, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki on Monday joined Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rachel Kaprielian and State Senate Majority Leader Stan Rosenberg to announce nearly $2 million in funding to support manufacturing workforce training across the Commonwealth. The announcement was made at the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative (AMC) Pioneer Valley Summit, held at UMass Amherst.
“I am proud of the work the AMC has accomplished over the years, creating opportunities for workers with a range of skill levels that will strengthen our economy for years to come,” said Bialecki. “Collaborative efforts like this are a critical reason why Massachusetts is leading the nation in growing a 21st-century advanced-manufacturing sector.”
Nearly $1.5 million of the total funding was awarded through the Advanced Manufacturing Pipeline Training Grants Program to support five regional workforce-investment boards throughout Massachusetts. This funding will help recruit and train approximately 280 unemployed or underemployed participants for careers in advanced manufacturing. The grants program is a cross-secretariat initiative between the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Two Western Mass. organizations are among those receiving funding:
• The Hampden Regional Employment Board received $219,960 to conduct the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program, in partnership with the Western Mass. Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Assoc. The Hampden Regional Employment Board will contract with local community colleges, part-time instructors from two vocational technical high schools, and an advanced-manufacturing company to train unemployed or underemployed adults of Hampden County.
• The Franklin/Hampshire Regional Employment Board received $276,705 to continue collaboration with employers from across the region, as well as community partners such as Greenfield Community College (GCC), the two area vocational-technical schools, and two adult-education sites, to enable the Regional Employment Board and GCC to offer three additional cycles of entry-level precision-machine training over the next two years in Franklin County. This will expand it from 220 hours to 300 hours and add skill building in the areas of blueprint reading, metrology, grinding, and lean manufacturing.
“The quick turnaround in awarding these grants reflects the urgency the Patrick Administration has adopted in scaling up these pipelines to help fill current job openings in advanced manufacturing all over the state,” said Kaprielian. “These awards will allow the grantees to build upon their proven successes and their capacity to work collaboratively through industry partnerships to increase the number of seats in their existing pipelines.”
Through a separate grant program, the Industry Training Capital Equipment grant program, also aimed at supporting the manufacturing industry in Massachusetts, Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton was awarded $400,000 to rebuild its precision-manufacturing training program. With the support of more than 25 regional manufacturing and workforce leaders in Hampshire County, the rebuilt training program will be a site for daytime students and evening adult learners, in partnership with the Franklin-Hampshire Regional Employment Board.