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AGAWAM — New England Business Associates (NEBA) created its Learn to Earn program both to help address the critical, growing need for employees in the manufacturing sector and to provide candidates with the tools and support they need for successful careers in this industry. Governors America Corp. (GAC), a veteran-owned, Massachusetts-based global manufacturer of innovative engine-control products, participates in this program and recently hosted six local students for a day of learning.

“We are passionate about helping the next generation sustain successful careers in the manufacturing sector,” Governors America Corp. President Sean Collins said. “Not only is this essential for the future of our communities and our country, but it opens career pathways for those who want to work in a hands-on field that can be very fulfilling.”

The goal of Learn to Earn is to place candidates in manufacturing positions that will allow them to earn a sustainable income, eliminate the need for public assistance, and foster growth and future promotions in the field.

During the five-hour event at GAC, students had the opportunity to tour the facility, speak with staff in a variety of roles, and learn about the various opportunities available within manufacturing. They saw how different manufacturing metal-cutting machines work and followed the process from raw material to finished part, then did a class metrology with the part. They also participated in developing a new process for packing using Lean manufacturing methodology.

“Our guests were all extremely enthusiastic about the experience, noting that it reinforced their training and the principles they are learning,” Collins said. “This was the first time for all of them visiting a manufacturing environment, and they expressed surprise at how pleasant a place it was, not noisy or dirty as they had imagined.”

Through Learn to Earn, students receive training in basic manufacturing skills from MassMEP, including shop math, blueprint reading, metrology, quality inspection, and shop-floor safety. They also receive employment support as needed.

“We are committed to helping to grow our future workforce,” said Marlene Woods, Human Resources manager at GAC. “In addition to participating in programs such as Learn to Earn, we have a robust internship program and hire people without experience and provide on-the-job training.”