A recent report from UMass Dartmouth said one in three manufacturers in Massachusetts is having problems hiring workers. The state has projected a need to fill 100,000 manufacturing jobs over the next decade just to maintain current production levels.
One solution to this is the partnership of companies such as Smith & Wesson, Gulf Stream and Universal Plastics joining with Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and Holyoke Community College (HCC) to help train the region’s workforce with the skills needed for careers in advanced manufacturing.
The partnership, announced earlier this month, is part of Training and Workforce Options that provides affordable custom contract training for businesses. Other partners include: Hoppe Tool, RR Leduc, Marox Corporation, Savage Arms, Tel Tool, US Tsubaki and Westside Finishing..
“Massachusetts’ competitive edge lies in our exceptional academic institutions, cutting-edge private companies, highly-skilled workforce and above all, our willingness to work together to connect workers with employment opportunities,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “This program is an example of how we are choosing growth and enhancing the competitiveness of our advanced manufacturing industry, for today and the future.”
The joint program will prepare approximately 30 under- and unemployed participants to take the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council Certification Exam; those who are successful will be certified as Production Technicians. Individuals in the program will also be able to explore career pathways through career assessments and counseling and access support and tutoring services. Additionally, the colleges will work with the Regional Employment Board, One-Stop Career Centers and area manufacturers to place the graduates in employment.
The Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., Suffolk Construction and Smith & Wesson contributed a total of $90,000 to support the development and implementation of this program.
“The Pioneer Valley is home to a large number of manufacturing firms looking for talented, qualified employees in order to expand their businesses,” said Senator Gale D. Candaras. “These are high-quality, good paying jobs with potential for advancement."
This announcement builds upon the state’s goal to support the growth of advanced manufacturing. In 2012, the Governor’s Jobs Bill created that Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative (AMC). There are also regional manufacturing partnerships across the state in the Northeast, Southeast, Northern and Central Worcester County, Northern Berkshire County, Franklin-Hampshire County and Hampden County. These partnerships are working together to produce hundreds of skilled workers annually for manufacturers statewide.
A second major part of the AMC’s strategy is to provide streamlined access to state resources to meet the immediate training and education opportunities. The FY14 budget supported $2 million to extend immediate assistance to region’s throughout the state with similar training needs to Hampden County and awarded four new grants.
In June of 2013, the Patrick Administration announced the launch of the Advanced Manufacturing Regional Partnership Academy (AMRPA), a first in the nation effort to improve the effectiveness of regional manufacturing sector strategies by providing education, tools and peer learning to regional leaders.