For Immediate Release - April 29, 2008

Governor Patrick Announces Workforce Training Fund Grant To Amherst Woodworking & Supply, Inc.

New funding represents part of the Governor's economic plan to fast track investments for Massachusetts workers and infrastructure projects

NORTHAMPTON---Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - Continuing his plan to make economic stimulus investments in communities across the Commonwealth, Governor Deval Patrick today announced Amherst Woodworking & Supply, Inc. will receive a Workforce Training Fund grant of $44,000. The funds will help train 44 employees in lean manufacturing concepts to help companies improve efficiency and productivity to remain competitive.

Investing in workforce training is part of the Administration's comprehensive strategy to make immediate and long-term investments that will create a culture of opportunity for all Massachusetts residents.

"I am pleased to announce this funding for Amherst Woodworking & Supply, which will train 44 employees," said Governor Patrick. "Targeted investments like these are necessary to ensure we continue on a path to achieve immediate and long-term economic growth in the Commonwealth."

The Workforce Training Fund (WTF), administered by the Department of Workforce Development, under the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, provides business and labor organizations with matching grants of up to $250,000 or more in certain cases to finance incumbent worker training.

"The Workforce Training Fund is an important partner in providing training that will help employers compete and employees enhance their skills," said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Suzanne M. Bump. "Investing in our workforce is a critical way for us to close the gap between the skills our workers have today and the skills needed for the future."

The announcement follows the economic stimulus plan the Governor laid out earlier this month, when he directed Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Suzanne M. Bump to expedite the release over $18 million in grants to 200 companies throughout Massachusetts in order to train over 16,000 workers in every region of the Commonwealth in the coming weeks.

As a result of the Workforce Training Fund grant, Amherst Woodworking & Supply, Inc., will train employees in lean manufacturing concepts, including Lean Awareness, Value Stream Mapping and Kaizen. Initial training, which will focus on Lean Awareness through hands on simulation, will work to recognize and eliminate areas of waste. Additional training will be undertaken to understand flow, see existing bottlenecks and create a future state map as the basis for future improvements as well as effect identified changes.

The Workforce Training Fund has helped thousands of employers gain a competitive advantage by investing in job-related training for hundreds of thousands of their employees. Since the Fund's inception in 1999, more than 4,100 grants have been awarded totaling over $150 million to train more than 208,000 Massachusetts workers.

For information on the Workforce Training Fund, visit www.mass.gov/wtf.

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