For Immediate Release - December 06, 2012

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MURRAY VISITS SPRINGFIELD PROGRAM FOCUSED ON TRAINING NEXT GENERATION OF ADVANCED MANUFACTURING WORKERS

SPRINGFIELD – Thursday, December 6, 2012 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today visited the Industry Fast Track Program in Springfield, an initiative funded by the Patrick-Murray Administration and focused on training the next generation of the advanced manufacturing workforce.

The program is one of the initiatives launched by the Precision Manufacturing Training Program, a Western Massachusetts-based project that includes cooperation from government, academia and the private sector in creating new workforce training opportunities in advanced manufacturing.

“By embracing innovation and global competition, our advanced manufacturing industry has come out of the recession stronger than it was before, but the challenge of hiring a well-trained workforce remains,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “Our Administration is focused on connecting employees with businesses through initiatives like the Precision Manufacturing Training Program, which can identify regional hiring needs and efficiently fulfill them.”

“The Patrick-Murray Administration’s long-term economic development plan includes the goal of connecting available workers with companies offering good jobs and solid careers, and advanced manufacturing is a sector well-positioned for growth and expanding those connections,” said Greg Bialecki, the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development. “The Precision Manufacturing Regional Alliance Project is an excellent example of manufacturers in a region, along with academia and government, coming together to create new avenues of workforce development that will allow them to find quality, well-trained employees.”

The Industry Fast Track Program is a partnership between Smith & Wesson and Putnam Vocational Technical Academy that is rapidly training 13 unemployed or under-employed workers for jobs in precision manufacturing. The program is part of the Precision Manufacturing Regional Alliance Project and the Precision Manufacturing Training Program, which are part of a regional effort to improve manufacturing workforce development in Western Massachusetts for new and existing workers.

The Regional Alliance Project is supported by $750,000 in funding through this year’s state budget and includes participation from 29 companies, local vocational high schools, Holyoke and Springfield Technical Community Colleges, and UMass-Amherst. Currently, the Precision Manufacturing Training Program includes 63 enrolled participants, including 20 veterans and 30 residents from Gateway Cities.

“When the ‘smokestack’ companies left Western Massachusetts, they also left behind a training void that our smaller precision machining companies need to fill,” said Eric Hagopian, President of Hoppe Technologies and Chair of the Precision Manufacturer Training Program’s Leadership Steering Committee. “PMTP helps the region’s companies provide new workers specific training that is vital to the health of the region’s businesses and good middle-class jobs for our neighbors. Industry research shows that each precision machining job filled creates jobs for three additional workers in support industries relating to precision manufacturing such as heat treatment, plating and welding.”

An April 2012 survey by the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County found that 251 Pioneer Valley manufacturers expect they will need more than 1,600 new workers through 2014. The statewide need for new manufacturing workers was highlighted in an October 2012 report by the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center at Northeastern University, which found an expected need of 100,000 new workers over the next decades.

One of the goals of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s long-term economic development plan is to connect available workers with companies offering good jobs and solid careers, including in the advanced manufacturing sector. The Administration is partnering with the industry on initiatives designed to highlight advanced manufacturing and its potential.

In September, Lieutenant Governor Murray announced the creation of the Amp It Up! program at MassDevelopment, which offers grants for regional visibility and marketing opportunities. The reforms of the Community College system, which were signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick this summer, create incentives for community colleges to identify and support programs that help connect local businesses with middle-skill workers.

The jobs bill signed by the Governor in August 2012 codifies the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative, which was created in November 2011. Entities like the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium and the Precision Manufacturing Regional Alliance Project are creating regional collaborative opportunities, and earlier this fall a consortium of Central Massachusetts entities, including WPI, Fitchburg State University, Quinsigamond and Mount Wachusett Community College and MassMEP organized a seamless approach to training and educating workers.

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