Central Massachusetts offers outstanding opportunities for business, families and young professionals seeking a diverse and energetic environment. Within 50 minutes of downtown Boston and anchored by the City of Worcester, the regional economy focuses on healthcare and the life sciences, professional services, manufacturing and education. Strong cultural and retail experiences engage the growing residential and student populations.
Cities and Towns in Central Region
Auburn, Berlin, Blackstone, Boylston, Brookfield, Charlton, Clinton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Grafton, Holden, Hopedale, Leicester, Mendon, Millbury, Millville, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Northbridge, Oakham, Oxford, Paxton, Shrewsbury, Southbridge, Spencer, Sturbridge, Sutton, Upton, Uxbridge, Warren, Webster, West Boylston, West Brookfield and Worcester.
The largest industry sectors are healthcare and professional/financial services and they are projected to continue growing through 2014. Fiber optics, metal and materials fabrication, abrasives, and life science manufacturing provide strong employment opportunities across the region. The western communities are rural in nature with a focus on agriculture. Small businesses with less than 20 employees account for 85% of employment while more than 400 companies employ in excess of 100 people.
Education and Training
Intellectual capital and access to a skilled labor force are strengths of Central Massachusetts. The region annually hosts in excess of 35,000 students at the 13 area institutions of higher education including scientists from the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and the Massachusetts School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and liberal arts students at the College of the Holy Cross and Worcester State College. Continuing adult education is readily available. For more information, visit the Colleges of Worcester Consortium
Area school districts perform highly in academics and sport. In addition, the 2006 Worcester Technical High School, Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School and Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School support traditional and emerging skills.
The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) is situated in Worcester. It is one of the fastest growing research institutions in the country with federal and private research grants exceeding $175 million in 2006. UMMS is also home to the developing Massachusetts Human Embryonic Stem Cell (hESC) Bank, an international hESC Registry, and the 2006 Nobel Prize co-recipient Craig Mello, Ph.D., in recognition for his discoveries related to RNA interference. In 2007, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) opened its 124,600 square-foot WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, the first building to open in the new 12-acre Gateway Park. The award winning Park, a collaboration between the Worcester Business Development Corporation (WBDC) and WPI, houses a full spectrum of life science activities including the Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives incubator and the WPI Bioprocess Center.
Infrastructure and Permitting
Central Massachusetts has exceptional highway access with the convergence of the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) and the I-84 to Hartford and New York City, the I-290 leading to the arc of I-495 and the I-190 towards North Central Massachusetts. Recent improvements to Route 146 enhance the connections through the Blackstone Valley to Providence, RI. Commuter rail connections with Boston serve the eastern communities and terminate at Union Station in Worcester, which also has Amtrak service. Freight is served by the Providence and Worcester and CSX railroads. The Port of Worcester enables double stacked freight cars from the West Coast access into the marketplace. The Worcester Municipal Airport is operated by MassPort and has a full service terminal. Business parks and urban commerce centers across the region have high speed data and basic infrastructure capabilities. Several communities promote expedited permitting at key green- and brownfield sites.
Expedited permitting communities include:
Demographics, Housing and Culture:
According to Worcester County Census 2010 results, the population of the area was approximately 798,552 people. From 2000 to 2010, the Worcester County population growth percentage was 6.3% (or from 750,963 people to 798,552 people). 23.4% of the Worcester County residents were under 18 years of age.
Central Mass. had both the fastest rate of population growth and largest numerical increase across the Commonwealth.
Broad housing availability, major entertainment venues and internationally recognized cultural resources such as Old Sturbridge Village, the Higgins Armory Museum, Worcester Art Museum, the Museum of Russian Icons and the John H. Chaffee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor provide a fun and interesting environment for all ages.
Research and Data
- Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission
- Labor Market Annual Report for the Central Mass Workforce Area
- Worcester Regional Research Bureau
- Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce
- Central Mass South Chamber of Commerce
- Clark University Small Business Development Center
- Corridor 9 Chamber of Commerce
- Holden Area Chamber of Commerce
- MA Dept. of Environmental Protection
- Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives
- MassDevelopment Central Office
- Wachusett Chamber of Commerce
- Webster / Douglas / Oxford Chamber of Commerce
- Worcester Business Development Corporation
- Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Workforce Central Career Center
Rosemary Scrivens, Regional Director
Massachusetts Office of Business Development
89 Shrewsbury Street, Suite 300,
Worcester, MA 01604