For Immediate Release - October 02, 2015

Baker-Polito Administration Opens Manufacturing Workforce Development Grants

Grants will fund programs that provide precision manufacturing training to a diverse population

Boston – Friday, October 2, 2015 – Today the Baker-Polito administration opened the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program’s Workforce Development Grants for applications. Grants will fund programs that provide training to unemployed and underemployed individuals, including veterans, minorities, and women, for precision manufacturing programs that support Massachusetts’ globally competitive advanced manufacturing cluster.

“Massachusetts manufacturers are globally competitive in large part because of the highly-educated and highly-skilled workforce in our state,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Massachusetts Manufacturing Month and National Manufacturing Day are times to recognize the contributions that manufacturing companies and workers make to the well-being, health, safety and prosperity of the Commonwealth and to support the continued growth of this sector by helping to train new workers for available positions.”  

“Manufacturing drives the Massachusetts economy, and we are dedicated to supporting this cluster by assisting training and workforce development efforts that meet the needs of employers, and support local and regional manufacturing ecosystems,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This administration is driving sustainable and significant economic growth throughout the state, by supporting manufacturers through workforce training efforts, as well as by improving the regulatory and business environment.”

The Baker-Polito Administration’s Workforce Skills Cabinet aims to close the skills gap and connect citizens to jobs by making workforce development efforts more employer-centric, and by identifying and bringing to scale successful training and education models. The Workforce Skills Cabinet is chaired by the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Ron Walker, and comprised of the Secretary of Education, Jim Peyser, and the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Jay Ash. The Workforce Skills Cabinet will coordinate the implementation of these precision manufacturing training grants.

“One of the tasks Governor Baker asked us to undertake was to find ways to help people that are underemployed or unemployed, particularly minorities, women, and recently-returned veterans,” Secretary Walker said. “These grants will enable us to provide additional training so we can start to lower the high unemployment rates some populations face, while at the same time help manufacturers meet their demand for skilled workers.”

“Employers frequently tell us that a shortage of skilled workers keeps them from hiring and growing,” said Secretary Ash. “These training grants will help us connect citizens across the Commonwealth to good-paying jobs, while enabling economic growth.”

“Preparing our students to meet the demands of our current and future workforce is a key priority across all levels of our education system,” said Secretary Peyser. “Nowhere is the need more evident than in the STEM fields, including in manufacturing. These grants will help us make linkages across education, labor, and economic development to improve the skills of our workforce and ensure that students and adults have access to the training they need to be successful in today’s  economy.”

“Currently there is a growing gap between the number of well-paying advanced manufacturing jobs available, and the number of workers who are qualified to fill them,” Senator Eric P. Lesser, Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, said. “This grant program is an opportunity to help close that gap, boost our local economic, and bring new work opportunities to citizens who are diligently seeking them.”

“New technology has revolutionized manufacturing – and the sill training needed to do it – which is why this grant is so critically significant to Massachusetts’ economic growth and job creation,” said Representative John Fernandes, Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Manufacturing Caucus. “This funding will boost critical training programs and expand job opportunities for countless people. It’s a solid investment in our state’s workforce, and recognition of leadership by state officials.”

Strong applications will demonstrate an ability to build on a successful model while leveraging existing resources including Workforce Investment Boards; career centers; colleges, universities, and other schools; and community-based organizations. The Workforce Skills Cabinet will accept applications for up to $250,000. More information is available at the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program application page.