For Immediate Release - March 11, 2014

Secretary Bialecki Tours Taconic High School Machine Shop

PITTSFIELD – Thursday, March 6, 2014 – Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki today toured the machine shop at Taconic High School in Pittsfield.

During the tour, a live training class was in session, providing a firsthand glimpse of how a regional partnership is responding to the workforce demands of manufacturers and training new workers to fill the jobs in demand.  The tour highlighted the partnership’s stackable credential pathway, created between Taconic High School and Berkshire Community College (BCC) and modeled after the Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Innovation Collaborative (MACWIC) certification pyramid to help vocational students and under and unemployed workers master skills required for a career in manufacturing.

“This partnership between two educational leaders is providing our workforce with the skills they need to compete, and producing valuable members of the advanced manufacturing workforce,” said Secretary Bialecki. “Massachusetts is leading the nation in growing a 21st century advanced manufacturing sector thanks in part to this collaborative effort, and through our continual support of this vital industry we will ensure a strong manufacturing workforce for our future.”

Prior to the tour, Secretary Bialecki led a roundtable to discuss the progress that has been made in creating a local partnership that responds to the middle skill workforce needs of manufacturers in the region. This meeting is one in a series taking place at manufacturing sites across the Commonwealth to discuss regional manufacturing partnerships as leading examples of how workforce, education and business leaders are working together to train entry level workers to increase the talent pipeline and training incumbent workers as part of succession planning for hundreds of manufacturers across the state.

“The partnership between Berkshire Community College and Taconic High School has created a state-of-the-art program that prepares students to enter the workforce while on a pathway to college. Thanks to workforce development grants, the BCC/Taconic collaboration recently certified 25 students with credentials from the Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Innovation Collaborative. All students participating in the Level I course passed with a 100 percent pass rate. We anticipate continued success for many years to come,” Mark Lausier, Manufacturing Tech faculty member at Taconic High School.

“BCC’s Manufacturing Program is a significant partnership between a community college and a vocational school and we’re proud of what is taking place and we are excited about the future,” said BCC President Ellen Kennedy. “We welcome the opportunity to showcase our program and we thank Secretary Bialecki for his interest and support.”

"BCC and Taconic’s new advanced manufacturing partnership will provide the 'problem solving' worker needed for the future workforce," said BCC Vice President for Community Education and Workforce Development Bill Mulholland. "Our program blends highly technical manufacturing skills with a college education, which provides the underpinning for innovation. Moving forward, this innovation in our manufacturing companies will become the competitive weapon for the Commonwealth."

The partnership received support from the U.S. Department of Labor Community College Transformation Agenda grant and the Commonwealth’s vocational school equipment program.  Regional partners are also working together on a grant through the state’s AMP It Up campaign to increase awareness among students, parents and career counselors about careers in manufacturing at companies across the state that are creating the world’s most interesting  and innovative products from cosmetics to wind turbines to racing bikes to lifesaving drugs.  These careers have an average annual salary of $75,000.

To learn more about the Administration’s Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative and the work it is doing to support the industry, click here.