Chamber Hosts Regional Bus Tour to Promote Manufacturing

In recognition of National Manufacturing Month, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and its economic development arm, the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, recently partnered with regional organizations to host a unique manufacturing bus tour as part of the Chamber’s Talent Compact Initiative. The initiative is aimed to further partnerships between the region’s K-12 schools, higher education institutions, economic development, and the region’s employers to collectively work to advance the region’s workforce.

The tour, which was held on Tuesday, October 24, provided education, civic and community leaders, and economic development officials an opportunity to learn more about—and the importance of—manufacturing in the region to promote careers in the industry. The MassHire North Central Workforce Board and Mount Wachusett Community College co-sponsored the bus tour.

Participants visited several manufacturing companies where they obtained an insider’s look at how select manufacturers operate, and learned about the growing job opportunities in manufacturing and the necessary skill sets for employment.

This year, the annual manufacturing bus tour included stops at Rocheleau Tool & Die, a family owned and operated business established in 1938 in Fitchburg that specializes in the manufacture of extrusion blow molding machinery, blow molds and related automation equipment; SMC Ltd., located in Devens, a worldwide contract manufacturer of various medical devices and medical equipment; and AIS, Inc., a furniture manufacturer based in Leominster that specializes in high-end office systems. The bus tour also included a stop at the Leominster campus of Mount Wachusett Community College and the MassHire North Central Career Center where participants learned about education and workforce related resources and services available to employers and job seekers.

North Central Massachusetts boasts the largest concentration of manufacturing in the state, with one-third of all private wages in the region paid from manufacturing jobs. Companies range from the world-class plastics industry cluster of more than 140 companies to pharmaceuticals, photonics, and paper as well as biomedical devices.

“The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation remain committed to supporting and growing this critical sector of the region’s economy while also building successful partnerships between businesses and the region’s schools which are critical to the collective, ongoing efforts of keeping manufacturing alive and well in the region,” said Roy Nascimento, president and CEO, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “Manufacturers are some of the most well-paid, highly trained and in demand employees in the workforce, yet despite competitive wages and training, businesses are still challenged with recruiting the workers they need. We hope this tour provided our local educators, civic and community leaders, and other stakeholders with an opportunity to learn more about the jobs available in the region as the need for more young workers and a skills gap exists among the existing and transitioning workforce.”

“Manufacturing continues to be a priority industry in North Central Massachusetts,” said Jeffrey Roberge, executive director, MassHire North Central Workforce Board. “Many thanks to the North Central Chamber for hosting this important event as it brings together our legislators, educators and employers to learn more about this vital sector.”

“This tour proves how the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce commits itself to advancing manufacturing in the region,” said James L. Vander Hooven, Ed.D., president, Mount Wachusett Community College. “Mount Wachusett Community College remains dedicated to providing educational training opportunities to meet the growing needs of local business and industry.”

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce wishes to thank and acknowledge the support and assistance of the following partners who helped make the event possible: MassHire North Central Workforce Board; Rocheleau Tool & Die; SMC, Ltd.; AIS, Inc.; Montachusett Regional Transit Authority; and Mount Wachusett Community College.

For more information on the manufacturing bus tour or the North Central Massachusetts Talent Compact Initiative, please contact the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce at 978.353.7600.