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 Education Compact Initiative. The initiative is aimed to further partnerships between the region’s K-12 schools, higher education institutions, and the region’s employers to collectively work to advance the region’s workforce.
The tour, which was held on Wednesday, October 19, provided education, civic and community leaders, economic development officials and the media, an opportunity to learn more about—and the importance of—manufacturing in the region as a way to promote careers in the industry. The regional organizations involved included the MassHire North Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board and Mount Wachusett Community College.
Participants visited several manufacturing companies where they obtained an insider’s look at how select manufacturers operate, and also learned about the growing job opportunities in manufacturing and the necessary skill-sets for employment.
Tour stops included Solvus Global, an advanced manufacturer located in Leominster that specializes in the areas of additive manufacturing, machine learning, and sustainable materials processing; Burkart Flutes and Piccolos, a company founded in 1982 that specializes in the precision manufacturing of high quality flutes and piccolos; Jabil, a worldwide contract manufacturer of various medical devices and medical equipment; and Mount Wachusett Community College’s Devens Manufacturing Center, which offers technical training in a number of different areas, including advanced manufacturing. The tour also included a lunch presentation and discussion with Branner Stewart, Project Manager for the UMass Donahue Institute. Mr. Stewart highlighted the findings of a recent workforce study commissioned by the Chamber.
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, they are still challenged with recruiting the workers they need. We hope this tour provided our local educators, civic and community leaders, and the media, 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 advanced 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; Solvus Global; Burkart Flutes and Piccolos; Jabil; and Mount Wachusett Community College.
For more information on the manufacturing bus tour or the North Central Massachusetts Education Compact Initiative, please contact the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce at 978.353.7600.