AMP it up! Matching Grants to 12 Partnerships Total Nearly $100,000 for Increasing Advanced Manufacturing Career Awareness

January 25, 2018


Meggie Quackenbush, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2011 & 857-208-2777 (cell)

MassDevelopment today announced 12 partnerships will receive AMP it up! matching grants for outreach and other innovative programs that will educate young people and adults about career options in advanced manufacturing. In the sixth year of the program, MassDevelopment will provide awards totaling $99,975 to the 12 partnerships, consisting of regional employment and workforce investment boards, manufacturers, chambers of commerce and development councils, community colleges, vocational schools, and other organizations throughout the Commonwealth.

The lead organizations on these 12 partnerships are: The Central Massachusetts Center for Business and Enterprise Inc. (Whitinsville), Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board (Greenfield), Greater Lowell Workforce Development Board (Lowell), Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board (New Bedford), Lever (North Adams), Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board (Lawrence), Metro North Regional Employment Board (Cambridge), North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (Fitchburg), North Shore Workforce Investment Board (Salem), Quinsigamond Community College (Worcester), Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School (Palmer), and South Shore Workforce Development Board (Quincy). 

In a complementary effort to promote careers in advanced manufacturing, MassDevelopment is holding a fourth round of the AMP it up! Video Challenge, which invites students to research the inner workings of an advanced manufacturing innovation and create a two-minute video showing how the innovation impacts the world around them. An online balloting tool will allow the public to help determine the winning videos, which will earn cash prizes donated to their schools. The top three videos will each win $5,000 in funding for a total of $15,000 in prize money.

“Massachusetts is home to some of the most innovative advanced manufacturing companies, which are creating exciting new products and job opportunities for our residents,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Building a strong pipeline of talented workers is critical to the future of this industry in the Commonwealth.” 

“MassDevelopment is delighted to award this sixth round of AMP it up! grants, which will fund creative programs across the Commonwealth,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “We look forward to seeing the creative and innovative ways these grant recipients, ranging from workforce investment boards to vocational schools and community colleges, will promote the manufacturing industry as a rewarding, highly-skilled, well-paying career path.”

“The AMP it up! grant is so important to our partnership with Blackstone Valley Schools. It means we can provide services to students who otherwise would be unable to take part in advanced manufacturing courses and offer them a successful career path. This is a game changer for everyone. We could not do it without MassDevelopment’s support,” said Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jeannie Hebert. 

“The Franklin Hampshire REB is delighted to receive a 2018 AMP it up! grant. It will allow us to conduct three great events: an open house day at selected Franklin County manufacturing companies for parents, students of all ages, and community members; a ‘Celebrate Manufacturing!’ event in the greater Ware region; and a guidance counselor breakfast featuring guest speakers from the industry. Resources like these greatly enhance our continuing effort to get the word out about great manufacturing jobs, companies and careers,” said Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board Executive Director Patricia Crosby. 

“Through the AMP it up! grant, the Greater Lowell Workforce Development Board is excited to introduce even more young people to the numerous, viable career pathways available in advanced manufacturing. Together with our regional advanced manufacturing companies and educational partners, young adults will learn about the career opportunities and skills needed to enter the manufacturing industry,” said Greater Lowell Workforce Development Board Executive Director Peter Farkas. 

“We are extremely pleased to receive this award. We believe strongly it will stimulate the interest of participating high school students in the field of manufacturing. The value added of gaining college credits will also open a career and college pathway otherwise not considered,” said Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board Youth Program Manager Marc Tarpey. 

"We are delighted to receive support from MassDevelopment's AMP it up! program. The funding will help us increase college internship opportunities with advanced manufacturers in Berkshire County, creating new paths for young people to join our workforce. Our partnership with career experts at Berkshire Community College will ensure employers have access to talented students," said Lever Executive Director Jeffrey Thomas. 

“It is super to again receive MassDevelopment support to put the word out on good manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts,” said Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Rafael Abislaiman. 

“The Metro North Regional Employment Board is looking forward to continuing and expanding our work of providing career awareness activities and internship opportunities in the field of advanced manufacturing to young people and job seekers in the region. We are thankful to MassDevelopment for the support, which allows us to continue this important workforce development initiative,” said Metro North Regional Employment Board Manager of Youth and Healthcare Programs Lisa Taylor-Montminy.
“We appreciate MassDevelopment’s continued support of our AMP it up! efforts, which revolve around mini-externships for teachers in manufacturing companies and result in lesson plans used to introduce students to the career opportunities and skills needed in our vibrant manufacturing industry. We know this is an efficient and effective way to build a loyal constituency around manufacturing – one that has daily contact and enormous influence with our emerging workforce—so needed in manufacturing today and into the future,” said North Shore Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Mary Sarris.

“North-central Massachusetts boasts the largest concentration of manufacturing in the state. One-third of all private wages paid in the region are from manufacturing jobs. This grant from MassDevelopment will go a long way in helping to support our efforts to grow this critical industry for the region,” said North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation President Roy Nascimento. 

“Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School and its eight collaborating entities and partners are thrilled to learn of this award from the AMP it up! grant program. This award will allow Pathfinder to offer seventh-grade students from our member communities the opportunity to participate in the ‘Art of Design and Manufacturing Career Awareness Program.’ This memorable experience will introduce students and their families to the discovery of various, rewarding career opportunities in manufacturing, and help to prepare the students for their transition to high school and beyond,” said Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School Cooperative Education/Grants Coordinator Margaret Nugent. 

“Quinsigamond Community College and partners—Blackstone Valley Education Foundation, Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board, and Worcester Public Schools—are thrilled to receive this AMP it up! award. Our continued and collective efforts to promote awareness of and interest in career opportunities in advanced manufacturing in central Massachusetts will be significantly advanced through this investment in our work,” said Quinsigamond Community College Assistant Vice President for Workforce Readiness and Innovation Kathy Rentsch. 

“We are so pleased to be awarded an AMP it up! grant. Through this funding offered by MassDevelopment, the South Shore Workforce Development Board will be positioned to embark on action items determined necessary in our recent ‘Manufacturing on the South Shore of Massachusetts’ report. We will be providing young adults exposure to manufacturing and a variety of lucrative career opportunities within an industry they might otherwise never have considered,” said South Shore Workforce Development Board Director of Business Services Sue Whitaker.

The community-based programs receiving the awards will host and organize activities like student internships, tours of advanced manufacturing companies, career awareness workshops, teacher and guidance counselor information sessions and manufacturing externships, and more. The AMP it up! campaign highlights the exciting, technology-driven, high-paying career options in manufacturing, dispels outdated misconceptions about the industry, and bolsters the prospective employee base for these quality jobs with Massachusetts companies. The sixth round of grants builds on the successes of the campaign’s first, second, third, fourth, and fifth years.

The partnerships below received grants for 2018. The number of asterisks (*) indicates the number of previous years a partnership (or one or more members of the partnership) has received funding through AMP it up!

1. The Central Massachusetts Center for Business and Enterprise Inc., Whitinsville - $10,000

In partnership with The Center for Business and Industry at Worcester State University, Omni Control Technology Inc., and the Blackstone Valley School District. 

The grant will support the expansion of a program at the Central Massachusetts Center for Business Enterprise, the nonprofit arm of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce. Under this program, the center works with schools to match students who are on the wait list for the Blackstone Valley Technical High School with area manufacturers for job shadowing and apprenticeship programs. The expansion will support a yearlong apprenticeship program for these students, and will help fund training to teach high school guidance counselors how to identify which manufacturing niche is suitable for each participating student.    

2. Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, Greenfield*** - $7,000

In partnership with Greenfield Community College, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, C&G Machine Tool Company Inc., and Sisson Engineering. 

The grant will provide funding for a yearlong, three-pronged project that will serve employers, middle and high school students, counselors, and young adult and adult job-seekers. This program will include a manufacturing open house in Franklin County in October, a “Celebrate Manufacturing” event in Hampshire County, and a “Manufacturing Careers” breakfast for guidance counselors. Precision machining and areas such as plastics, film, and food processing represent the greatest manufacturing needs in the Franklin Hampshire workforce region. The board will highlight these manufacturing career opportunities via social media and on the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board and websites.

3. Greater Lowell Workforce Development Board, Lowell** - $6,000

In partnership with Excell Solutions Inc., Palace Manufacturing, Wie Sic Machine Inc., Mack Technologies, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Pace Industries, Lowell High School, Greater Lowell Technical High School, Lowell High School Career Academy, and Tewksbury High School. 

The Greater Lowell Advanced Manufacturing Initiative (GLAMI) works to expose high school-aged youth in local communities to services that include career pathways, advanced manufacturing pipeline, skill-building, competency models, apprenticeships, sustainability, and labor market information. GLAMI will use this grant to target students from multiple disciplines to provide helpful activities, such as guest speaker panels, workshops, company tours, and either an advanced manufacturing career fair or participation in options fair.

4. Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board, New Bedford**** - $6,300

In partnership with Wareham Public Schools, Bristol Community College, Lockheed Martin, Titleist, and Five Star Manufacturing. 

This grant will provide an opportunity for 20 Wareham High School students to take a course through Bristol Community College that will help them develop important skills in forming, presenting, and interpreting ideas and concepts. Students will also tour at least five advanced manufacturing-related employers to learn about career opportunities. The program will take place between January 2018 and June 2018.

5. Lever, North Adams***** - $10,000

In partnership with Berkshire Community College, B&B Micro Manufacturing, The LTI Group, and the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board.

The grant will fund Berkshire Business Interns (BBI), an initiative that will work to change perceptions involving the importance of manufacturing as a career choice for high school and college students. BBI will give students access to local manufacturing companies by providing paid internships, online training, a STEM career fair, and informational meetings with advanced manufacturers in Berkshire County.

6. Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board, Lawrence*** - $10,000

In partnership with Lawrence High School, Lawrence High School Learning Center, Haverhill High School, Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium, ValleyWorks Career Center, Arwood Machine Corporation, CASA Systems, and Magellan Aerospace.  

This grant will help deepen awareness of advanced manufacturing careers among teachers and students who attend public schools in the Merrimack Valley. The program will provide 10 teachers with externships at manufacturing companies during a school break. After the externships, these teachers will then present manufacturing-based learning activities to their students. The grant will also fund youth field trips to local advanced manufacturers.  

7. Metro North Regional Employment Board, Cambridge***** - $6,000

In partnership with Boston Centerless, Lytron Inc., The Center for Manufacturing Technology, and Career Source.  

This grant will fund information sessions about advanced manufacturing, company tours, and visits to the Metro North region’s manufacturing employers to show participants machining and other manufacturing processes. This initiative will target mainly underserved youth and their families, teachers, and counselors throughout the Metro North region. The program will continue to strengthen coordinating activities by the Boston and Metro North STEM network, the Metro North Youth Council, and public schools in the region.

8. North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, Fitchburg**** - $8,000

In partnership with Mount Wachusett Community College, Fitchburg State University, SteelFab Inc., Rocheleau Tool & Die Inc., Nypro, and the North Central Massachusetts Manufacturing Roundtable. 

This grant will help address stigmas surrounding manufacturing careers in order to build an understanding among high school and college students of potential opportunities in the industry. The program will educate advisors, parents, and students about the merits of a career in this field and will continue work to connect school officials and district superintendents with manufacturers in the region.

9. North Shore Workforce Investment Board, Salem*** - $10,000

In partnership with Microline Surgical, General Electric, and Medtronic. 

The North Shore WIB will provide teacher externships, manufacturing tours for students, and employer information sessions and career speakers. The initiative hopes to reach more than 500 students, 20 teachers, and at least 15 companies through these activities.

10. Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School, Palmer***** - $8,675 

In partnership with Vibram, Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, River East School-to-Career, Integer, B&R Machine Inc., Detector Technology, Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation, and Quabbin Wire & Cable Co. Inc. 

The grant will fund the “Art of Design and Manufacturing Career Awareness Program”, an initiative that will give seventh-grade students from the nine communities surrounding the Pathfinder district the opportunity to tour partnering manufacturing facilities. Students will get hands-on experience to discover rewarding opportunities in manufacturing by participating in designing and creating real projects at Pathfinder.
11. Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester***** - $10,000

In partnership with the City of Worcester, the Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board, Worcester Public Schools, and the Blackstone Valley Education Foundation. 

This grant will allow the Central Massachusetts Manufacturing Experience & Outreach to continue its work to dispel misconceptions about the manufacturing industry by creating career exploration and immersion activities. For the first time in 2018, the partners will leverage resources from the STEM-Focused Internships for High School Students program and the CMWIB marketing campaign. Partners will also engage manufacturers with youth, parents, and teachers through social media.

12. South Shore Workforce Development Board Inc., Quincy - $8,000

In partnership with Symmons Industries Inc. and South Shore Vocational Technical High School. 

This grant will help establish a marketing advisory group with representation from local manufacturers, which will work on a public messaging campaign to dispel misconceptions about manufacturing careers. The program will help expose local schools to careers in manufacturing, and will provide veteran service representation and after-hours programs for students. The primary objective is to create a multi-year initiative that will promote manufacturing as a career option.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2017, MassDevelopment financed or managed 377 projects generating investment of more than $4.3 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 9,488 jobs and build or rehabilitate 1,863 residential units.