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

January 19, 2016


Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077 (cell)

MassDevelopment today announced 10 partnerships will receive AMP it up! matching grants to conduct outreach and other innovative programs that will educate young people and adults about career options in advanced manufacturing. In the fourth consecutive year of the program, MassDevelopment will provide awards totaling $98,363.40 to the 10 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 10 partnerships are: Berkshire Community College (Pittsfield), Cape Cod Community College (West Barnstable), Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board (Greenfield), Greater Lowell Workforce Investment Board (Lowell), Metro North Regional Employment Board (Cambridge), New Bedford Chamber of Commerce, North Central Massachusetts Economic Development Council (Fitchburg), Quinsigamond Community College (Worcester), Regional Employment Board of Hampden County (Springfield), and Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational Technical School (Billerica).

In a complementary effort to promote the attractiveness of careers in advanced manufacturing, MassDevelopment is also holding a second edition of the AMP it up! Video Challenge, which invites students to research the inner workings of an advanced manufacturing innovation and show in a three-minute video how it 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. One middle school, one high school, and one community college will each win $5,000 in funding for a total of $15,000 in prize money.

“These 10 partnerships have developed creative, thoughtful proposals – in conjunction with industry – to reach students, guidance counselors, and veterans about the great potential of manufacturing careers,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “This grant round and the AMP it up! Video Challenge will build on previous AMP it up! efforts to educate everyone about the opportunities in the Massachusetts advanced manufacturing industry and the increasing need for skilled workers to fill these high-paying jobs.”

The community-based programs that are receiving the awards include student internships, tours of advanced manufacturing companies, career awareness workshops, teacher and guidance counselor information sessions and externships with manufacturers, and other planned activities. 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 fourth round of grants builds on the successes of the campaign’s first, second, and third years. 

“Berkshire Community College is delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the AMP it up! program,” said Bill Mulholland, Vice President of Community Education & Workforce Development at Berkshire Community College. “As our community awaits the building of the new innovation center we want parents, teachers and students to know that advanced manufacturing in the Berkshires has an outstanding future!”

Omer Gingras, Vice President of C & G Machine Tool Company, said he is delighted to hear about resources to promote manufacturing careers in the Franklin Hampshire region, noting, “Precision manufacturing is alive and well in western Massachusetts and affords many rewarding career tracks, including machinists, quality control, machine programming, and engineering to name a few.”

“The Greater Lowell Workforce Board is looking forward to working with our educational and industry partners to further develop career pathways in manufacturing thanks to the efforts of MassDevelopment,” said Greater Lowell Workforce Development Board Director Gail Brown.

“We are thrilled to continue our work in introducing youth to the many exciting and viable career paths in advanced manufacturing today. The AMP it up! initiative is providing a much-needed service by educating youth, their families, teachers/guidance counselors, and other members of the community about the vastly changed manufacturing industry and the opportunities it presents,” says Joanna Dowling, Metro North Regional Employment Board Chair, and Director of Operations, The Custom Group, Woburn.

“The New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, The Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board and its Advanced Manufacturing partners are honored to have been selected as one of the grant recipients of the AMP it up! campaign,” said Ian Abreu, Manager of Workforce & Business Development at the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce. “These important grant funds will allow us to continue our advocacy work centered around careers in this booming industry. Here in New Bedford, Advanced Manufacturing currently makes up about 20% of our local workforce and is considered to be a priority industry. Building off of that momentum, while creating additional educational and workforce opportunities for this community, are the primary objectives of our mission.”

“North Central Massachusetts boasts the largest concentration of manufacturing in the state. One out of every five people employed in the region has a job in manufacturing. This AMP it up! award will be a great help to us in our ongoing efforts to support and grow this critical industry for the region,” said Roy Nascimento, president of the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation.

“We are excited for the next round of AMP it up! This initiative has been an integral part of our collective strategy in central Massachusetts goal to address misconceptions regarding career opportunities in advanced manufacturing,” said Kathy Rentsch, Dean for the QCC School for Business, Engineering & technology. “QCC and its partners will continue to outreach to parents, teachers, and career counselors. These individuals have the greatest influence over young adults and adults in career transition and their career pathways. We hope to stimulate creativity, innovation and interest in all aspects of this exciting career field from design to manufacture.”

“This grant will allow the Regional Employment Board, the regional advanced manufacturing companies and our educational partners to collaborate to expose middle school students to career pathways in advanced manufacturing, and create opportunities for counselors and teachers to build relationships with industry to support teaching and learning in the school,” said David Cruise, President and CEO of Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, Inc.

The partnerships below received grants for 2015-16. The number of asterisks (*) coincides with the number of previous years a partnership (or one or more members of the partnership) received funding through AMP it up!

Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield*** - $10,000

In partnership with Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, Berkshire Innovation Center, Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, BerkshireWorks Career Center, and Interprint Inc. 

These partners will expand on current outreach efforts to positively promote the region’s manufacturing industries and the high-technology careers available to a new generation of workers. Building on existing successful marketing activities supported by AMP it up! grant awards, the partners will expose middle and high school students, parents, and guidance counselors to career programs available at the region’s two vocational high schools, as well as the certificate and degree programs available at Berkshire Community College. The program includes tours at local manufacturers, video development, promotional materials for career fairs and robotics competitions, and billboard advertising to highlight the value of manufacturing careers.

Cape Cod Community College, West Barnstable - $9,977.40

In partnership with Sencorp White, Hydroid Inc., and Flexo Concepts

Cape Cod Community College will partner with three manufacturers to offer internships, job shadowing and mentoring, and facility tours to encourage students to pursue careers in advanced manufacturing. Internships will target second-year STEM students at the College and will take place in summer 2016.

Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, Greenfield** - $10,000

In partnership with C & G Machine Tool Company, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Greenfield Community College, and Millitech LLC,

This program will hold events for guidance counselors and school administrators to hear panel presentations about the import of Franklin County manufacturing, along with field trips for students to visit three area manufacturers. The partnership will also hold a “Celebrate Manufacturing” event in October and develop print and social media promotions to encourage participation.

Greater Lowell Workforce Development Board, Lowell - $10,000

In partnership with Excell Solutions Inc./Palace Manufacturing, King-Fisher Company, Somerset Industries, Wie Sic Machine, Lowell High School, Greater Lowell Technical High School, UMass Lowell Innovation Hub, Middlesex Community College, and Middlesex 3 Coalition

The organization’s advanced manufacturing awareness campaign will focus on guidance counselors at the two high schools, promoting advanced manufacturing careers with guest speakers, workshops, company and college tours, and an advanced manufacturing career fair.

Metro North Regional Employment Board, Cambridge*** - $10,000

In partnership with: The Center for Manufacturing Technology, Boston Centerless, United Electric Controls, Malden Teen Enrichment Center, and The Career Place

This partnership builds on an existing program to expose youth, their parents, and school personnel to advanced manufacturing career opportunities. The program will include a combination of information sessions on the industry, company tours, hands-on workshops, and an invitation for manufacturers to participate in high school career fairs.

New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, New Bedford** - $10,000

In partnership with Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board, Precix, Inc., Acushnet Company / Titleist, Five Star Manufacturing, and Lockheed Martin

This partnership will build on momentum to reach unemployed or underemployed veterans with site tours, employer roundtables, and discussions with manufacturing employees. These partners will work with local veterans’ affairs organizations to identify veterans seeking, jobs and provide manufacturing site tours and job shadowing opportunities.

North Central Massachusetts Economic Development Council, Fitchburg*** - $10,000

In partnership with Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC), Manufacturing Roundtable of North Central Massachusetts, and Fitchburg Public School System

These partners will provide tours of manufacturing companies to district superintendents, career counselors, and students to increase awareness of potential manufacturing careers. The partnership will also host roundtables for superintendents and business leaders to discuss and collaborate on educational issues, along with exploring creation of a teacher externship program.

Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester*** - $10,000

In partnership with Blackstone Valley Education Foundation, Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board, Community Development Training Institute, Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and Worcester Public Schools

This program will enhance the partnership’s AMP it up! activities with several initiatives, including a manufacturing maker event for Worcester Public Schools students, research on manufacturing resources for regional high schools, and professional development activities for teachers and guidance counselors. 

Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, Inc, Springfield*** - $8,393

In partnership with Western MA Chapter – National Tooling & Machining Association, and Holyoke Public Schools

These partners will conduct an awareness program with an Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathway Day for eighth grade female students attending regional vocational technical high schools and company tours for Holyoke middle school students to encourage advanced manufacturing career paths, such as enrollment at the William J. Dean Technical High School. Guidance counselors will also attend the Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathway Day and receive manufacturing awareness packets with a related DVD, fact sheet, web links, and contact list prior to the tours.

Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational School District, Billerica - $10,000

In partnership with the University of Massachusetts Lowell, The Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, and Excell Solutions Inc.

AMP it up! grant funds will support this partnership’s efforts to host Tech Jam 2016, which will feature hands-on demonstrations and interactive workshops for more than 100 middle school students. Partners will also hold an expert panel presentation on the viability of a career in today’s advanced manufacturing field and produce an informative video to highlight the industry.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2015, MassDevelopment financed or managed 294 projects generating investment of more than $2.5 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 6,100 jobs and build or rehabilitate about 2,000 residential units.