Amp It Up! Matching Grants Total Nearly $100,000 For 10 Innovative Programs Across Massachusetts

December 17, 2012

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077

Through the AMP it up! campaign that promotes advanced manufacturing as an attractive career path, MassDevelopment has provided $92,736 in matching grants to 10 organizations across the Commonwealth. These workforce investment boards, community colleges, and high schools will use grant funds to educate students and the adults in their lives about career options in advanced manufacturing. Through the community-based programs and activities that grant recipients developed, MassDevelopment will work with these organizations to dispel common misconceptions about today’s manufacturing and bolster the prospective employee base for these quality jobs. Projects range from tours of local manufacturing companies and design workshops for Massachusetts youth to manufacturing externships for teachers, who will share their experiences with students.

“Manufacturing has evolved over the years, and we need to engage with regional partners to help students explore careers within the industry,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, who launched AMP it up! with MassDevelopment in September 2012. “Through the AMP it up! grants, we will tap into various resources within community-based programs to further educate and inform students, teachers, and organizations about the range of opportunities advanced manufacturing will provide for this generation and future generations as we work towards sustainable and long-term economic growth.”

“The Patrick-Murray Administration’s long-term economic development plan includes the goal of connecting available workers with companies offering good jobs and solid careers, and manufacturing is a sector well-positioned for growth and expanding those connections,” said Greg Bialecki, the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development. “The regional programs supported by AMP it up! will create for young people and their families a new level of awareness of the opportunities and strong future of manufacturing in Massachusetts.”

“These programs are taking inventive steps toward dispelling misconceptions about manufacturing in Massachusetts and adding skilled workers to the sector,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “MassDevelopment looks forward to working with these organizations on that vision, showing the advanced and technology-based nature of today's manufacturing.”

Grants went to the following organizations. A map of the recipients’ locations along with contacts for the recipients can be found here.

Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield: $8,500
Berkshire Community College, in partnership with the Berkshire Applied Technology Council, will use grant funds to host a series of promotional outreach events and workshops to highlight the region’s manufacturing industries and high-technology careers. These evening events for parents, teachers, students, and guidance counselors will include presentations by local business and education leaders, and industry tours during which participants can experience a high-tech, modern workplace.

Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board, Worcester: $10,000
The Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board will use the grant to enhance its summer externship program, “Connecting Activities,” reaching more math and science teachers and guidance counselors, and turning the focus of the program in summer 2013 to externships at manufacturing companies in central Massachusetts. Teachers will then share what they learned at the externships with students. The Blackstone Valley Education Foundation and Worcester Public Schools will partner with the Board.

Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board, New Bedford: $9,990
The Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board, Inc. will use grant funds to create a multi-platform awareness campaign for career counselors, parents, community organizations, youth programs, teachers, and students. Outreach to these groups will include surveys, roundtable discussions, industry-leader presentations, career fairs, tours, and teacher externships. The New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, New Bedford Public Schools, Bristol Community College, United Interfaith Action, and several manufacturing companies are partners, including, Precix and Five Star Manufacturing, Acushnet Company/Titleist, and Lockheed Martin.

Massachusetts Bay Community College, Wellesley Hills: $7,000
Massachusetts Bay Community College, working with the MetroWest STEM Education Network, will use the grant to create a “MetroWest Tinkershop” for middle and high school students, along with their parents and guidance counselors. Participants will have access to sophisticated design tools such as CAD/CAM software and 3D rapid prototyping machines, and will learn about advances in manufacturing by experiencing stages of engineering, design, and manufacturing.

Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board, Lawrence: $10,000
Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board’s grant program will target the 300 high school students enrolled in its Connecting Activities program and their parents, reaching them with promotional materials such as brochures, posters, bilingual public service announcements. The program will also include presentations by local manufacturers, small group counseling sessions, career fairs, and job shadowing. Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board will partner with ValleyWorks Career Center, Lawrence High School, Lawrence High School Learning Center, Greater Lawrence Technical School, Methuen High School, Haverhill High School, Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, Arwood Machine Corporation, and Raytheon.

Metro North Regional Employment Board, Cambridge: $10,000
Metro North Regional Employment Board will use grant funds to introduce GED students to advanced manufacturing, using a combination of information sessions for youth, career centers, and youth program staff; a workshop on math and measurements; company tours; and hands-on exposure to machining at training sites. The project will also include marketing materials for schools, parents, and career centers. Partners are the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium, American Training, Launch GED/Mystic Learning Center, Wakefield Public Schools, Just A Start YouthBuild, The Career Place, and Career Source.

North Central Massachusetts Economic Development Council, Fitchburg: $10,000
The North Central Massachusetts Economic Development Council, working with Mount Wachusett Community College and the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, will use the grant to conduct a series of manufacturing facility tours, scheduled during evenings or weekends when parents of students considering manufacturing careers are available. Students and parents will see the work environment firsthand, hear from employees about benefits and opportunities in the industry, and learn about skills they may need to obtain to enter the workforce.

North Shore Workforce Investment Board, Salem: $10,000
The North Shore Workforce Investment Board will use grant funds to hold day-long, in-depth field research experiences for teachers at area manufacturing companies. The companies will pair teachers with at least one company expert who will work together to schedule school visits to the facility and develop classroom activities that can help students see professional applications. Tours will also be available to students interested in manufacturing careers. North Shore Technology Council, Northeast Regional Readiness Center, and North Shore Community College will partner with the Board.

Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School, Palmer: $10,000
Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School, in partnership with Ware Junior-Senior High School, the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, and Palmer High School, will use the grant to offer use of its state-of-the-art machine shop for a program called “Precision Machining Opportunities in Massachusetts.” In separate sessions, eight eighth-grade students from three area schools will participate in intense hands-on instruction and career awareness in the machining trade. Funds will cover costs of instruction, transportation, and materials for participants.

Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, Springfield: $7,246
The Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, working with the Western Massachusetts Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association, will use the grant to develop informational brochures for the area’s five vocational and technical high schools. The brochure will include a letter from the president of a precision manufacturing company in the school’s area, company visuals, and testimonies from the June 2013 graduates of the Machine Tool Technology program in each school who are employed full-time in precision manufacturing companies.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2012, MassDevelopment financed or managed 280 projects generating investment of more than $2.3 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 12,000 jobs and build or rehabilitate 900 residential units.