AMP it up! Matching Grants Total Nearly $110,000 For 11 Innovative Massachusetts Programs

December 12, 2013

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

Through the AMP it up! campaign that promotes advanced manufacturing as an attractive career path, MassDevelopment will for a second straight year issue matching grants to partnerships across the Commonwealth. In this second grant round, MassDevelopment will provide $108,950 in matching grants to 11 partnerships that consist of workforce investment boards, community colleges, and industry associations who will use funds to develop community-based programs and activities that educate students and the adults in their lives about career options in advanced manufacturing.

“Massachusetts is on the cutting-edge in terms of what states are doing to grow 21st-century manufacturing," said Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Assistant Secretary for Innovation Eric Nakajima. "By collaborating with industry leaders and academia, we can help ensure we have a new generation of manufacturers who are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary for challenging and satisfying careers in advanced manufacturing."

Projects range from regional robotics competitions and design workshops for Massachusetts youth to manufacturing externships for teachers, who will share their experiences with students.

"We're thrilled to provide AMP it up! grants to these 11 organizations, which have developed compelling and creative programs to help dispel misconceptions about manufacturing in Massachusetts and add skilled workers to the sector," said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. "MassDevelopment looks forward to seeing these organizations build on the first year of the campaign's success."

Grants went to the following organizations. A map of the recipients' locations along with contacts for the recipients can be found here. A press release detailing the first round of awards can be found here.

Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield: $10,000
Berkshire Community College, in partnership with the Berkshire Applied Technology Council, will use grant funds for the second phase of its public information campaign to promote the region’s manufacturing industry and high-tech careers. The campaign will use billboards, print advertisements, and videos to reach students and career influencers in the region. The 2014 phase will increase the scope of outreach by tying the billboards to print advertisements and social media. Berkshire Community College will also hold events to connect counselors, parents, and students with local manufacturers.

Boston Tooling & Machining Association, Haverhill: $10,000
The Boston Tooling & Machining Association (BTMA) will use the grant to create “Botify MA,” to set the ground work for a new regional program of the National Robotics League in Massachusetts. The program will engage teachers and industry partners in establishing student teams at area schools to design and build combat robots, which will compete in a Massachusetts event at the end of the grant period. The Association will work with the National Robotics League (NRL), Artisan’s Asylum, and Dependable Education Products Company (DEPCO) on this program.

Bristol Workforce Investment Board, Fall River: $10,000
The Bristol Workforce Investment Board will use grant funds to organize teacher externships with area manufacturers, an experience the teachers will share with students through lesson plans developed during the program. The organization will also build an advanced manufacturing career ladder document to provide general and regionally specific information to students and career counselors and develop an advanced manufacturing career center orientation. Partners in these efforts include Gold Medal Bakery, Carl’s Collision, Metalor Technologies, Career Centers of Bristol County, Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce, Bristol Community College, Fall River Public Schools, Attleboro Area School to Career Partnership, Taunton Area School to Career Inc., B&J Manufacturing, Sousa and Demayo, and Blount Fine Foods.

Brockton Area Workforce Investment Board, Brockton: $10,000
The Brockton Area Workforce Investment Board, partnering with the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Whitman-Hanson Regional High School, and Brockton Public Schools, will use the grant for a career exploration and training program, an AMP it up! workshop series, and a networking event for manufacturing firms and students. High school seniors and recent high school graduates will apply for the career exploration program; attend trainings and presentations; and receive a referral to a manufacturing partner for an employment experience.

Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, Greenfield: $9,999
Working with Greenfield Community College and The Literacy Project, the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board will work with young adults who are out of high school, underemployed, and do not have college degrees to raise awareness of opportunities in advanced manufacturing. The program will include a workshop, field trips to manufacturers, advertising displays, and posters and brochures for high schools and adult education programs.

Massachusetts Bay Community College, Wellesley Hills: $9,000
Massachusetts Bay Community College, working with the MetroWest STEM Education Network, will use the grant to build on the success of its “MetroWest Tinkershop” for students, parents, and guidance counselors. Participants will have access to sophisticated design tools such as CAD/CAM software and 3D rapid prototyping machines, and will experience engineering, design, and manufacturing.

Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board, Lawrence: $10,000
Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board’s grant program will use promotional materials developed during the first AMP it up! grant period to continue outreach to high school students from six local high schools enrolled in its Connecting Activities program and their parents. This year’s program will feature more job shadow days and site visits. Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board will partner with Lawrence High School, Lawrence High School Learning Center, Greater Lawrence Technical School, Arlington Middle School, Oliver Middle School, Methuen High School, Haverhill High School, Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, ValleyWorks Career Center, Arwood Machine Corporation, and Raytheon.

Metro North Regional Employment Board, Cambridge: $10,000
Metro North Regional Employment Board will use grant funds to design outreach efforts to encourage young women to pursue opportunities in advanced manufacturing. The program, which the organization expects will serve at least 100 young adults, will combine information sessions, company tours, job shadowing, and women in non-traditional careers as guest speakers. Partners include the Center for Manufacturing Technology, Boston Centerless, United Electric Controls, Madico, Malden Teen Enrichment Center, Boys and Girls Club of Middlesex County, The Career Place, and Career Source.

North Central Massachusetts Economic Development Council, Fitchburg: $10,000
The North Central Massachusetts Economic Development Council, working with Fitchburg State University 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. The Council will also continue its video series on advanced manufacturing careers and organize a Manufacturing Career Day event for fall 2014.

Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester: $10,000
Quinsigamond Community College will build on the work of a previous grant recipient, the Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board, to implement a family academy program to reach underserved communities with career and college information. The program includes employer testimonials; multilingual presentations; meetings in familiar places; and supports such as a communal dinner, homework help, and child care. With Worcester Public Schools, the Blackstone Valley Education Foundation, and the Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board as partners, Quinsigamond Community College will create two parent academies for Worcester and the Blackstone Valley.

Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, Springfield: $9,951
The Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, working with the Western Massachusetts Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association and Springfield High School, will use the grant for advanced manufacturing career awareness days for eighth graders who will enter a vocational high school in September 2014. Grant funds will also support the organization’s Pathways to Prosperity program, which creates a career pathway system to help to guide 36 participating high school freshmen through high school graduation; a degree or certificate in mechanical engineering technology from Springfield Technical Community College; and a career in advanced manufacturing.

MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2013, MassDevelopment financed or managed 350 projects generating investment of more than $2.4 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 7,000 jobs and build or rehabilitate 800 residential units.