UMass Donahue Institute Finds More Than 6,000 People Work in Devens

Community Contributed Nearly $3.8 Billion to Massachusetts Economy

August 31, 2020


Louisa Stone, MassDevelopment, 857-283-3340 (cell)

The University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute has issued its fifth report touting the economic impacts of Devens, the 4,400-acre former U.S. Army base in north central Massachusetts that MassDevelopment has redeveloped into a sustainable and thriving mixed-use community. The UMass Donahue Institute report found that Devens businesses, nonprofits, and governmental organizations employ more than 6,000 workers. In addition to these jobs, the economic activities of private and nonprofit entities in Devens supported employment of another 8,038 workers in Massachusetts. An estimated $2.3 billion in direct economic activity by private and nonprofit organizations in Devens supported additional spending of $1.5 billion in local supply chains for a total contribution of nearly $3.8 billion to the Massachusetts economy in 2019.

“MassDevelopment is proud of the nearly 100 companies and organizations that have chosen Devens as their home and are powering the transformation of this former military base into a thriving mixed-use community and economic engine in the Commonwealth,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “Devens’ central location, ready infrastructure and fast-track permitting, and other amenities like housing, hotels, open space for recreation, and more continue to make it an attractive place for dynamic enterprises to locate and grow.”

“Over the years, the UMass Donahue Institute’s analyses of Devens have produced valuable metrics about our community’s economic activity and contributions,” said MassDevelopment Executive Vice President of Devens Jessica Strunkin. “This latest report shows steady and continued growth in Devens that benefits north central Massachusetts by creating high-paying jobs, increasing economic activity for existing regional businesses, and raising the economic profile of this beautiful and talent-filled region of the Commonwealth.”

“Devens is a critical economic asset and employment hub for the Commonwealth, playing an important role in providing businesses a location where they can expand and scale in Massachusetts,” said Mark Melnik, Director of Economic and Public Policy Research at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute. “With 6,000 jobs on the site, activities taking place at Devens give rise to 14,000 jobs when spin-off effects are included, as well as a nearly four billion dollar contribution to the Massachusetts’ economy. Devens’ diverse mix of industries, including manufacturing, R&D, pharmaceuticals, distribution, and food processing provides Devens a certain level of resilience as Massachusetts, the nation, and the world weathers the storm brought upon by the global pandemic.”

The UMass Donahue Institute’s 2020 report is an update of previous reports published by the organization in 2016, 2014, 2013, and 2012.

  2020 2016 2014 2013 2012
Total employment 6,092 4,977 4,030 3,634 3,208
Business demographics
- Private
- Nonprofit
- Government
98 total
102 total
91 total
87 total
95 total
Employee wages $547.7 million
$415.8 million
$300 million
$251 million
(2012 Q3)
$220 million
Average wages $89,898
MA: $87,770
MA: $64,094
MA: $60,892
MA: $57,304
MA: $57,799
Private sector employment 5,192 
(about 85%)
(about 80%)
(about 74%)
(about 73%)
(about 67%)


Located in north central Massachusetts, Devens is a 4,400-acre mixed-use community and an award-winning model for military base reuse. After serving as the U.S. Army’s New England headquarters for 79 years, Fort Devens was closed in 1996. Since then, MassDevelopment has worked to transform this site into a sustainable and thriving mixed-use community, providing municipal services, education, environmental protection, and infrastructure improvements to support continued redevelopment and job creation.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth. During FY2019, MassDevelopment financed or managed 316 projects generating investment of more than $2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 9,743 jobs and build or preserve 1,992 housing units.