advanced manufacturing

By Sam Bonacci

In the last two years, successful workforce development programs at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Mount Wachusett Community College have been built around one thing: real-world conditions and equipment that create skills that can be directly applied to the workplace.

WPI’s Biomanufacturing Education & Training Center (BETC) got its start with a fundamentals program in 2007 that has prepared 800 people for biomanufacturing work. The program allowed people looking to launch careers in that hot field to take a class in the basics of the industry. That program is still in place, but represents only a small portion of the training held there today. Since the completion of lab space at the Prescott Street facility in 2013, a new emphasis has been placed on continuing education for those already in the field.

”This (facility) takes into account all aspects of biomanufacturing … it is all covered under one roof,” said Kamal Rashid, director of the BETC, who explained that the equipment creates an “industrial experience,” reflecting exactly what’s being used at manufacturers around the country.

In a field with tight federal controls, continuous training is not an option but a necessity, Rashid said. The center offers training that companies can’t do with their own equipment — due to such issues as contamination concerns — or that need to be taught to larger groups. These group trainings not only accelerate individual advancement, but create more talent and expertise for a company, helping a company be more productive, Rashid says. Cross-training employees so they’re familiar with multiple aspects of the process can help accelerate a company’s growth.

”Getting from the door to the floor can be faster if they go through a training at our facility, but it is also for people who have been in the industry … (companies) want them to get acquainted with the recent developments,” Rashid said. “Training is not an end result … training is an ongoing thing.”

The proof of the concept for WPI lies in its corporate partners who send their people to learn. The program has a nearly two-year partnership with Biogen, and more than 26 companies, from as far away as Illinois, have sent their employees to Worcester for training, Rashid said.

Meanwhile, Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) offers programs to help the advanced manufacturing industry, whose businesses have reported having a hard time finding qualified employees. MWCC recently shared a $15.9 million U.S. Department of Labor grant with four other colleges, and has been undertaking the Advanced Manufacturing Industry Readiness Training program, shared with three other institutions.

“We are providing the skilled workforce and changing the perception so that people who might not think of it as a career can understand the benefits,” said Jacqueline Belrose, MWCC’s vice president of lifelong learning and workforce development, who oversees the grant.

While the WPI program ranges from a day to a week for the continuing education classes, MWCC’s runs six weeks. The college’s programs are designed to prepare people for manufacturing careers, allowing people to get training, then return for more training to help them advance. Key to this program is an understanding of the equipment, which is why it’s important to be using the same equipment the students will use after graduation, Belrose said.

The program has been growing as word spreads, Belrose said, with 106 graduates since 2013. It also helps that it’s free because of the grant. The program has also proved popular with employers. At the recent graduation ceremony, recruiters from local companies were on site doing interviews.

Eric Longo, the vice president of manufacturing at Bemis Associates, an international firm with operations in Shirley, sits on the advisory board for the MWCC’s program, which allows Bemis to help develop the curriculum.

“We have an aging workforce in New England as it relates to manufacturing skills and we have to re-invigorate the next generations of employees to be aware of the opportunities in manufacturing but also have the skill set to meet the needs of the employers,” he said.

Injectronics of Clinton has partnered with MWCC to find new employees. Human resources manager Karen Hartwell said there has been increasing competition for qualified employees, particularly in medical device manufacturing. “For the first time in years, turnover is increasing at the production level due to recruitment from other companies,” she said. “This has typically occurred in technical or engineering levels, but now has impacted the production levels as well increasing the challenge to attract and retain experienced staff.”

Like MWCC, WPI sees widening demand for its offerings.

”There are about 1,600 biotech companies in the United States and we want all of them to know about us,” Rashid said. “Our aim is first to respond to the needs of Massachusetts, then nationwide, and our president looks to the globalization of WPI, so we will go global.”

advanced manufacturing grads April 2015

MWCC Career Development Coaches Christian Reifsteck and Meghan Koslowski, front row, at right, with the newest graduates of MWCC’s ongoing Advanced Manufacturing Career Preparation program, from left: Chad McCarthy, Paul Kanga, James Nason, Shane Murray, Bill Cohan, Marciel Vargas and Jim Concannon.

Recent graduates of Mount Wachusett Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Career Preparation program met special guests at their recognition ceremony – their potential employers.

Recruiters and human resource professionals from Nypro, Bemis Associates, Injectronics, RockTenn and Boutwell Owens were at the college’s Devens campus on April 9 to congratulate the new graduates and speak with them about job opportunities at their companies.

Julie Crowley, regional manager for the national grant funding the project, said the matchmaking is one service of the six-week program, currently free to qualifying students through a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration.

“We know this isn’t about just getting a job. This is going to be a career path,” Crowley said.

The training program is designed especially for unemployed or underemployed adults, veterans and recent high school graduates who want to train for careers the manufacturing industry. Programs provide students with training in skills required for entry-level employment in positions such as technicians in manufacturing, validation, quality control, documentation, and process operations. Students who successfully complete the program will earn an MWCC Certificate of Completion, an OSHA 10-hour Safety Certification and the National Career Readiness Certificate, while learning about working in the fast-growing manufacturing field.

Following stints in restaurants and lumberyards, plumbing and some manufacturing, 22-year-old Shane Murray of Fitchburg enrolled in the program to gain training and certification to build a career, he said. “I just needed a change and this was the perfect thing I needed. I’m glad I made this decision.”

Marciel Vargas, 38 worked in textile manufacturing in the Dominican Republic and holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from her native country. After moving to the U.S. a decade ago, she honed her English skills, raised her family and worked part-time as a tax preparer. When her children entered school, the Fitchburg resident decided it was time to re-enter the workforce.  In addition to gaining employment, her goal is to become licensed in industrial engineering in Massachusetts within two years. She said she considers the MWCC training program an important rung in the ladder to get there.

“I enjoy the challenge of the work. I like to make things and there’s a variety of things you can do in manufacturing,” she said. “Even though you may be working on one specific product, there are a lot of things going on in the process.”

In addition to Murray and Vargas, other recent graduates are Chad McCarthy of Westminster, James Nason of Phillipston, Paul Kanga of Worcester, Jim Concannon of Fitchburg and Bill Cohan of Westford.

Lauren Beckner, human resources coordinator for Injectronics, said the medical device manufacturing company recently tapped into the training program for two components – blueprint reading and quality boot camp – to help an incumbent worker gain skills in order to be promoted.

Through the TAACCCT grant, the programs will continue to be offered for free for the next 18 months to prepare students to directly enter the workplace. The sessions include training in basic machines and robotics, measurement techniques, electronics, Lean,Six Sigma, Work Keys, quality/clean room processes, blueprint reading and success skills. Students can further their education in the manufacturing field through MWCC’s new academic certificate and associate degree programs in Analytical Laboratory & Quality Systems, and earn transferrable credits toward a bachelor’s degree.

An upcoming, two-week Quality Boot Camp training will begin on April 27. The upcoming six-week, 180-hour Advanced Manufacturing Career Preparation program will begin on May 11. This program is open to students who do not already have a college degree. The course includes hands-on work with robotics and other equipment, as well as self-paced KeyTrain curriculum leading to the National Career Readiness Certification. Additional six-week sessions will take place throughout the year.

For more information about enrolling in the training program, contact Career Development Coaches Christian Reifsteck or Meghan Koslowski at 978-630-9883 or email creifsteck@mwcc.mass.edu.

Bionostics Floyd 2Mount Wachusett Community College is recruiting adults of all ages, experience and education for training in the growing field of advanced manufacturing. Full scholarships are available for eligible students who enroll in an upcoming six-week day program, which begins on Feb. 9 at MWCC’s Devens campus.

Manufacturing accounts for nearly 25 percent of the workforce in North Central Massachusetts, employing more than 14,000 people in the region. The demand for skilled workers continues to grow as a result of new opportunities and the retirement of older workers.

The training program is designed especially for unemployed or underemployed adults, veterans and recent high school graduates who want to train for careers the manufacturing industry. Programs provide students with training in skills required for entry-level employment as technicians in manufacturing, validation, quality control, documentation, process operations and more.

Students who successfully complete the program will earn an MWCC Certificate of Completion, an OSHA 10-hour Safety Certification and the National Career Readiness Certificate, while learning about working in the fast-growing manufacturing field.

The six-week, 180-hour Advanced Manufacturing Career Preparation program will take place Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. This program is open to students who do not already have a college degree. The course includes hands-on, lecture-based material as well as self-paced KeyTrain curriculum leading to the National Career Readiness Certification.

Students must possess a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent. Students will have access to staff members who will assist them with the registration process, facilitate access to support services, and help them with their search for employment when they have completed the certificate program successfully. Tutoring and job search support is also available.

The training program is made possible through a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration. Tuition support is provided by a Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund grant awarded through the North Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board by Commonwealth Corporation on behalf of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

For more information about enrolling in the training program, contact the Devens campus at 978-630-9569 or email Career Development Coach Christian Reifsteck at creifsteck@mwcc.mass.edu.

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas speaks with Mount Wachusett Community College biotechnology students Dana Procell and Savannah Cooke during a tour of the college’s Devens campus Monday. The Congresswoman joined state and college officials to celebrate the start of Manufacturing Week.

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas speaks with Mount Wachusett Community College biotechnology students Dana Procell and Savannah Cooke during a tour of the college’s Devens campus Monday. The Congresswoman joined state and college officials to celebrate the start of Manufacturing Week.

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rachel Kaprielian, and dozens of regional business and community leaders gathered at Mount Wachusett Community College’s Devens campus on Monday, Sept. 29 to celebrate the start of Manufacturing Week.

The event marked the success to date of a $15.9 million multi-year Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant MWCC and three partnering schools in Ohio, Louisiana and Tennessee received last fall to develop and expand advanced manufacturing programs in partnership with industry.

Governor Deval Patrick proclaimed Sept. 29 through Oct. 3 as Advanced Manufacturing Week in Massachusetts, underscoring the administration’s support of the robust advanced manufacturing industry and its workforce throughout the Commonwealth. The week-long celebration coincides with national efforts to promote the role advanced manufacturing plays in the economy, with the third annual National Advanced Manufacturing Day being celebrated on October 3.

“It is both gratifying and timely to see North County manufacturing experiencing a renaissance,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “We are grateful for the Congressional assistance we received to be the lead institution with three other colleges to develop curriculum in conjunction with employers’ needs. We have seen 70-percent placement among our 82 graduates and are amazed at the opportunities in North Central Massachusetts for mid-level employees.”

As she visits companies throughout her district, Congresswoman Tsongas said she is “constantly struck by the level of innovation” she sees among industry and public partnerships. Mount Wachusett “is committed to educating the workforce, the young people and the not so young, is committed to being a partner with local businesses, and is mindful of the true manufacturing skillset needed,” she said.

“Manufacturing is thriving and growing in all parts of the state, not just in Boston,” Secretary Bialecki said. “Schools like Mount Wachusett are listening to businesses and understanding what it means to train people for 21st century advanced manufacturing careers.”

Secretary Kaprielian quipped that “every day should be manufacturing day” because of the industry’s enduring significance to the state’s economic development. “This is not your grandfather’s manufacturing, and it is not dirty, polluting or imported. It is knowledge-based with a career ladder,” she said. “Nowhere are you training people better than at the community college level. Mount Wachusett is an example for the rest of the state.”

President Asquino welcomes students and job seekers to the college’s Manufacturing Day expo, held Oct. 3 at the Devens campus.

President Asquino welcomes students and job seekers to the college’s Manufacturing Day expo, held Oct. 3 at the Devens campus.

The manufacturing week kick-off event included a tour of the college’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center and biotechnology labs. Speakers also included State Senator Jamie Eldridge, State Rep. Stephen DiNatale and Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke.

The event also coincided with Monday’s White House announcement that the Massachusetts Community Colleges Consortia will receive an additional $20 million grant under the final round of TAACCCT funding. The 15-member group, led by Massasoit Community College, received the grant to continue advancing state-wide initiatives addressing the training and educational needs in the STEM fields – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – as well as advanced manufacturing and healthcare. The Consortium was awarded the highest-funded of 66 U.S. DOL grants.

At MWCC, the new round of funding will be used to create and enhance certificate programs in career readiness, hospitality, cyber security, information technology and other areas.

In recognition of National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 3, MWCC’s Devens campus hosted an Advanced Manufacturing Career Expo. Attendees toured the manufacturing and skills-training labs and participated in hands-on exercises and individual information sessions.

Mount Wachusett Community College is hosting an Advanced Manufacturing Career Expo on Friday, Oct. 3 in recognition of National Manufacturing Day.

The career expo will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in MWCC’s Manufacturing Workforce Certification Center, located at the college’s Devens campus, 27 Jackson Road. Registration begins at 11 a.m., followed by opening remarks at 11:30 and ongoing tours, demonstrations and table displays beginning at 11:45.

Serving as a networking and informational event, the expo will bring together industry representatives and job seekers. Participating companies will accept résumés and highlight career options and training programs. Attendees can tour the manufacturing and skills-training labs and participate in hands-on exercises and individual information sessions.

MWCC opened the Manufacturing Workforce Certification Center in fall 2013 in response to the increasing demand for production workers. Manufacturing accounts for nearly 25 percent of the workforce in North Central Massachusetts, employing more than 14,000 people in the region. The college offers a variety of credit and noncredit STEM programs at its Devens campus, including the Advanced Manufacturing Industrial Readiness Training program, the Analytical Laboratory & Quality Systems Certificate program and associate degree and academic certificate programs in biotechnology/biomanufacturing.

The career expo is free, although reservations are required. To reserve a seat, call978-630-9569 or email Julie Crowley, TAACCCT III Regional Project Manager, atjcrowley@mwcc.mass.edu.

manufacturingThe long-standing collaboration between MWCC, the North Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board, and industry is showcased as a model demonstrating best practices for building and sustaining regional partnership in a new video created by the Advanced Manufacturing Regional Partnership Academy (AMRPA).

MWCC, known for its well established partnerships with corporations such as Nypro and Bristol-Myers Squibb and the recipient of a recent $15.9 million, multi-state grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, is featured in the video along with the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, the North Central Workforce Investment Board and Nypro, Inc.

MWCC’s vice President of Lifelong Learning Jacqueline Belrose; Dean of Workforce Development John Henshaw; Kathleen Kirby, National Consortium Project Manager of of the TAACCCT-funded Advanced Manufacturing & Quality Consortium, are among the college officials interviewed in the video. The video was one of three unveiled during an AMRPA meeting in June.

The academy brings together manufacturers, workforce investment boards and academia to help regions throughout the state develop sustainable and effective partnerships that respond to industry needs.

Established by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2013 to accelerate the adoption of best practices, capacity building and industry engagement, the academy is a collaborative effort of the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Executive Office of Education, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, and the University of Massachusetts. The academy is funded by MassDevelopment through the Advanced Manufacturing Futures Fund.

 

 

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Mount Wachusett Community College is recruiting adults of all ages, experience and education for training in the growing field of advanced manufacturing. Full scholarships are available for eligible students who enroll in an upcoming six-week day program or five-week evening program that will be offered at MWCC’s Devens campus.

Students who successfully complete either program will earn an MWCC Certificate of Completion, OSHA 10-hour Safety Certification and the National Career Readiness Certificate.

The six-week Advanced Manufacturing Industrial Readiness Training will meet Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Classes will begin on April 28, and a second session will be offered beginning on June 9. The course includes hands-on, lecture-based material as well as self-paced KeyTrain curriculum leading to the National Career Readiness Certification.

Information sessions for the day program will take place at MWCC’s Devens campus, 27 Jackson Road, on April 10 and April 15 at 10 a.m.

The five-week, 75-hour Medical Device Manufacturing Program will meet Monday through Thursday from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. The course will be offered April 22 through May 22, and again from May 27 through June 27.

Information sessions for the evening program will take place at the Devens campus from 6 to 9 p.m. on April 7, April 14 and April 16.

The training programs are designed especially for unemployed or underemployed adults, veterans and recent high school graduates who want to train for careers in medical device manufacturing and related industries. Programs provide students with training in skills required for entry-level employment as technicians in manufacturing, validation, quality control, documentation, process operations and more.

Students must possess a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent. Students will have access to staff members who will assist them with the registration process, facilitate access to support services, and help them with their search for employment when they have completed the certificate program successfully. Tutoring and job search support is also available.

Manufacturing accounts for nearly 25 percent of the workforce in North Central Massachusetts, employing more than 14,000 people in the region. The demand for skilled workers continues to grow as a result of new opportunities and the retirement of older workers.

Both programs are funded through the U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program. The evening program is also funded by a grant to MWCC and Operon Resource Management by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Rapid Response Program.

For more details about the program or to register for an information session, call 978-630-9569.

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki toured the Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Certification Center at Mount Wachusett Community College’s Devens campus on Feb. 27.

During the tour, a live training class was in session, providing a firsthand glimpse of the hard work that occurs at the center on a daily basis. The tour highlighted the center’s ability to provide space and tools for hands-on experience to participants seeking skills recognized by their industry as critical to their success.

“These centers are the driving forces behind providing our workforce with the skills they need to compete, and are a critical part of the reason why Massachusetts is leading the nation in growing a 21st century advanced manufacturing sector,” said Secretary Bialecki. “We remain committed to supporting this vital industry and ensuring a strong manufacturing workforce for our future.”

“Mount Wachusett Community College is proud to be recognized as an educational leader that delivers quality, advanced level training to learners of all ages. We are fortunate to be selected as stewards of federal and state resources that enable us to build upon our successful community and industry partnerships, in collaboration with the Commonwealth, to bring the very best training opportunities to our regional workforce,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino.

The center is funded in part by the federal $20 million Community Colleges grant, provides industry-recognized assessments to companies looking to evaluate current and potential staff in the areas of mechanical, electrical and programmable logic circuitry skills.The center also serves as a venue for industry meetings and workshops and is a resource to the region.

MWCC was also chosen as the recipient of a grant in 2012 as part of Governor Patrick’s Community College initiative to put more people in Massachusetts back to work and to strengthen the connections between community colleges, employers and the workforce.The $272,000 grant was used to increase college readiness and ultimate attendance rates, improvement of student success at the College and a new commitment to civic engagement activity.

Other assessments, including the nationally recognized WorkKeys program, are available to employers. Curriculum designed to meet specific incumbent worker training needs is also available, as is the ability to work with companies to develop grant proposals for training through the state Workforce Training Fund.

Prior to the tour, Secretary Bialecki led a roundtable discussion with the North Central Advanced Manufacturing Consortia, comprised of workforce, education and employer partners to discuss the partnership work to support manufacturing in the region and future plans, including an update on the current Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, grants from the U.S. Department of Labor, and Rapid Response grants.

This meeting is one in a series taking place at manufacturing sites across the Commonwealth to discuss regional manufacturing partnerships. These partnerships are led by workforce, education and business leaders who are working together to train entry level workers to increase the talent pipeline and training incumbent workers as part of succession planning for hundreds of manufacturers across the state.

MWCC president Daniel M. Asquino has announced the leadership team that will oversee a $15.9 million, multi-state TAACCCT grant initiative. Newly appointed team leaders include business executive Dennis Bunnell, industry consultant; National Consortium Project Manager Kathleen M. Kirby; Regional Consortium Project Manager Julie Crowley; and lead national director Jacqueline Belrose, MWCC’s Vice President of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development.

Mount Wachusett Community College President Daniel M. Asquino has announced the appointment of the leadership team that will oversee a multi-state, $15.9 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Labor to expand career opportunities in advanced manufacturing.

In September, the D.O.L  awarded $475 million in Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants to community colleges and universities around the country for the development and expansion of innovative training programs in partnership with local employers. The grants are part of a multi-year, $2 billion initiative to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers.

MWCC, as the lead institution, and its partners Southwest Tennessee Community College, North Central State College in Ohio, and Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana, received funding to create the Advanced Manufacturing, Mechatronics, and Quality Consortium to help job seekers quickly obtain training and credentials in the advanced manufacturing fields of Mechatronics and Quality career pathways.

Kathleen M. Kirby, Ph.D., who most recently served as executive director of CONNECT, a consortium of public colleges and universities in Southeastern Massachusetts, has been appointed national consortium project manager. Julie Crowley, who has worked in MWCC’s Division of Life Long Learning and Workforce Development for over 15 years, most recently as director of the college’s Devens campus, has been appointed regional consortium project manager.

Jacqueline Belrose, MWCC’s Vice President of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development, will serve in the lead role as the project’s national director. Business executive Dennis R. Bunnell will serve as the project’s industry consultant and will chair its Advanced Manufacturing Advisory Board.

As executive director of CONNECT, a consortium of public colleges and universities in Southeastern Massachusetts, Kirby worked to bring curriculum into alignment with industry needs in Life Sciences, Manufacturing, and Health Care by bringing higher education leaders together with CEOs in industry and workforce. In this capacity, she developed a plan for a $5 million education and training center in Taunton, funded by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

Kirby also brings significant experience in grants management and program development. She previously served as director of the grants office at Bridgewater State University and as manager of foundation support for NH Public Television, a division of the University of New Hampshire. She earned a Ph.D. in Modern Studies and a master’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and a bachelor’s degree in English and Art from Syracuse University.

Crowley joined MWCC in 1996 as a coordinator of adult basic education services at the Devens site, and went on to oversee adult basic education literacy programs in Devens, Leominster, Gardner and Fitchburg. She was appointed director of the Devens campus in 2006 to oversee credit and non-credit programming.

As a non-traditional student, she is keenly aware of the challenges and barriers facing students today and is passionate about developing strategies to help students overcome challenges and build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

Crowley earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is currently pursuing her MBA in management. She serves on the executive board of the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce and participates actively in chamber events across the region.

Bunnell has held senior management positions in finance, human resources, strategic planning, sales, marketing, and operations for major paper manufacturers. He has extensive international executive experience serving on global management leadership teams for multinational, European-based manufacturing companies while directing their North American operations.

Bunnell was the president and CEO of Munksjö Paper in Fitchburg for nine years before leaving to re-start an idled paper manufacturing company in New York State at the request of NYS’s Empire Development Corp.

While in Fitchburg, he was active in the community, participating in regional development initiatives including serving on the board of directors of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and serving as a trustee of the Fitchburg Art Museum. He facilitated a Manufacturing CEO Roundtable for seven years, and was a founding member of the CEO Club of Boston. He  previously served on Gov. Mitt Romney’s Regional Competitiveness Council for Central Massachusetts. He earned a B.A. in Economics from Otterbein College and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.