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.

Secretary Bialecki and President Asquino

Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki with MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino.

Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki and members of his team toured Nypro University on Dec. 11 to learn more about the unique academic and workforce training partnership between the Clinton-based manufacturer, MWCC and Fitchburg State University, as well as other economic initiatives in North Central Massachusetts.

Secretary Bialecki, Eric Nakajima, Senior Innovation Advisor with the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and Marybeth Campbell, Director of Education and Workforce Development with the Executive Offices of Education, Labor and Workforce Development and Housing and Economic Development, attended the tour.

Strengthening and accelerating the state’s economic recovery by supporting job creation in every region is a top priority of the Patrick-Murray Administration, and manufacturing remains a key component in the state’s goals for a 21st century innovation economy. “For Massachusetts to be prosperous, you absolutely have to think of manufacturing as a critical aspect,” Secretary Bialecki said.

The visit coincided with the monthly meeting of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturing CEO Roundtable. Nypro President and CEO Ted Lapres, Angelo Sabatalo, Corporate Director of Organizational Development and Training for Nypro University, MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino; MWCC Vice President of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development Jacqueline Belrose; and David McKeehan, President and CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce were among the local education, business and community representatives who helped facilitate the tour.

The tour provided the state officials with an overview of several long-standing initiatives, including the partnerships between higher education and industry for certificate, associate degree and bachelor degree programs; the award of college credit for certification in master molding; new mechanical aptitude testing equipment recently purchased by MWCC and Nypro; and the use of state Workforce Training Fund grants for effective employee training programs.

Highlights of the training programs at Nypro include two college certificates, one offered by MWCC and one offered by Fitchburg State, which transfer into an associate degree in manufacturing from MWCC and can then be transferred into a bachelor’s degree in industrial maintenance at the university; a master molding certification training that applies five college credits to an advanced processing and robotics certificate at MWCC; skills assessments using mechanical aptitude testing machines developed by Scientific Management Techniques and recently acquired by MWCC and Nypro.

“It’s all about partnerships,” President Asquino said. “Over the past several years, the college has helped area businesses secure more than $3 million in Workforce Training Fund grants, working with area organizations and manufacturers on topics ranging from Lean to project management and leadership skills.”