Devens

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.

Approximately 100 members of the North Central Massachusetts business community joined Mount Wachusett Community College to celebrate the second annual National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 4 and the opening of the Manufacturing Workforce Certification Center at the college’s Devens campus.

Mount Wachusett Community College hosted an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony at its Devens campus during the second annual National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 4 Pictured, from left Nashoba Valley President and CEO Melissa Fetterhoff, MWCC Devens campus director Julie Crowley, MWCC workforce development staff Bill Blais, John Henshaw, and Vice President Jacqueline Belrose, MWCC President Daniel Asquino, Liz Penney, director of member services and programs for the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, and Kerrie Griffin of MWCC.

The open house, also sponsored by Mass Development, Amp it Up, and the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce, also included exhibitions and displays as well as a presentation by Dr. John R. Mullin, associate director of the Center for Economic Development at UMass Amherst, sponsored by the North Central Massachusetts Economic Development Council in partnership with the Manufacturing CEO Roundtable.

The development of the center has been made possible through the Massachusetts Community Colleges and Workforce Development Transformation Agenda, which is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor through its TAACCCT program. The center provides industry-recognized assessments to companies looking to evaluate current and potential staff in the areas of mechanical, electrical and programmable logic circuitry skills. 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.

In addition, the center provides space and tools to provide hands-on experience to participants seeking skills recognized by industry as critical to their success, as well as a venue for industry meetings and workshops and a resource to the region.

New short-term training programs that lead to industry credentials including OSHA certification and the National Career Readiness Certification were recently added to the Devens campus offerings. Applications for a new training session beginning this month are now being accepted.

The need for more advanced training in the area of analytical testing and quality control and assurance has been recognized by a recently announced award from the National Science Foundation to Mount Wachusett that will enable the college to develop programming that will lead to a new credit degree in Analytical and Quality Technology.

Mount Wachusett Community College is offering a six-week, non-credit Manufacturing Career Preparation Program to provide certifications and training geared toward gaining entry level employment in biomedical device and other manufacturing operations.

The program, which begins July 8 at MWCC’s Devens campus, has been developed through direct interaction with companies currently seeking employees. Free information sessions about the program will take place June 4 at 2 p.m. and June 5 at 5:30 p.m. at MWCC’s Devens campus, 27 Jackson Road.

Topics covered in the certification and training program will include computer skills, communications for business, OSHA safety training, basic mechanical systems, blueprint reading, measurements and troubleshooting, lean manufacturing, supply chain management and career pathways.

The program is supported by the Massachusetts Community Colleges and Workforce Development Transformation Agenda, which is funded by a U.S. Department of Labor grant that brings together Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges, the Commonwealth’s adult basic education and workforce development systems, career centers and industry stakeholders to prepare dislocated and under-skilled workers for the emerging, knowledge-based economy.

As part of the state-wide initiative, MWCC supports students along efficient career pathways by helping them attain degrees, certificates and industry recognized credentials through accelerated programs linked closely to industry need in healthcare, biotechnology, business (bookkeeping), and information technology.

“It is the mission of all community colleges, including Mount Wachusett Community College, to provide students with an entry to the skilled workforce,” said Jacqueline Belrose, Vice-President of Life Long Learning and Workforce Development. “We are using the Transformation Agenda to develop pathways to employment and we are also providing supports to address the significant barriers to access and completion that many students face.”

The cost of the certification and training program is $3,500. Scholarship funds are available for eligible and qualified candidates. For more information about the program, job prospects and to register for a one-hour information session, call 978-630-9569 or email mlevasseur3@mwcc.mass.edu.