Manufacturing roundtable slated for January at Tri-County

On Friday, January 24, 2014 at 9 am, Rep. Roy and Rep. John Fernandes are hosting a Manufacturing Roundtable at the Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School in Franklin, Massachusetts. Legislators from all 11 towns in the Tri-County area will also participate in the meeting.

Two hundred eighty nine manufacturers, representing employers in the 11 towns making up the Tr-iCounty school district, have been invited to participate in the discussion. They will meet to help address the skilled labor shortage that manufacturers in our area face. Tri-County is considering some options, but we are looking to the business community to help come up with workable solutions.

Manufacturing is vitally important to the Massachusetts economy. It is the sixth largest employment sector here, and is helping to lead us out of the recession. In Massachusetts, manufacturing contributes to more than 10 percent of gross state product (GSP). Currently there are 7,680 manufacturing establishments in Massachusetts that employ more than 275,000 residents. Over the next five years, manufacturing establishments are expected to expand their employment by an estimated 65 percent. In order to sustain this growth, we need to help by developing a strong nexus between educational and training opportunities and the specialized worker skills required by these companies to ultimately succeed.

The Tri-County meeting will be a forum to discuss partnering with manufacturing leaders to ensure that their companies have the tools and highly trained workforce they need to grow. The manufacturing of today involves expertise and training in technology, programming and streamlined production and we need to prepare and train people to work in this vital sector. What were once dark, gritty factories, are now high-tech, innovative facilities that provide good paying jobs to skilled and educated employees.

In order to facilitate the discussion, we have invited Eric Nakajima, the Assistant Secretary for Innovation Policy for the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, Bob Vozzella, the manufacturing manager at TE Connectivity and an instructor of manufacturing at Wentworth Institute, Steven Dockrey, Tri-County’s Superintendent, and representatives from MassDevelopment and the 495/MetroWest Partnership, to highlight ways in which we can come together to prepare a new generation of workers in this vital sector. Our efforts are supported by the Legislature’s recently-formed, bipartisan Manufacturing Caucus which serves as a link for legislators cutting across issues that affect the manufacturing industry. The Caucus is co-chaired by Rep. Fernandes and Sen. Richard Moore.

Those interested in participating are asked to by register by clicking here. They can also register by calling Christopher Yancich at 617-720-2400. We would like to get a final headcount by January 17th, 2014, so please RSVP before that day. An agenda and program materials will be forwarded to you prior to the meeting.

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