Massachusetts Wins $3.2M DoD Grant to Develop National Model for Manufacturing Technician Training
Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Federal Award During Virtual Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative Meeting
Highlights the Launch of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing at MassTech
New Projects Highlight Importance of Sector during Mass. Manufacturing Month
BOSTON – During a meeting of the Commonwealth’s Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative (AMC) on Wednesday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that Massachusetts has been awarded a new $3.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Manufacturing Technology Program (DoD ManTech) to develop a manufacturing technician training program that will serve as a national model. During the meeting, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, a co-chair of the AMC, announced the award, known as “MassBridge,” which will develop and test a state-based training and career pathway model for manufacturing technicians that meets the talent needs of the national Manufacturing USA Institutes and their members.
The MassBridge program will boost training opportunities for technicians and better meet the workforce needs of employers. The program’s key deliverable is the development of an integrated, statewide program that will provide a stackable set of training programs that will create connections from existing technician training programs to the skillsets that meet the demands of today’s manufacturing sector. The goal will be to develop a model that can be replicated nationally. The program will work with existing vocational programs, high schools, community colleges, and supporting universities, to connect and engage students to encourage them toward careers in Manufacturing USA technologies.
“This award is an important national acknowledgment of Massachusetts’ successes in manufacturing and the competitive training programs that support our industry,” said Secretary Kennealy. “The grant from the Department of Defense presents a major opportunity to supercharge our manufacturing sector by engaging new students and adult learners, and helping them develop their skills to better succeed in these emerging industries. Our sincere thanks to the DoD and the ManTech leadership team for this award and for entrusting us with the opportunity to pilot this important project.”
The $3.2 million award will build on the existing strengths the Commonwealth has in broad-based manufacturing technician training and its strong ties to Manufacturing USA, which is working with several established institutes headquartered across the nation, including initial engagements with Cambridge-based AFFOA (Advanced Functional Fabrics of America), AIM Photonics, NextFlex, Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM), America Makes and LIFT.
The MassBridge program will be led by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a public economic development agency for Massachusetts, in close partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and other leading organizations in the state, including the Executive Office of Education, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, MassHire, MIT AIM Academy, MIT Office of Open Learning, the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP), and selected Massachusetts community colleges, vocational-technical high schools and state universities.
“Massachusetts manufacturing is leading the way when it comes to innovation, creativity, and leadership, as shown by this new award,” said Carolyn Kirk, Executive Director of MassTech. “Our partnership with the Manufacturing USA programs has led to numerous investments in small- and medium-sized business across Massachusetts. The new award from the DoD will help us advance our workforce development efforts, making sure those Massachusetts manufacturers have the trained workers they need to produce game-changing products.”
"AFFOA is thrilled to be working with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on this important initiative,” said Alexander M. Stolyarov, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of AFFOA. “Next generation products will require next generation workers, and this program will help us transition and upskill our workforce to meet the needs of the future industry."
“Massachusetts has been one of our strongest partners, and the MassBridge project will build on past collaborations to expand the Commonwealth’s advanced manufacturing workforce,” said MIT professor Lionel Kimerling, who leads education and workforce development for AIM Photonics. “Other states see Massachusetts as a model for strong government leadership in advanced manufacturing workforce training.”
Also announced at the AMC meeting was the creation of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM) at the MassTech Collaborative. The new division will coordinate all advanced manufacturing investments in the state, grow existing Massachusetts manufacturing programs, and bring the AMC’s vision and strategic plan to life.
The Center will continue to oversee the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2), a $100 million program launched by the Baker-Polito Administration to co-invest in projects supported by Manufacturing USA, an effort which has invested $60.7 million in state funding to manufacturing infrastructure and workforce training programs across the state. The CAM will continue to oversee MassTech’s work on the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (MERT), the effort launched in March 2020 to drive the manufacturing response to COVID-19 and has helped over 50 Massachusetts companies pivot to produce over 12 million pieces of PPE and other critical items since April 2020. The Center will also continue to grow MAManufacturing.com, a website designed to promote and provide key resources for the Massachusetts manufacturing sector.
The announcements were made during Manufacturing Month in Massachusetts, which brought together partners from across the Commonwealth to celebrate the makers that call the Commonwealth home.