On Monday December 9th, 2013, Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein, Senators Stephen Brewer and Richard Moore, Representative Paul Frost, and members of Commonwealth Corporation, the Central MA Workforce Investment Board, the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and several local businesses gathered at INCOM, Inc. of Charlton to celebrate the success of the first Southern Worcester County Manufacturing Consortium (SWCMC).
INCOM, Inc. was one of five companies who participated in SWCMC and hosted the event, which cited highlights from the consortium and provided a great backdrop to announcing the release of grant funding for another round of workforce training programs for Massachusetts companies.
The audience included representatives from the four other SWCMC companies: HT Machine, A&M Tool & Die, G&F Industries, and Swissturn/ USA Inc. Jeff Turgeon, Executive Director of the Central MA Workforce Investment Board, which handled administration of the grant, spoke of the success that the first consortium realized after completing all training within the first year of a two year grant. He noted that the participants found the program so rewarding that four of the five companies are participating in a second round of SWCMC programs and have invited seven new companies to join them. The fifth company from the original has applied for their own grant.
Michael A. Detarando, CEO of INCOM, Inc. welcomed everyone to the event and shared the story about their 40 year old, family-owned business and the struggles they have overcome by continuing to invest in their employees and their business through continuous improvement and employee skills training. INCOM utilized Workforce Training Funds several times over the years and spoke gratefully of that opportunity. Detarando then introduced Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Joanne Goldstein, who congratulated the consortium participants for their success and announced the new round of grant funding. The awards go to 39 Massachusetts companies representing over $3.7 million dollars and are expected to create more than 242 new jobs. Three of the funded projects are new consortium projects. The Secretary said that the success of the SWCMC program is something she is interested in using as a “poster child” to encourage similar work throughout the state. Additionally she noted that SWCMC is a great example of partnerships of the state and the private sector working together.
The great need for manufacturing businesses to be able to maintain a skilled workforce was the focus of both Senator Brewer and Senator Moore’s remarks. Senator Brewer stated, “The businesses in all our districts have the same issues — a workforce nearing retirement and the lack of skilled workers to replace them.” He recognized QCC President, Gail Carberry for the college’s commitment to providing programs to help create an educated and connected workforce and noted the importance of connecting education and manufacturing. As Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Senator Brewer feels that coming to events like this and hearing good news makes so much more of an impact on him than what he hears in the government noting that the private sector creates the jobs. He commented to the people in the room, “You are all making a difference in people’s lives.”
Senator Moore, a member of Caucus on Manufacturing, said that his group has helped “the policy making people” in Washington to finally recognize that manufacturing is not what it used to be and that we all have to make it our job to explain to students and their parents about careers and opportunities that exist in today’s manufacturing. He echoed the need to replace retiring workers and the important link with the educators. The Senator noted that the Caucus is working to address other issues that are hurting our manufacturers, such as energy and insurance costs. He congratulated the Central MA WIB, the Workforce Development Team, and the companies involved in the SWCMC consortium on their success.
The program concluded with Joseph Krans, Director of Operations at INCOM, Inc., giving interested attendees a tour of their facility, which exemplifies the years of Lean and Six Sigma work the company has done. A significant amount of this work was done through various grant-funded opportunities.