WORCESTER – Tuesday, April 29, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today announced over $1.4 million in federal funding to help manufacturers and other companies impacted by sequestration and defense budget cuts to diversify their markets. The grant will help the defense industry, which employs over 130,000 Massachusetts residents, identify and pursue other markets to sell their products and services. The Governor also announced the launch of two initiatives designed to strengthen the Commonwealth’s manufacturing sector by providing free life sciences training to manufacturers and combining the energy usage of many companies into a single buying group, giving more manufacturers increased control over their energy costs. The Governor made today’s announcements during the second annual Advanced Manufacturing Summit held in Worcester.
“Advanced manufacturing is a fast growing sector in our economy, and we want to keep it that way,” said Governor Patrick. “These resources will help our manufacturers diversify into new markets, and continue to contribute to the economic strength in our Commonwealth.”
The federal funding was awarded to MassDevelopment by the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Office of Economic Adjustment. MassDevelopment applied for this funding as part of their defense sector initiatives with the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force. The Task Force’s mission is to support the mission and people at and surrounding the Commonwealth’s military installations. This grant will help strengthen organizations who rely on DoD and Department of Homeland Security funding, with or without a local connection to a military installation, to expand their reach to new markets, and will help map a strategy that will capitalize on the Commonwealth’s competitive advantage within its defense industry. Phase I will develop an overall approach to mitigate the effect of defense cuts on the economy. Phase II will be developed as a result of the findings and strategy set forth under Phase I.
“The Commonwealth is a national leader in advanced manufacturing, and I’m very pleased DoD has awarded this grant to help manufacturers hit hard by across-the-board federal budget cuts,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “I commend Governor Patrick’s Administration for its efforts to secure this funding and for its commitment to strengthening Massachusetts’ innovation economy.”
“I want to commend Governor Patrick and his administration for their proactive approach in protecting existing manufacturing jobs and encouraging industry diversification to encourage growth,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “Efforts such as these ensure that the Commonwealth will continue to be a leader in the manufacturing industry.”
“Our state’s manufacturers are succeeding in our fastest growing industries such as clean tech, life sciences and robotics, thanks to our strong manufacturing workforce system and excellent regional partnerships across the state,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. “Manufacturers have rebuilt this now-thriving industry in Massachusetts and, working together, we are positioning ourselves to become a global leader in advanced manufacturing.”
The first of the new initiatives announced today, sponsored by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), will provide free training for manufacturers who are not yet in the industry, but would like to pursue diversifying their products in this growing sector. This two-day course will introduce Massachusetts’ advanced manufacturing companies to the life sciences industry and will outline a pathway for them to become vendors to the medical device sector. The free courses will begin in June, and will be held in central, northeast, Pioneer Valley and southeast regions of the state.
“We are thrilled to be funding and co-sponsoring the Life Sciences Advanced Manufacturing Workshop series, in collaboration with BioTech Primer, MassMEDIC and the University of Massachusetts,” said Susan-Windham Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC. “This series will allow advanced manufacturing companies across the state to learn about business and collaboration opportunities in the life sciences, our state’s fastest growing industry sectors. Our goal is to create economic development opportunities in these sectors all across the Commonwealth.”
The Massachusetts Manufacturing Energy Collaborative (MassMEC), also announced today, will be funded by MassDevelopment and will help manufacturers across the state decrease energy costs by creating a bulk power-purchasing group comprised of manufacturers. The group will be able to negotiate volume rates with electricity and natural gas supplies, and manufacturers will be able to access free evaluations of energy efficiency measures and onsite renewable opportunities.
During today’s Summit, MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones also announced a new Manufacturing Resources Portal that will use a matchmaking model to connect manufacturers with public sector resources in the Commonwealth. The Rapid Access Manufacturer’s Portal (RAMP) was developed with the leadership of the Advanced Manufacturing Collabortive’s Access to Capital Resources working group, and enables users to share three facts about their firms and ambitions and in three steps provides them a list of resources or organizations in the state that can assist them.
“Manufacturing is a thriving, vibrant, and high-tech sector of the Commonwealth’s economy, covering everything from jet engines to underwater robots,” said Jones. “We are pleased to work with the Patrick Administration and offer resources like MassMEC and RAMP to help manufacturers become more efficient and continue to excel in Massachusetts.”
The Advanced Manufacturing Summit, held today at the DCU Center in Worcester, is an annual event that brings together hundreds of leading executives and managers from the Commonwealth’s manufacturing industry to share best practices, network and discuss the resurgence of the sector that expects to hire 100,000 people over the next decade. This year over 500 people attended the event, including more than 150 manufacturers.
In addition to focusing on workforce development, the Summit is designed to promote the vitality of the state’s manufacturing industry through innovation and education, improve supply-chain opportunities for small companies by connecting them to large manufacturing companies, and help small manufacturers compete by sharing best practices and connecting them with state programs and resources that are proven to work.
The Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative is a partnership between industry and government created by Governor Patrick in 2011 to help build a globally competitive manufacturing industry in Massachusetts. Its five-point agenda brings together manufacturers, educators, academia, and other organizations to work on industry-identified priorities including promoting manufacturing; workforce and education; manufacturing innovation; the cost of doing business including energy management and sustainability; and access to capital resources.
At last year’s Advanced Manufacturing Summit, Governor Patrick announced the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Regional Partnership Academy (AMRPA), a first-in-the-Nation program designed to meet the manufacturing industry’s future workforce needs. The AMRPA brings together manufacturers, workforce investment board and academia to help regions develop sustainable and effective partnerships that respond to industry needs.
Earlier this month, Governor Patrick filed An Act to Promote Growth and Opportunity, which provides $20 million for an Advanced Manufacturing and Information Technology Training Trust Fund to train 4,000 workers for middle-skill careers in manufacturing and information technology fields to address shortages in these industries and help employers continue to grow and innovate. The legislation creates tools and training so our workforce is prepared to meet the needs of employers, invests in our Gateway Cities to promote economic development across the entire state and provides incentives to create jobs and stimulate the economy. The bill furthers the Administration’s proven growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure that has led to record job creation in Massachusetts and has made the Commonwealth a global leader in key innovation economy sectors.
Other speakers at the summit included Worcester Chamber of Commerce President and Former Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, Secretary Bialecki, President and CEO of Incom Michael Detarando, MassDevelopment’s Marty Jones and Founder of the Reshoring Initiative Harry Moser.