At a time when manufacturing employers are struggling to find skilled workers, a unique initiative from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership is about to graduate its second class of 12 CNC machine operators trained at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).
The Massachusetts More Skilled Workers Program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. The training takes place within a 280-hour instruction program that includes:
- 80 hours of foundational manufacturing skills;
- 100 hours of advanced CNC skills training at WPI;
- 40 hours of MasterCAM;
- 30 hours of career readiness;
- 20 hours of Math Boot Camp instruction; and
- the OSHA 30-hour General Industry course.
Employers who hire the graduates are eligible for a $10-per-hour wage reimbursement for 18 weeks ($7,200) to offset the cost of on-the-job training. Most candidates also qualify for the state’s Hiring Incentive Training Grant ($2,000) for training veterans or residents unemployed for six months or more.
The training course is part of a larger credentialing system developed by Bay State employers to identify skills that are critical for success in high-value manufacturing. The 280 hours of instruction satisfy three steps of a five-step system, called the Applied Manufacturing Technology Certification Pathway, that can lead to an associate’s degree in manufacturing technology. The Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators has incorporated the credentialing model into the vocational technical educational frameworks that underlie the Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology curriculum.
The employers behind the new credentialing system work under the name of the Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Innovation Collaborative. MACWIC is an alliance of next-generation manufacturers seeking to identify workforce-related business needs and to drive solutions, especially skills training.
And MACWIC members are developing the skills of current, as well as future, manufacturing workers. The organization has created a Manufacturing Skills Academy Network made up of member companies, partners, and individuals committed to developing manufacturing talent. Staffed by member companies, the initiative allows workers to keep pace with rapidly changing technology and maintain Massachusetts' global competitiveness.
Employers who wish to review resumes for each of the participants in the current CNC class on line can go to StemPower.