North Central Mass. is building on its manufacturing base, say experts
Posted in the Townsend Forum
#1 Nov 18, 2012
North Central Mass. is building on its manufacturing base, say experts
By Jack Minch, [email protected] omsenlandenterprise.com
Posted: 11/18/2012 06:34:40 AM EST
LEOMINSTER -- Steel-Fab Inc. hung a 65,000-pound metal gate outside its manufacturing plant on Crawford Street in Fitchburg on Friday to make sure it would hang straight when it's installed on the Oologah Dam in Oklahoma.
Workers labored on the gate about six months including a young welder who will earn about $70,000 this year.
It is a complicated piece that was milled within 1,000th of an inch to specifications and must withstand about 2.7 million pounds of pressure so it can roll up and down when adjusting water levels in the dam.
"It's critical this thing hang perfectly straight," said Steel-Fab President Mark Freeman.
There was a time when the region thought manufacturing jobs were leaving the area, but they are not, said Fitchburg State University President Robert V. Antonucci.
Manufacturing employs more than 14,000 people in North Central Massachusetts and is the third-highest paying industry in the region.
The state will need 100,000 new workers in the manufacturing sector over the next 10 years, according to statistics provided by John Harden, an economic development specialist with the North Central Mass Development Corp.
Workers make an average of $400 more a week than their peers in other private sector jobs, said David L. McKeehan, president of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.
Manufacturing has an estimated $50 million trickle-down effect to other industries.
"One out of three private-sector
payroll dollars comes from manufacturing," McKeehan said.
The manufacturing industry has evolved, and the North Central Massachusetts Economic Development Council is working on a program with Fitchburg State University, Mount Wachusett Community College and the chamber to introduce young people to advanced manufacturing.
That initiative is asking parents to get involved so they understand how different manufacturing is from past generations, said Antonucci, president of the chamber's board of directors.
The region's business community has long understood the importance of manufacturing to the economy but the state is making a bigger push now and the chamber is joining the effort, said McKeehan.
Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray recently announced the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative's promotional campaign called "AMP It Up!" at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development to raise awareness of job opportunities in manufacturing.
#2 Nov 18, 2012
Leominster alone has about 95 manufacturing facilities, McKeehan said.
There are a host of jobs in the manufacturing industry including production, design, marketing, and technology development, Antonucci said.
His father worked in manufacturing, and Antonucci worked three summers for E.I. DuPont as a student operating a bristle machine making toothbrushes and combs on Lancaster Street in Leominster.
"There are all kinds of opportunities," he said.
Manufacturing can be blue collar or white collar work.
The state is known for its high-tech industries such as biotechnology and nanotechnology, but none of it goes anywhere without manufacturing, said chamber president David L. McKeehan.
You hear it all the time that manufacturing has gone overseas but it isn't true, he said.
"In North Central Massachusetts we make a lot more than many communities across the country," McKeehan said.
The perception of manufacturing plants as dingy, grimy buildings with poor air quality is wrong, he said.
"There is this really outdated perception of what it is to be in manufacturing," McKeehan said. "Today manufacturing is about technology, is environmentally friendly and some cool stuff."
He sited Micron in Fitchburg that makes knee joints for the medical field and Fosta-Tek in Leominster that makes protective face shields for the military and police.
The council plans to coordinate tours of manufacturing facilities during evenings and weekends so students and their parents can attend and learn about potential careers and the modern work environment.
It is also making videos with virtual tours that it will post on its website NCMEDC.com and others.
People go by retail shops with window displays and see the employees working, but manufacturing facilities are typically concrete and steel buildings passersby can't see into, so many potential workers don't understand what it involves, Steel-Fab's Freeman said.
Freeman, who is on the chamber's board of directors and CEO Manufacturing Roundtable, said they tried to get the program running about 2 1/2 years ago, holding a few mini-job fairs at area high schools and providing a couple of tours.
This time he is hoping the program works closer with high school guidance counselors.
The Center for Technical Education innovation in Leominster is pursuing a Certified Production Technician certificate and has applied for funding through Perkins Grant to buy the software, said Director David Fiandaca.
He wants to send teachers to Quinsigamond Community College for training on the software.
Students must pass four assessments to get the certificate. Assessments include competency in personal effectiveness, academics, the workplace, and industry wide technical competency.
"What I like about it is these are common assessments, Fiandaca said. "Anybody who shows up on your doorstep with a CPT certificate you know they have passed these assessments just to get that certificate in their hand."
Fiandaca plans to meet with Lee Duerden from Quinsigamond and Harden, an economic development specialist with the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, to discuss whether students can earn college credits for the certificate Nov. 29.
There is a need for workers to take care of equipment and machinery as well as operate the machines, Fiandaca said.
Follow Jack Minch on Facebook and Twitter @JackMinch
Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/local/ci...
#3 Nov 18, 2012
Steel Fab in Fitchburg is definitely a very good employer. In reference to other statements within this story, I am sorry but they are very far from being fact.
Manufacturing jobs have left Fitchburg and Leominister which has put major constraints and pressure on our local economy. Yes Leominister has a lot of manufacturing going on compared to other communities.
And outside of Steel Fab, there are very very few factories where employees even earn $400 for a weeks work. The article is unclear which jobs they are referring to, I am assuming that they are still speaking on steel fab which it has already been stated that employees are paid well. As for most manufacturing jobs $400 is the total of the employees monthly earnings.
Unemployment concerning manufacturing locally is the highest in North Central Mass. This misconception is just another smokescreen put-up by the Chamber of Commerce who should be shunned publicly by our government as they support outsourcing efforts.
As for the program concerning Mount Wachusetts and FSU concerning manufacturing. Lets be honest and very clear that this is a Governor Deval initiative!!! For others to assume credit for the implementation of this program is out right wrong!
#4 Nov 18, 2012
"Workers make an average of $400 more a week than their peers in other private sector jobs, said David L. McKeehan, president of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce."
Tell this to the manufacturing employees!!! You can usually find many of these overworked employees in Fitchburg housing court or at many of the areas food pantries.
Creating this missconception is plain wrong!!! Steel fab is the exception as they pay their workers well.
In fact go around to all these manufacturing plants and ask employees about their health care availability.
Lets also note that most of these jobs are issued by employment agencies who do not give workers any benefits.
#5 Nov 18, 2012
So why don't you go get a job ??
Oh ya people don't like to hire people who went to jail for manslaughter, they can't be trusted and have low morels like you lynch
#6 Nov 18, 2012
All we hear from launch on here is how bad it is in this area. How there is no growth.
Which is it retard?
#7 Nov 18, 2012
Why does Mr.Lynch keep posting what we read in the paper?
#8 Nov 18, 2012
I do not agree that his record would keep him from getting a job. If he wanted one, I am sure he could find one.
#9 Nov 19, 2012
Even if it is Patrick's idea, he isn't the person doing the work to impliment it. You're such an idiot!!
Saint Petersburg, FL
#10 Nov 20, 2012
The Inmates Are Running the Asylum!
Governor Patrick has had some really great ideas alright, like dropping $58 million in taxpayers money into a firm that outsourced 800 jobs overseas.
"Evergreen Solar Inc., which received $58 million in state aid to open a factory in 2008 at the former military base in Devens, announced today it would shut the plant and let go 800 workers by the end of this quarter."
"The solar-panel plant is a cornerstone of Governor Deval Patrick's efforts to make Massachusetts a hub for the emerging clean-energy industry."
#11 Nov 20, 2012
Patrick is taking his cues from Obama...if the Feds can do it, why can't we? Romney left us extra money to blow on technology that isn't cost effective.
#12 Nov 20, 2012
You mean like Patrick issuing and Executive Order to allow Illegal... I mean "Undocumented Immigrants" to attend state colleges and universities as the In-State Tuition rate, which is less than half the cost of Out-of-State rate...
This Executive Order circumvents the political process where there would be hearings and votes to make an educated decision on the matter.
WTF is goin on here???
#13 Nov 20, 2012
Like I said...Deval Patrick is another Obama. Obama has made it OK for Democrats in power to ignore our laws and due process and just go around them.
Our government has become the same as the tyranny that the settlers left to form our country. We are witnessing a government that is slowly but surely taking control of our lives, and what is disappointing to me, is that it appears that Americans are OK with that, as long as they get their monthly handout.
#14 Nov 20, 2012
Well we have a few problems here, the first problem is that they are "illegal" but I guess that doesn't mean anything anymore. So if someone does something that is "illegal" will that also be okay for now on?
Illegal immigrants are taken jobs away from Americans. Sure there are jobs that most people do not want to do for a low wage or under the table pay but using an illegal immigrant does not help the situation for the long term.
The second part is allowing them to go to college at all!
"Steve Kropper, co-chairman of Massachusetts Citizens for Immigration Reform, which favors tougher limits on immigration, said on Sunday that the governor and the president should focus on US citizens and legal residents who also cannot afford college. He said the governorís action sidestepped the state Legislature".
I don't care if you are Republican or Democrat, this is just wrong.
It seems now that if anyone states something negative about illegal immigrants and other issues such as welfare abusers is taboo now in the political arena. Why?
Steve Kropper isn't scared and it's time we need our own elected officals to start speaking up instead of worrying about being charged with discrimination and losing their jobs.
#15 Nov 20, 2012
Is it any surprise that Democrats are providing "gifts" to the people that are putting them in office? The process is right out in the open for everyone to see, and people are choosing to be blind.
This is a very simple concept...
Illegals are able to come into our country and vote in our elections, because we have nothing in place to stop them from doing it. Each time anyone voices an opinion that voting should require identification, the Democrats scream about disenfranchising voters. No proof exists that there would be a negative impact on LEGAL people because all of us LEGAL people must provide identification for so many other things.
So we obviously have illegals that are able to register to get on the voting rolls and vote for Democrats that make it their lifes work to give out "gifts" to the folks that vote for them.
More illegals come into the country for the freebies like cell phones and the cycle increases during each election.
Meanwhile, we also have votes for Democrats being counted twice and voting machines that cast votes for Democrats even when a Republican is chosen by the voter.
The evidence for a badly broken election process and the "gifting" to people is all around us, and way too many people remain blind to it.
I have had people say "prove that corruption is happening in voting". If you keep denying that it exists and you don't allow a process for finding it, you obviously cannot prove it.
I have yet to have anyone give a "common sense" reason why our voting process shouldn't have an identification requirement. They just say it disenfranchises voters...but they never prove that it does so.
We will continue to see these issues worsen until we fail to recognize our country anymore. America is better than this...this should not be able to happen here.
#16 Nov 20, 2012
You need ID to register to vote. So where is the abuse by an individual? Voting in place of someone who may have died during the year? You can't keep getting back in line and use a different address - how will you know that someone at that address hasn't already voted? The fraud would have to be at a higher level, like rigging the machines or not counting certain wards. Really, how much fraud can one voter pull off? Oh, and your claim about the machines was on the news only the report had it the other way round - that votes for Dems turned Republican.
#17 Nov 20, 2012
Not all states require an ID for registration...there were examples in the news regarding a couple states where they were able to purge some invalid registrations. The machines were casting votes for Obama when Romney was chosen...stop lying.
#18 Nov 20, 2012
hey dipshit, it's nice you like to pick on people, the fact remains, all that Manufacturing data is reality. Just because you have a bone to pick with the poster does not change the reality although you would like to keep changing the subject to the tyranny you perceive in your ideological Fox Snews fabricated bubble of BS!!!!!!
North Central Mass has robust manufacturing and any increased activity betters the lives of many people.
Why don't you just STFU if all you have yto say is a mirror of what Donald Trump might say!!!!!!!!
#19 Nov 20, 2012
BTW also dipshit, you've been proven a LIAR more than once on here and so it's time for you to slither away into your snake hole!
YOU HAVE ZERO CRED TO BE TALLING ANYONE ELSE ANYTHING!!!!
#20 Nov 20, 2012
I for one am happy that Hillary is going to the middle east to straighten them out. I just hope they don't use the same security people from Benghazi.
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