Mass. manufacturing summit slated for spring

By Marie Szaniszlo | The Boston Herald | November 27, 2012

Bay State business leaders and state officials plan to hold a manufacturing summit next spring to promote an industry that’s projected to have 100,000 job openings over the next 10 years.

At a meeting of the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative today, officials said they aim to hold the summit in April, although an exact date and location have not been finalized.

“I want to see manufacturing go back to being the third largest sector in Massachusetts,” Lt. Gov. Tim Murray said.

Manufacturing currently is the state’s fifth-largest private industry sector, accounting for some 7,500 companies and 250,000 jobs, said Northeastern University Professor Barry Bluestone, who serves on the collaborative’s board.

But while productivity in the sector has increased by about 8.7 percent annually since 2007 in Massachusetts, the manufacturing work force is aging and manufacturers expect to have 100,000 job openings by 2022, said Bluestone, who co-authored a report on the industry this year.

Of 700 Bay State manufacturing companies surveyed for that report, 70 percent said they expect to increase employment over the next five years alone, Bluestone said.

Bluestone suggested companies hold open houses and invite young adults, parents and school guidance counselors to see first-hand what manufacturing entails.

“Seeing is believing,” he said.

Manufacturing companies in Massachusetts pay an average of $27,000 per year for unskilled, entry-level workers and $52,000 per year for skilled production workers, Bluestone said.

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