Economist: Colleges, voke schools need to do more job prep

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By Laura Krantz | The MetroWest Daily News | October 19, 2012

Manufacturing is flourishing in Massachusetts, economist Barry Bluestone said Thursday, but community colleges and vocational schools should do more to prepare students for jobs in those industries.

The Northeastern University economist, at a business luncheon in Framingham, lectured on the results of a study he recently completed about the manufacturing industry, saying it is healthy and growing while other sectors in the state still suffer.

“The industry we had given up for dead is actually leading the recovery,” Bluestone said to about 75 executives in the Sheraton hotel. The talk was hosted by the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce. Read More

Making it in Massachusetts

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Reports of the death of manufacturing here, and across the country, have been greatly exaggerated. There is no going back to our industrial heyday, but a new study says manufacturing has a solid future in Massachusetts. In fact, one of the biggest concerns is a possible shortage of trained workers.

By Michael Jonas | Commonwealth Magazine | October 11, 2012

When the great recession battered employment across the country, manufacturing jobs—already on a decades-long slide—took a big hit. In Massachusetts, of the 300,000 manufacturing jobs the state had in 2007, nearly 50,000 disappeared. But a new report on manufacturing in Massachusetts has some good news amidst the recession gloom.

The study, commissioned by The Boston Foundation and led by Barry Bluestone, dean of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University, found that manufacturing employment in the state has largely stabilized since 2009, while the sector’s productivity and output have increased markedly. Add to that an aging manufacturing workforce, and the report projects that there will be 100,000 job openings in the sector over the next decade. Indeed, one of the major conclusions of the study, based on a survey of about 700 manufacturing firms and interviews with nearly 60 company CEOs and managers, is that the state must ramp up its education and training pipeline to ensure an adequate supply of skilled labor to meet the looming employment demand. Read More

Community colleges, FSU officials agree to transfer credits

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By Alana Melanson | Sentinel and Enterprise | October 10, 2012

Thanks to agreements signed Tuesday morning, students interested in earning advanced manufacturing degrees will easily be able to transfer their credits between local community colleges and Fitchburg State University.

A bevy of state and local government and education officials crowded into FSU’s Mazzaferro Center on Tuesday to celebrate the landmark collaboration, which will allow a more seamless transfer of credits between Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, Quinsigmond Community College in Worcester and FSU, as students and manufacturing-industry employees seek to further their education and their careers.

The collaboration also involves the state Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which identifies and implements growth opportunities for small and medium-size manufacturers through advanced manufacturing technologies and training, among other means. Read More

Column: Manufacturing matters

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By Richard Lord | The Salem News | October 4, 2012

Tomorrow is the first national Manufacturing Day, reminding us that the United States still leads the world in production of manufactured goods, and that the manufacturing sector is at the core of our economy.

Manufacturing activity is coming back from the recession, and may also be coming back from overseas. The 2012 U.S. Re-shoring Survey by the MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation finds that manufacturers are reconsidering their supply chain strategies due to higher labor costs in developing countries, energy costs and political stability issues, as well as time-to-market concerns. Re-shoring — bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. — is under consideration by a significant number of firms, and some, including auto parts and electrical equipment manufacturers, have moved operations back. The survey finds that federal and state policies, including corporate tax rates, have a major impact on decisions to move or stay.

Here in Massachusetts, “manufacturing is alive and well, and has a healthy future,” according to a recent report, “Staying Power II: A Report Card on Manufacturing in Massachusetts,” by professor Barry Bluestone and his team at Northeastern University. Read More

State’s manufacturers are grinding out more good jobs

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Sector’s future getting brighter

By Lisa Eckelbecker | The Worcester Telegram | September 30, 2012

Mark Fisher and his eight employees can bend steel to their will.

Yet what they’d like at Merchant’s Fabrication Inc., the nine-person business on Elm Street that Mr. Fisher bought in 2009, is a little more attention. “We’d like to have people know we’re here,” said Mr. Fisher. Read More

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