Mass-TEC is an organization dedicated to increasing the awareness of Advanced Manufacturing and the many viable career options within this exciting industry segment. Mass-TEC is comprised of a network of local collaborators including Quinsigamond Community College and many private and public sector partners, all eager to promote a positive change and broaden the scope and reach within the Central Massachusetts manufacturing community.
Mass-TEC's public awareness campaign is designed to reach out to three core audiences: Parents and Families, Career Advisors, and Guidance Counselors and Teachers. Each group is an integral part of the decision making process when it comes to the pursuit of a technical manufacturing career, whether as a new worker or an adult career changer.
For Parents and Families:
- Family Academies including overviews of advanced manufacturing and information about education pathways
- Face-to-face discussions with manufacturing employees
- Tours of area manufacturing companies
For Career Advisors:
- Information sessions on advanced manufacturing, including employment data, skill requirements, various training and education options and career pathways
- Face-to-face discussion with manufacturing employers
- Tours of area manufacturing companies
For Teachers and Guidance Counselors:
- Professional development programs providing information on career and education pathways, as well as curriculum development in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
- Summer professional development programs at WPI
Other public awareness efforts have resulted in print and online articles, as well as radio and television coverage. Mass-TEC's video, "Today's Manufacturing in Central MA" addressed key questions including:
- What does today's manufacturing look like?
- What are the basic skills needed?
- Where can someone get more information about career and education pathways?
By engaging these groups and conducting other community activities Mass-TEC seeks to clear up the common misconceptions about today's manufacturing and further bolster the prospective employee base for these quality jobs. Mass-TEC - helping to spread the word about today's manufacturing with a variety of dynamic programs – all dedicated to promoting Advanced Manufacturing as a career option in Central Massachusetts.
If you asked a random sampling of people about their perception of manufacturing in Central Massachusetts, chances are, most would reference an industry that has seen better days. Abandoned mills dot the landscape. Everyday we hear of jobs being lost to offshore competition. And the images of monotonous blue-collar jobs that don't pay well are burnt into the memories of many people.
Perception, however, isn't always reality and today's manufacturing in Central Massachusetts is poised for a revolution. In fact, manufacturing is one of the largest employment sectors in Central Massachusetts, offering competitive salaries and career opportunities. Within the next ten years, the impact of the Baby Boom generation leaving the workforce will leave a chasm of job opportunities waiting to be filled.
Today's manufacturing is driven by technology – things like advanced computer hardware, enterprise-wide systems software, electronics and robotic automation. This technology improves yields, quality and ultimately, the bottom line for a company. A dependence on technology also means a need for more technically-oriented and creative employees to perform a variety of jobs including:
- Supervisors and Managers
- Quality Assurance
These jobs all fall within the manufacturing realm ‚Äî and all, are very viable as career choices. A recent study released by the National Association of Manufacturing and the Manufacturing Institute reports that 81% of American manufacturers say their biggest problem is finding qualified workers. In fact, the nation's economic well-being could very well be dependent upon finding qualified employees to fill manufacturing jobs in industries like these:
- Fiber Optics
- Industrial Products
- Marine Technologies
- Medical Devices
- Renewable Energy
- Semiconductors and Circuitry
Financial support for this project is provided by the Advanced Technological Education program at the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0703040