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QCC Anchors Re-birth of Manufacturing in South County

Supporters “All-In” for Growth of Industry

Contact: Cherie Ronayne
Office of Institutional Communications
508.854.2849
cronayne [at] qcc.mass.edu

Release Date: 
10/16/2014

Worcester, MA, Oct. 16, 2014 –“There is tremendous opportunity in the manufacturing sector,” said MA Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Greg Bialecki, yesterday at the Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center.

Congressman Richard Neal agreed that “there is good news in the economy, but we have to be ready for the jobs of the future [in manufacturing.] We need the ready workforce that QCC is going to provide. “

Senator Richard Moore echoed these sentiments saying, “advanced manufacturing – high tech manufacturing is on the rebound and filling jobs is the biggest need. This is what QCC has done so well here, filling the needs of the manufacturers and bringing education here to South County.”

The overwhelming evidence states that manufacturing has not left the state entirely but is building momentum and, according to QCC President Gail Carberry, “new data points to 100,000 manufacturing jobs to fill state-wide.” The challenge, according to invited guests from the manufacturing industry is the unskilled  work force. Sarah Woodard, Technical Training Manager at IPG Photonics in Oxford lamented that, “we currently have 85 open job requisitions to fill!” There are new, highly technical elements to these jobs that makes education for these positions necessary. “This is not your grandfather’s manufacturing,” commented Ms. Woodard. CEO of Incom, Inc. from Charlton, Michael Detarando, similarly commented that, “the most significant challenge we have in our company is who is going to do this work?”   

At QCC’s “Innovation Summit” towards Advanced Technology Education, Research and Economic Growth yesterday, local manufacturers highlighted their desperate staffing needs while educational partners QCC, Worcester Polytechnic University and Fitchburg State University provided solutions for the staffing shortages.

QCC is prepared to provide education and training in advanced manufacturing and technology to support the burgeoning growth of the industry and has made significant investments in Southbridge to that end. QCC has proposed an Innovation Technology Acceleration Center (ITAC) in South County to address and support student training needs, kicked off with a $2 million grant from Governor Deval Patrick in May, to be used specifically for equipment to outfit the new ITAC Center. QCC has also developed, in collaboration with industry partners, curriculum to meet the current needs of employers such as accelerated and stackable credentials. 

QCC Dean of Business, Engineering and Technology, Kathy Rentsch remarked that, “additional equipment for the ITAC has been ordered while impressive faculty have been added to handle the growing needs demanded  by this effort. ” Additional classroom and training space for QCC’s Southbridge location is in the process of being secured as well, to accommodate a growing student body. The new space will triple or quadruple QCC’s current footprint.

Elected officials have lent their support state-wide with funding and their presence as proponents; Senator Richard Moore presented QCC President Gail Carberry with a check for $300,000 prompting her to thank the senator “for always being there for us.” She went on to say that this effort is “where QCC shines. Our ability to graduate individuals into the manufacturing workforce with the skills they need today.”

Quinsigamond Community College is the most affordable higher education in Worcester County. As a regional leader in education and workforce development, QCC serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.