On June 19, Quinsigamond Community College entered into an agreement with the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce to promote an advanced manufacturing training program.
After lunch at the college’s new Blackstone Valley Internet Learning Cafe, an event was held at the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for a partnership. It initially starts with two classrooms at Linwood Mill, 670 Linwood Ave., for an advanced manufacturing training program.
Jeannie Hebert, President and CEO of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce and a member of the QCC Foundation Board of Directors, said the MOU is the first step toward a manufacturing center in Blackstone Valley. She said certificate courses and customized curriculum will address a skills gap in manufacturing.
“This is a long time coming, and is one of the number one initiatives that we have been working to accomplish,” Ms. Hebert said. “To get this signed and get equipment to fill the classrooms is just going to be a wonder for us.”
“This can lead to so much more in the Valley, a whole multitude of different courses can be offered,” said State Rep. David Muradian, R-Grafton. “It’s amazing to see it finally come to fruition, it’s been a lot of work from everyone involved.”
Scott Rossiter, Chairman of employee-owned Lampin Corporation, a manufacturer of precision parts and assemblies, said this partnership between businesses, the Chamber and QCC goes back many years. He is a member of the QCC Foundation Board and the Blackstone Valley Chamber, and said he is excited about the plans moving forward.
“Seven employees are currently undergoing customized training at QCC,” he said. “Having access in Blackstone Valley for other kinds of training for our employees would be an unbelievable opportunity.”
QCC President Gail Carberry said the needs of the Valley are diverse and opportunities to get people started on their career pathways are important. The college has been working with technical high schools in the area, Ben Franklin Institute of Technology, Worcester State and Fitchburg State, as well as employers, to provide educational and training opportunities for students and employees.
Signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the Chamber signifies a commitment to offer certificate courses for manufacturing, but also a promise to the future to create viable curricula for the region.
“Our goal is to get a campus out here, but it has to be done in stages,” said Dr. Carberry. “This is an acorn that we hope will grow into a mighty oak. We will continue to look at what is appropriate for workforce training and skills for students and employees coming in.”