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MACWIC 2nd Anniversary Meeting Announces $2.5 Million Grant to Massachusetts Vocational Schools

Dozens of high schools in Massachusetts to receive training materials for advanced machinery

Brian Gilmore, Exec. VP of Public Affairs
Brian Gilmore, Exec. VP of Public Affairs announces $2.5 million grant to Vocational Technical High Schools for MassMEP's Curriculum in a Box

The Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Innovation Collaborative (MACWIC), an alliance of next generation manufacturers that work to identify and solve workforce-related business needs, held its Second Anniversary Meeting on February 12, 2014. MassMEP, MACWIC, and WPI announced a $2.5 million in-kind grant of their "Curriculum in a Box®" manufacturing training program and LearnCNC™, a virtual online CNC training program, to Massachusetts' Vocational Technical High Schools.

MassMEP will provide its Curriculum in a Box that provides curriculum for the modules in Level 1 and Level 2 of the MACWIC Certification Pathway. WPI will provide LearnCNC software. MACWIC / MassMEP will be the distributor of this software to Massachusetts' Vocational Technical High Schools. LearnCNC is also available for a fee to companies and individuals interested in learning or upgrading their CNC skills.

Leslie Parady, Project Manager for MassMEP, said vocational schools interested in receiving the materials must first undergo baseline testing to determine the level of the student aptitude and workforce readiness. Once that is determined, the curriculum and software will be made available. She said she expects most schools will achieve the second level of credentialing, which would enable students to become machine operators and quality inspectors following high school.

More than 100 vocational high school students and teachers from across the state attended the MACWIC Annual Meeting at Atwater Kent Laboratories. Some of the schools that attended included Worcester Technical High School, Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough, Greater Lowell Technical High School, Shawsheen Valley Technical High School in Billerica, and Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School.

The program included a demo of LearnCNC software. Used by thousands of CNC machining customers, LearnCNC is the only online learning system that combines powerful "flight-simulator" technology with interactive curriculum. At the meeting, Jeremy Bout, Producer and Host of Edge Factor, a series that highlights the importance and excitement of modern manufacturing, debuted the film "Timid Tigress," which was filmed on-site at Phillips Precision in Boylston, Massachusetts.

In addition, there were shop tours of WPI's Haas Technical Education Center at the Washburn Laboratories and a demonstration of the award-winning Atlas robot, WARNER.

"I firmly believe that if we're going to reach out to people, we have to do it through storytelling," said Mr. Bout during his remarks. He detailed his story of lost youth and how he stumbled upon, and became enthralled with, manufacturing. "I went from thinking about how things are made, to locking in step with people who were on the edge of figuring out things like bone drills or getting engines to seal properly. It's a wide world, and manufacturing touches every aspect of it."

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