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Workforce Strategies

MassMEP, UMass Lowell Launch Workforce Training Partnership

The Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP) and UMass Lowell launched a new joint effort to expand training options in eastern Massachusetts. Officials from the organizations formally announced a partnership under which university instructors will teach MassMEP’s Advanced CNC (computer numerical control) training program.

UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacqueline Molony told a crowd of about 50 people that the program is a "vital bridge between government, industry and a pipeline of skilled workers."

Working with UMass Lowell, MassMEP will deliver its Advanced CNC training program on the university’s campus. The CNC training program utilizes the Manufacturing Advanced Center Workforce Innovative Collaborative (MACWIC) curriculum – a competency-based instructional program that received AIM’s Gould Education & Workforce Development Award for creating a standard instructional level that manufactures can use while evaluating prospective employees. The partnership with UMass Lowell will double the capacity of the program and meet a need for training workers in the region.

UMass Lowell’s Francis College of Engineering will provide advanced training in CNC machine operation, as well as a location for the program in its new makerspace, which features a range of resources, such as workstations for machining and electronics, 3D printers and walls that are entirely whiteboard to inspire creativity and collaboration.

The partnership provides a new way for UMass Lowell to address one of its strategic priorities: responding to the workforce development needs of the region by expanding access to its high-quality programs. UMass Lowell is ranked among the nation’s top public universities by U.S. News & World Report, which has also recognized the excellence of the university’s engineering programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently named UMass Lowell the 10th fastest-growing public doctorial institution in the country.

"MassMEP has already successfully partnered with Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), delivering the Advanced CNC Training Program in central Massachusetts for the last six years," said Ted Bauer, director of workforce strategies at MassMEP. "The partnership with UMass Lowell addresses the need for CNC operators in the northeast region of the state, a need we’ve heard expressed by manufacturers in the area. To date, there have been 164 graduates of the MassMEP/WPI program with a better than 90 percent placement rate upon graduation. This new program will double the number of graduates."

"MassMEP is extremely proud to have such fine institutions as WPI and UMass Lowell collaborating in the building of the skills pipeline in order to ensure continuing manufacturing growth," said Healy.

The 260-hour Advanced CNC training program consists of:

  • Level 1 – Shop Math, Blueprint Reading, Metrology and Quality Inspection, Work Readiness, Safety;
  • Level 2 – Lean Manufacturing, CNC Mill Concepts and Hands-on, CNC Lathe Concepts and Hands-on, Intro to Programing, and Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing; and
  • Level 3 – Advanced CNC Skills including set-up, fixturing, tool selection, quality inspection, CAD/CAM training, and OSHA Safety. Included in Level 3 is additional work in resume writing, interviewing skills, value stream mapping, SPC, and finance for the shop floor.

A "speed dating" type of job fair is conducted with local manufacturers before the conclusion of each class. Upon graduation and successfully passing the Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Innovation Collaborative (MACWIC) competency-based validation tests, participants receive a MACWIC Level 3 certificate.

The first 12-person class is scheduled to begin December, 2015. If you are interested in learning more about the program or hiring a graduate, please contact Leslie Parady, 508-831-7020 or [email protected].