Nearly seven thousand jobs in the Franklin Hampshire workforce region are in the Manufacturing sector, making it the 5th largest private sector industry. In the current tight labor market, demand remains strong in our region for lower-skill entry-level manufacturing jobs, although the overall number or these jobs has declined due to automation or outsourcing. There is an especially acute need for workers in high-skill areas such as precision machining, and excellent opportunities in areas as plastics and food processing. It takes years to become an expert computer-numerical-control (CNC) machinist, but preliminary education and training can get a job seeker in the door and on the road to a well-paid career. The average overall wage in the manufacturing sector in the FH area is $47, 514, well above the region’s average annual salary of $37,000. Precision machining students completing 12 weeks of training are making $15-$19 an hour to start as a CNC Operator, and many advance rapidly in skills, pay, and responsibilities as they acquire additional on-the-job training and experience.
“My job at VSS has a starting wage that was slightly less than what I had been making as a manager after 19 years of employment at the Gazette. This program and the state funding of it enabled me to put myself on a fast track to a new and better career. I am grateful to MassHire and GCC for the program and to the state legislature for funding it. ” – Greg Harris, CNC Graduate
The Five Year Manufacturing Plan 2019-2023 for the West Region has been developed by the MassHire Hampden, Franklin-Hampshire, and Berkshire Workforce Boards in collaboration and consultation with selected regional advanced manufacturing companies, educational institutions, and state and regional partners.
The Report on Manufacturing Training printed January 2021 highlights the project deliverables in Year 1 of the MassBridge initiative for the West Regoin. MassBridge is an initiative led by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.
The Plan is part of the Regional Planning Blueprint Implementation process and is grounded in using real-time labor market data to inform decision making that will result in the implementation of sustainable and innovative workforce development practices and programs.
Every one of the 40+ precision machine companies in the FH region is looking for trained and/or experienced workers to keep up with replacement needs or, in many cases, growth in their businesses. Just a few examples of steadily-growing or rapidly-expanding companies are Bete Fog Nozzle, VSS, Inc., Decker Machineworks. and Pilot Precision. They are joined by dozens of area employers eager to interview and potentially hire graduates of the FH Manufacturing Skills Initiative. In its sixth year of training and graduating 24-30 entry-level CNC operators/technicians annually, the Project continues to have an average 83% placement rate.