January 2, 2017
By THOMAS GRILLO
LYNN — Thirty prospective machinists will have their tuition paid at the E-Team program, an adult machinist training project housed at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute. The program won more than $145,000 in grants from the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program that will pay tuition for 30 students, part of a $1.5 million state grant.
“People assume manufacturing is dead,” said Tony Dunn, program director and instructor. “But it’s coming back and the only thing that’s stopping it is the lack of skilled machinists to do the work. Right now, (General Electric) is trying to hire and they can’t find qualified candidates.”
The training grants from the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker are designed to equip the unemployed and underemployed with the skills to enter the advanced manufacturing field. Training emphasizes outreach to veterans, groups that experience chronically higher rates of unemployment and groups that are historically underrepresented in the manufacturing sector.
The Advanced Manufacturing Training Program provides more than 30 weeks of training to unemployed and underemployed individuals, including veterans, minorities and women, and supports the workforce needs of the commonwealth’s manufacturing cluster.
The E-Team was founded by a coalition that includes Essex County Community Organization, IUE-CWA Local 201 and the Boston Tooling & Machining Association who saw the need for manufacturing training.
Since its inception 20 years ago, they have graduated nearly 500 students, many of whom have gone on to work at GE Aviation in Lynn.
The new grant round builds on $12.4 million in Workforce Skills Capital grants awarded this year. In August, Baker signed legislation that authorizes the Executive Office of Education to commit up to $45 million in workforce skills capital matching grants.
The program seeks to increase the capacity and quality of vocational training and education by providing funds to eligible schools for the purchase and installation of vocational-technical equipment. The grants will provide matching funds to allow schools to invest in vocational technical training equipment and meet employer hiring demands by modernizing and expanding vocational technical program capacity, creating new training programs that respond to industry needs and increasing the availability of training equipment to mid-career learners.
“We continue to make the commonwealth’s manufacturing base more competitive by building a highly-skilled workforce for employers so they can grow their businesses and support the economy,” Baker said in a statement. “These workforce development grant programs will equip students and workers in Massachusetts with the skills they need to connect with middle-class career pathways in key industries, including advanced manufacturing.”
Thomas Grillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.