STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE: Report calls for reg’l effort in advanced manu. expansion
As originally appearing in State House News Service

BY GINTAUTAS DUMCIUS

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

BOSTON — New England’s six states should pursue federal funding for a center as part of an overall effort aimed at accelerating growth of the advanced manufacturing sector, according to a business organization’s report.

Advanced manufacturing includes aerospace, defense, medical devices, biotechnology and the software industries, and the New England region has “carved out a favorable niche” in several sectors, said the 112-page report, which was released Wednesday.

A skills gap remains, on top of a high cost of doing business in the region, and the report’s authors say they are concerned about replacing older workers.

“Coupled with a generation of incumbent workers nearing retirement, the concerns over where to find and how to train the next generation of advanced manufacturing workers is reaching critical levels of need,” said the report, issued by the New England Council in conjunction with Deloitte Consulting LLP.

The report also calls for altering an outdated public perception that manufacturing is a “dirty” industry, which weathered the recession and “has been able to return to, and in some cases surpass, pre-recession levels for shipment value, GDP and employment while traditional manufacturing has struggled to rebound.”

The report said New England should also create “comprehensive educational pathways” through technical education, training and internships; increase industry partnerships and apprenticeships; and align government policy to industry needs.

New England should seek funding through the federal Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act to create an advanced manufacturing center, the report added.

“A coordinated effort across a broad range of stakeholders – industry, government, educational institutions, and others – is necessary to take full advantage of the opportunity to grow,” the report concluded. “This coordinated approach has helped stimulate growth in other regions across the country and it can work for New England.”

 

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