WBJ: Report on advanced manufacturing pushes education, branding
As originally appearing in The Worcester Business Journal


A new report is urging stronger efforts to train those who will work in advanced manufacturing industries throughout New England while altering the public’s image of the sector by focusing on its safety.

The report, released Wednesday by The New England Council and the consulting firm Deloitte, provides several recommendations for more growth from the sector and improved global competitiveness.

The report, “Advanced to Advantageous,” identifies areas in New England where industries are setting the pace in advanced manufacturing. These industries include: aerospace and defense, medical devices and biotechnology, as well as software that change additive manufacturing and the Internet of Things (IoT), helping to position the region as a leader in advanced manufacturing. The report identifies progressive programs as being “islands of excellence,” combing existing advantages and replicating them into widespread adoption.

The 112-page report, an update of a 2010 report, had a few key recommendations.

  1. Creation of a federally funded manufacturing center in New England by improving partnerships between government, educators, and industry.
  2. Rebranding the industry to “make it” a better brand by altering the public’s perception of manufacturing from being a dangerous environment to a safe one.
  3. Increasing industry partnership and apprenticeship opportunities so students can be matched with industry positions and have training in critical skills, allowing them to have careers in advanced manufacturing.

“Manufacturing and higher education organizations across New England have told me how invaluable our 2010 report has been to them as they seek to rebound from the recession and train the skilled workforce our region requires,” said James T. Brett, president and CEO of The New England Council, a regional advocate for business, in a statement announcing the findings. “Our hope is that this new report builds on the progress of the first, and helps drive a broader discussion among public and private sector stakeholders about how we collaboratively invest in and support advanced manufacturing to both promote sustained economic growth in every corner of New England and strengthen our regional competitive advantage.

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