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Berkshire Community College, Taconic High School Announce Level I Manufacturing Training Results
Jan 23, 2014
Berkshire Community College (BCC) and Taconic High School (THS) today announced that 100 percent of the students who participated in the Level I Entry Level Manufacturing Program have successfully completed the training and will move on to the Level II Program that begins early next month.

The pilot session, which included 25 participants, was offered at no cost through a grant from the Massachusetts Community Colleges & Workforce Development Transformation Agenda (MCCWDTA). The program utilized the state-of-the-art Intellitek LearnMate system, located at THS in Pittsfield, BCC's longstanding training site for its Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Programs

Most importantly, the Program meets the requirements set by the Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Innovation Collaborative (MACWIC), an organization created in Feb. 2012 which serves as a statewide focal point for employer-led workforce training and development initiatives. MACWIC's mission is to preserve manufacturing knowledge and to execute the transfer of knowledge and critical skills to the current and future workforce through the development of relevant deployable curriculum in partnership with workforce training providers, vocational technical high schools, community colleges and universities.

"What's most gratifying is that a 100 percent pass rate of a MACWIC Level I Program demonstrates that we're operating at or exceeding a statewide standard in advanced manufacturing education," stated BCC Vice President for Community Education and Workforce Development Bill Mulholland. "I've often said that we are growing our own advanced manufacturing workforce right here in our backyard - and this result demonstrates that we're making strides to fill a much needed void of skilled workers."

Program participants, who ranged in age from 18 to 57, learned the skills manufacturing companies seek in an entry-level employee. Training included 66 hours of training in math, blueprint reading and metrology, as well as a 10-hour OSHA course and instruction in work readiness.

Mark Lausier, a THS Manufacturing Tech faculty member who led the instruction said, "It was my pleasure to instruct this group of students and to witness the development of their newly acquired skills in manufacturing. Our goal was to make our students ready for entry level positions in manufacturing and we accomplished our goal. We can't be more pleased with the outcome and are excited to move to the next level of training."

THS recently received additional advanced manufacturing equipment as the result of a Vocational Program Equipment Grant from the Patrick-Murray Administration, the Executive Office for Administration and Finance (ANF) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The program, which supports strong vocational-technical programs that prepare and connect students with jobs in high growth sectors and their continuing education, allows for the upgrading and purchasing of equipment to support and expand vocational and career readiness programs across the Commonwealth. This is a new opportunity that is funded at $1 million each year for five years through the Commonwealth's capital plan.

The new equipment includes a Haas TL-1 Lathe and a Haas TM1P Milling Machine with a 4th Axis. In addition, another machine at THS was retro-fitted to give students another workstation for Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining.

The Level II Program, which will include CNC and other operator and programmer training as well as a 15-hour Introduction to Paper Technology, will begin Feb. 3 at THS. The majority of the Level I graduates are expected to participate.

Several class slots are still available. One-year of manufacturing experience is required. For more information or to register, contact Beth Lapierre 413-236-5251 or elapierr@berkshirecc.edu.


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