The following is an excerpt from the MassLive website. The full article may be found at


The region’s precision machine shops and the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County plan to reach out to middle schoolers in Holyoke — especially girls — and get them fired up about a potential future in high-tech manufacturing.

“We think there are great opportunities in manufacturing for young women,” said David M. Cruise, president and CEO of the Regional Employment Board.

The Regional Employment Board of Hampden County and the Western MA Chapter – National Tooling & Machining Association received a $8,393 grant this past week from MassDevelopment, a quasi-public economic development agency.

The grant is one of several partnerships announced as part of the “AMP it up!” program aimed at promoting manufacturing careers to young people.

MassDevelopment will provide awards totaling $98,363.40 to the 10 partnerships, according to a news release.

In Holyoke, the Regional Employment Board and its partners will host with an Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathway Day for Holyoke students, probably early in the 2016-17 school year, Cruise said.

It will focus on eighth grade female students but will be open to both genders. They will get company tours and exposure to advanced manufacturing career paths, such as enrollment at the William J. Dean Technical High School.

Guidance counselors will also attend the Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathway Day and receive manufacturing awareness packets with a related DVD, fact sheet, web links, and contact list prior to the tours, according to MassDevelopment.

“The Holyoke public schools are in a turnaround phase where they are looking to make some significant changes in how they deliver education to students,” Cruise said.

Partner companies include manufacturers Meridian Industrial Group and Universal Plastics.

Cruise said the grant will also be used to promote manufacturing careers in Springfield, West Springfield and in Westfield.

Manufacturers in the Pioneer Valley have a frustratingly difficult time finding qualified workers. One problem, officials have said, is that many young people don’t know the industry exists and their parents have an outdated smoke-and-dirt image of what a machine shop looks like.