Tuesday January 8, 2013

PITTSFIELD -- Four Berkshire County businesses are among 87 Massachusetts companies that have received $6.8 million in state workforce training grants.

The four local firms, Iredale Mineral Cosmetics of Great Barrington, the Greylock Federal Credit Union of Pittsfield, Precision Autocraft Inc. of Sheffield, and Sinicon Plastics of Dalton received a combined $446,570 in funding, which is expected to train a total of 369 employees.

That training is expected to create 11 new jobs. The grants are intended to support up to two years of training. Statewide, the funding is expected to create 682 new jobs and train more than 6,300 workers.

Precision Autocraft is the only one of the four local companies that is not expected to use the funding to create new jobs.

Heather Boulger, the executive director of the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, said creating new jobs is not a prerequisite for receiving the funding.

"Precision Autocraft had to show in their application that they were going to retain jobs as a result of this training," Boulger said. "Precision just had to show that new skills would keep its employees working and employed."

Individually, Iredale received $228,400 in workforce training funds, while the Greylock received $154,720. Precision received $34,000 and Sinicon got $29,450.

The country's largest credit union, Greylock is expected to use the funding to train 254 employees and create one new position. Iredale plans to use the funding to train 79 employees, and create five new jobs. Sinicon plans to train 20 employees and hire five new employees, while Precision plans to train 16 workers.

Counting the four recent grants, 81 Berkshire County companies have now received $7.1 million in workforce training grants since the program was established, Boulger said.

"It shows that we aggressively work with our companies to utilize these resources."

BCREB will be holding an overview of the workforce training fund on Friday, Feb. 1 in its offices in the old firehouse building on Allen Street in Pittsfield. The session will take place from 9 a.m. to noon.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6224.
On Twitter: @TonyDobrow