The decline in manufacturing in Berkshire County in recent years should not lead to the impression that manufacturing is dead here. This theme was emphasized by city and county business leaders and education officials Thursday during an appearance at Taconic High School by state Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki, as was the need to prepare students for careers in the new high-tech manufacturing industry.
Taconic is collaborating with Berkshire Community College on an Advanced Manufacturing Program (AMP), and the manufacturing shop used jointly by Taconic and BCC has benefited from the purchase of high-tech equipment connected with the program. Mr. Bialecki praised the team effort for being "ahead of the curve" in Massachusetts and emphasized that state funding for workforce development programs in manufacturing and other fields must be accompanied by initiatives from schools and municipalities for these programs to be successful.
The retirements of baby-boomers will create vacancies in the manufacturing industry over the next decade, and the workers best able to fill these jobs will be those trained in the latest in computer technology. A new Taconic High School has the potential to be on the cutting edge of this kind of technological education, to the benefit of students and Pittsfield. Then, by sending highly-qualified employees out into the marketplace, Berkshire manufacturers will benefit and manufacturers will be attracted to the Berkshires.