State programs assisting Berkshire County firms


PITTSFIELD - Several Berkshire County businesses have received assistance from different state programs that train workers, support expansion projects, and create jobs.

Three Berkshire firms are among 72 companies across Massachusetts that have received a total $5.7 million in the latest round of funding from the state's Workforce Training Grant Program.

Three others have projects that have been approved for participation on the state's Economic Development Assistance Program.

Cascade School Supplies of North Adams and Pittsfield Plastics Engineering Inc. received a combined total of $49,120 from the Workforce Training Grant Program to train 105 workers and generate 11 new jobs. Excelsior Printing of Pittsfield received an $11,858 technical assistance grant, a planning measure that is intended to prepare companies to implement workforce training grants and initiatives. All of the grants are for two years. This program is administered by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

Individually, Cascade received $21,120 to train 21 employees, and create two new jobs. Pittsfield Plastics Engineering received $28,000 to train 84 employees. The company is expected to create nine new jobs through the training.

Meanwhile, TOG Manufacturing Co. of Adams, Sinicon Plastics of Dalton, and Boyd Technologies Inc. of Lee have had projects approved for participation in the EDIP, which is administered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. All three of those initiatives are expansion projects. All three also include private investment, while two contain local funding from their respective towns.

TOG, a manufacturer of precision specialty metal components supporting the power generation, offshore drilling, and turbine manufacturing industries, plans to create six new jobs and retain 45 existing positions by moving into a new facility. Sinicon is expected to create 14 new jobs and retain 21 existing ones. Boyd's expansion project represents the first phase of the company's five year strategic growth plan that was launched in 2012.

The companies who received Training Grants are also required to provide the wages for their employees who participate in these initiatives, and purchase materials, like new software programs, that are required to be used during the training, said Heather Boulger, the executive director of the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board.

Since the inception of the Workforce Training Grant program, 95 Berkshire County companies have received $8.2 million in training resources that have trained 7,780 employees.

"Massachusetts companies recognize that their ability to compete globally depends in large measure on the skill of their workers," said Richard C. Lord, the president and CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, who chairs the state's Workforce Training Fund Program Advisory Board.

"The grants will strengthen those skills, as well as the productivity efficiency and innovation of Bay State employers," Lord said.

The latest round of grants from the Workforce Training Fund Program supports companies located in more than 50 cities and towns across the state. Excelsior received one of the two technical assistance grants that were awarded.

These grants will provide training for over 5,600 current and new employees at their respective companies. The participants are projected to create 414 new jobs by 2015.


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