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Greenfield Recorder: UMass Amherst unveils high-tech labs

NTMA mentioned in Greenfield Recorder article. 

Monday, July 03, 2017

More than 100 firms both big and small gathered Friday at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for the grand opening of fancy new laboratories meant to push the advanced manufacturing industry forward in the region.

 

Located inside the Institute for Applied Science building, which officially opened last year, the advanced manufacturing core facilities labs and their high-tech equipment are open to UMass researchers and any company that wants to rent the space and apparatuses, or pay for proof-of-concept prototypes to be made. Some of the state-of-the-art machines are the only ones publicly available in the entire country.

 

“This is awesome,” said Jim Gosselin, the president of the Westfield-based specialized tool and accessory company Genevieve Swiss Industries. “It’s a great step for our state legislators to recognize the field.”

 

That support from state government came in the form of $95 million from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, a quasi-public agency that oversees a $1-billion investment initiative proposed in 2007 by then Gov. Deval Patrick and approved by the legislature. To date, the initiative has doled out more than $429 million in capital infrastructure grants statewide.

 

Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker threw more support behind those investments earlier this month with a legislative proposal for an additional $500 million over five years to be managed by the center.

 

 

“We’re spending more and more money, some of that billion dollars, to help support the growth of manufacturing here,” Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash told the crowd of manufacturers. “Our strategy is very simple: we’re going to find the smartest people who are the best innovators, and we’re going to throw lots of money at them.”

 

Ash said a substantial piece of Baker’s initiative would be dedicated to increasing the number of internships and apprenticeships in the manufacturing field. The MLSC has already spent $62 million on, among other things, labs in middle and high schools, subsidizing internships and creating education programs for the state’s workforce.

 

UMass Amherst Provost Katherine Newman spoke after Ash, and made clear the necessity of an increased focus on workforce education. In the field of advanced manufacturing, she said, companies have to be nimble and consistently keep up with rapidly changing technology.

Read more here.