April 16, 2014

Siemens awards $660M in grants to Mass. schools

Siemens AG, the German conglomerate that makes steel mills in Worcester, announced $660 million in software grants Wednesday to support manufacturing programs at Massachusetts vocational schools and colleges.

The in-kind grants serve an industry need for skilled manufacturing workers, as identified through the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP), based in Worcester. The grants were also mentioned this morning during a conference at the Hanover Theatre that focused on the future of manufacturing.

The event, sponsored by The Atlantic magazine as part of its "Building the Future" series, featured panel discussions, as well as keynote interviews with Gov. Deval Patrick and U.S. Rep. James McGovern.

"The manufacturing industry in America is on the rise and is being transformed by a software revolution that is enhancing productivity, increasing efficiency and speeding time to market," Siemens PLM Software division CEO Chuck Grindstaff said in a statement. "This revolution requires a highly-trained workforce."

Grindstaff went on to say that the grants offered by Siemens will allow schools to integrate Siemens' "world class" technology into their curriculum, which will better prepare students for high-quality manufacturing jobs.

Recipients in Central Massachusetts and MetroWest include: Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Fitchburg State University; Quinsigamond Community College; Mount Wachusett Community College; MassBay Communtiy College; Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School; Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School and Worcester Technical High School.
MassMEP will provide advanced training on Siemens' software to recipients.

Jack Healy, director of operations at MassMEP, said in a statement that competiveness in the changed manufacturing industry depends on a company's use of technology. In the past, he said it depended on low labor costs and capital investment.

"Educating people for this type of workforce has always been a race between education and technology. Siemens, through this initiative, is allowing our state's education system to catch up in this race … ," Healy said.

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