Mass. gives millions to Westfield to create jobs

BOSTON –  The Patrick Administration this week announced $11,382,220 in Workforce Training Fund grants to 138 Massachusetts companies. The grants, which support up to two years of training, will create approximately 1,700 new jobs and train a total of 13,000 workers. Of the 138 businesses that received grants, four are in Westfield.
“To compete in the global economy, we must continuously invest in our workforce and I am proud to give thousands of our workers the chance to improve their skill sets,” said Gov. Deval Patrick. “Because of innovative programs like the Workforce Training Fund, Massachusetts continues to lead the nation out of the global economic recession.”
Employees are receiving training in diverse areas such as customer service, sales, machining, milling, robotics, project management, injection molding and computer technology.
“Our Administration works with companies through the Workforce Training Fund to provide their employees with essential job skills to cultivate a more effective workplace,” said Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray.  “With this training, companies create greater efficiencies in doing business, leading to more opportunities for new jobs, increased work capacity and business growth.”
In Westfield, Dion Label printing, Inc. received $60,902; McNairn Packaging, Inc. received $92,800; Ne Opco Inc. (National Envelope) received $249,800; and Jarvis Surgical, Inc. received $49,455.
At both Dion Label and Jarvis Surgical, the funds will be used for lean manufacturing training.
“This will train us to understand lean manufacturing and maintain a continuous improvement to our processes,” said Dion Label owner Donald Dion.
Dion and his brother David are co-owners of the business, which started in their father’s basement in 1969. Dion said when he and his brother were in college, their dad moved the business to a rented space in Chicopee. When the two sons returned home and joined the business, they moved it back to Westfield on land their father purchased on North Road. From there, the business grew.
“Today, we have 70 employees,” said Dion. “This grant will help us train everyone to be more efficient. It’s a top to bottom effort to train almost the entire staff.”
Dion said once efficiencies are realized, the company will be able to expand further.
“We will be able to give raises and promotions and hire people,” said Dion.
Jarvis Surgical’s Quality Assurance Manager Bill Burnett said every one of  60 employees at the Westfield facility will be trained through the grant in some way.
“We will be implementing lean manufacturing tools at this facility,” said Burnett.
The company, located on Airport Road, manufactures a multitude of surgical implants.
Burnett said the training will allow the company to “take the waste out of our processes.” Once that is done, Burnett said every employee will have had the basic training and the business can expand.
Employers project that these training funds will help produce 1,700 new jobs. The Patrick-Murray Administration has invested over $64 million through the Workforce Training Fund to train over 85,000 workers across the Commonwealth in a range of critical and emerging industries since 2007.
“We are committed to helping employers and our workforce with this program and are pleased to see a wider variety of businesses applying for these grants,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Joanne Goldstein. “We look forward to new and robust rounds of applications with approximately $18 million in funds for the coming year.”
The fiscal year 2012 budget established the Workforce Training Fund as a trust fund, allowing for collection and disbursement of funds as needed by businesses, rather than on an annual appropriation cycle.
“To start, the grants are available on a rolling basis,” said President and CEO of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s Commonwealth Corporation Nancy Snyder. “Businesses can apply when they are ready rather than in accordance with an application deadline. We also revised forms and policies to make it easy for small businesses to jointly apply for a grant.”
“I applaud the Patrick-Murray Administration for their efforts in securing over $11 million in workforce training funds,” said Speaker Robert DeLeo. “During this blue-collar depression, it remains infinitely important to focus on job creation in the Commonwealth.”
Next year’s Workforce Training Fund will have approximately $18 million in grants available and any business that pays into it is eligible to apply for one. Program options include matching grants, off-the-shelf trainings for small businesses and new worker training grants for veterans or individuals who have been unemployed for at least six months. Workforce Training Fund grants are available for up to $250,000. Small businesses are especially encouraged to collaborate and apply. Additional information regarding the application process and options is available at
Since January 2011, 138 companies from throughout the Commonwealth have been awarded a total of $11,382,220.25 in Workforce Training Fund General Program grants from the Workforce Training Fund to provide skills training to their workers. 13,796 workers will participate in skills training activities.

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