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Gov. Patrick Announces Manufacturing Investments in Berkshires

Jim Levulis

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick held a cabinet meeting and made stops in the western part of the state today.

Tim Bizony is a letter press operator and one of the workers Governor Patrick spoke with at the Crane & Company Stationary site in North Adams.

“He was genuinely interested in what I do,” Bizony said. “He was fascinated by the machine. He asked a lot of questions and I was glad I was able to answer them for him.”

“You people have cost me a great deal of money over the years,” joked Patrick, saying he is a Crane customer. “In the tour, one gentleman said ‘If it’s worth putting it on paper, you put it on Crane.’ I love that line. I don’t know if that’s something you all say, but if you don’t, you should.”

North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright called Crane & Company a cornerstone of the city.

“You have grown from 120 at-risk jobs several years ago to 290 jobs and added a second shift,” Alcombright said. “Something this city hasn’t seen in probably three decades.”

Celebrating National Manufacturing Day, the governor announced a pilot program involving a collaboration of eight community colleges and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Supported by a $250,000 federal grant, it will create teaching modules and resources for manufacturing education.

“Our growth strategy is based on three things: education, innovation and infrastructure,” Patrick said. “Education is our calling card around the world. A well prepared work force is central to who we are. It’s our natural resource. Innovation; because there are a handful of industries that depend on that kind of concentration of brain power. Infrastructure; the unglamorous work of governing. Roads, rails, bridges, broadband expansion, which is so important in this part of the Commonwealth.”

Patrick continues his push for advancements in the state’s manufacturing by providing more than $18 million for the MassDevelopment’s Advanced Manufacturing Futures Program in the 2014 fiscal budget, which he signed in July. The governor also announced a second round of grants for the Amp It Up program totaling $100,000. This past year’s funding went to 10 non-profits including Berkshire Community College. Earlier this week, the college unveiled three state-of-the-art manufacturing machines through a partnership with Taconic High School in Pittsfield, which was partially funded by the program. The governor also addressed the federal government shutdown.

“It’s embarrassing,” the democrat said. “The Tea Party Republicans are playing a big game with the lives of some little people frankly. I think that’s got to end. No state can get the federal government to function. The Congress has to get the federal government to function. The majority of members, Republicans and Democrats, in the House and Senate who believe the federal government should function need to stand up to that small number of Tea Party bullies.”

Democratic State Senator Benjamin Downing represents the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden District.  He says the shutdown is leaving people confused and concerned about federal money they rely on. 

“Right now it is confusion,” Downing said. “I think the longer the shutdown goes on we start to see real tangible impacts on peoples’ lives. Not that we aren’t seeing them already, but I just think they’ll grow.”

The governor also held a cabinet meeting at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. This marks the second time this summer Patrick has held a cabinet meeting in the Berkshires, which he typically only does once during the season. In August, he hosted his cabinet at his Sweet P Farm in Richmond. The governor wrapped up the day by celebrating the ribbon cutting of MCLA’s recently completed $30 million dollar Center for Science and Innovation. Funding for the center came from Patrick’s 2008 Higher Education Bond Bill. The governor continues his focus on life sciences, as $19.5 million of the $33.6 billion budget for fiscal 2014 has been designated for investments in the area.

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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