The MassBridge project

Image credit: Patrick Amoy on Unsplash

Bridging the Gap in Manufacturing Technician Training in Emerging Technologies.

In 2020, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was awarded a $3.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Manufacturing Technology Program for a manufacturing technician training program that will serve as a national model. This effort, named MassBridge, is being led by the Massachusetts Center for Advanced Manufacturing along with a team of experts from MIT, industry, community colleges, vocational high schools, and federal and state agencies.

The goal of the MassBridge project is to develop and test a well-connected, state-based training and career pathway model – a “Bridge” for technicians that spans the gaps between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ state-wide advanced manufacturing programs and the needs of the Manufacturing USA Institutes. The curriculum will be deployed through vocational and academic high schools and community colleges across Massachusetts, with connectivity to supporting universities to pull students along a pathway toward careers in Manufacturing USA technologies.

The US is facing short and long-term workforce challenges driven by issues such as a “gray wave” of retirements in key technical jobs, the need for higher level of technical skills and training than in the past, misconceptions about the nature of technical jobs, and fragmented training, among others. Projects like MassBridge help address the current technician training gap.