Community college program to trains workers for manufacturing jobs

Reading specialist Gene Wintner, with his wife, Sharon (left), and adjunct faculty member Shannon Leate-Varney, is retiring from Northern Essex Community College.
Reading specialist Gene Wintner, with his wife, Sharon (left), and adjunct faculty member Shannon Leate-Varney, is retiring from Northern Essex Community College.

FINDING THE TOOLS: Spurred on by an expected increase in manufacturing jobs over the next 10 years, Northern Essex Community College  has partnered with Greater Lawrence Technical School  to develop a machine tool training program to prepare workers for those jobs.

The pilot program is being launched late this month, and will train 10 unemployed or underemployed individuals.

Developed with input from local companies, the program will train workers to operate computer numeric controlled machines, which are used to produce metal parts with high precision.

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Graduates of the program can expect to compete for jobs paying on average of $22 an hour, said George Moriarty, director of the college’s workforce development and corporate relations.

“After decades of decline, manufacturing is enjoying a significant rebound in Massachusetts and across the nation,” Moriarty said. “Low-paying factory jobs have been replaced by careers with competitive wages in advanced manufacturing fields such as semi-conductors, aerospace, plastics production, and medical equipment.”

Today, most of the work is done by software, computers, and robotic equipment, which means skills such as blueprint reading, metrology, and math are essential.

The training will provide an introduction to the programming, setup, and tooling for computer controlled machines. Topics will include system parts, fundamental coding, basics for numeric parts programming, and operation of turning and milling centers.

The course also will provide instruction in mathematics and applied geometry.

Northern Essex will provide classroom instruction in theory and applications at NECC Riverwalk in Lawrence, while Greater Lawrence Technical School in Andover will provide hands-on machining experience.

Partners in the effort include The Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board, which will help organize employer involvement and assist in identifying job opportunities, and the ValleyWorks One-Stop Career Center, which will recruit, assess, screen, and refer candidates for the program.

ValleyWorks also will assist with case management, job placement, and follow-up. Local employers will participate in candidate selection, provide internships and financial support, and will have the first opportunity to hire those who complete the program.

For more information, contact Moriarty at gmoriarty@necc.mass.edu

GIVING GOES ON: Its toy drive is over, but StonehamBank  continues to collect money and coats to help the less fortunate.

Bank branches in Billerica and Stoneham are accepting monetary donations for this year’s Buy A Bed Program for Mission of Deeds  in Reading.

More than $500 was collected in 2011 and the hope is that this year’s donations will exceed that before the Jan. 14 deadline.

StonehamBank Billerica also is partnering with the Billerica Lions Club  to collect Coats for Kids in association with Anton’s Cleaners through Jan. 12. The goal is to exceed 100 coats.

The bank is accepting adult coats and jackets as well. Anton’s Cleaners provides repairs and cleaning. From there, the coats are sent to charities such as The Salvation Army, Rosie’s Place, and The Wish Project

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Lyn  Skarmeas has been named vice president of business development and provider relations at Hospice of the North Shore & Greater Boston. An advocate for quality hospice services, Skarmeas will communicate with referral sources and the community to enhance their understanding of hospice services. She has worked in the Massachusetts nonprofit home care and hospice field for the past 18 years. “One of the most important messages we can bring to the public and medical community is that patients can and should access hospice services sooner,” she said. “By accessing our full range of services in the months — rather than weeks — before the end of life, we can help our patients and their families enjoy a better quality of life.” A lifelong resident of Danvers, Skarmeas is married to Danvers School Committee chairman Arthur Skarmeas  and is the mother of two. . . . Gene Wintner  is retiring from Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill after 30-plus years as a professor of developmental reading. Wintner started his career at the college as coordinator of the reading lab in 1979. He was named to the faculty in the early 1980s and is credited with developing the college’s basic reading course, which helps students expand vocabulary and comprehension skills. Wintner has also written several reading textbooks.