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MassBridge Program Prepares Workforce for Advanced Manufacturing Jobs

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MIT, the commonwealth of Mass., and state community colleges and agencies are collaborating on the MassBridge program. The grant-funded initiative aims to prepare workers for stable, high-paying jobs in advanced manufacturing by creating a curriculum bridging the state’s traditional education in manufacturing and the advanced manufacturing needs of today’s economy.

A $3.2 million Department of Defense (DOD) grant specifically supports advanced manufacturing education and workforce development in the areas of robotics, photonics, and 3D printing. Mass. committed $100 million in capital equipment grants to support the DOD’s Manufacturing-US institutes (including AIM Photonics, for which MIT’s Lionel Kimerling leads workforce training activities) prior to receiving the latest award, in support of advanced manufacturing education.

Students and faculty from Springfield Technical Community College visit an MIT lab before the Covid-19 pandemic. Courtesy of MIT via Adu Agarwal.
Students and faculty from Springfield Technical Community College visit an MIT lab before the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy of MIT via Adu Agarwal.
The MassBridge will rely extensively on digital learning modules. MIT’s Initiative for Knowledge and Innovation (IKIM, a group also headed by Kimerling) and Office of Open Learning (OL) will both contribute to the program.

Additional collaborators include Cape Cod Community College, Quinsigamond Community College, Mass. Manufacturing Extension Program, Mass. hiring boards, and representatives from state government and DOD. The collaborators said they plan to make their curriculum available to other states following its completion and rollout.

Published: December 2020
Glossary
3d printing
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), is a manufacturing process that builds three-dimensional objects layer by layer from a digital model. This technology allows the creation of complex and customized structures that would be challenging or impossible with traditional manufacturing methods. The process typically involves the following key steps: Digital design: A three-dimensional digital model of the object is created using computer-aided design (CAD) software. This...
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