Lt. Governor to visit Westfield manufacturing company - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Lt. Governor to visit Westfield manufacturing company

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Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray on Thursday visited Genevieve Swiss, a precision manufacturing company in Westfield, to highlight jobs and workforce training.

"We want to make sure we are growing manufacturing and we know it is particularly important in Western Mass," said Murray.

Murray stopped by the company to check in on the progress that has been made since it received a training grant back in 2010.

"It's helped us actually to move into the manufacturing sector. Prior to that we were a distributor," said the company's controller Scott Barbanel.

The Patrick-Murray administration has distributed $5 million in labor and workforce grants in Hampden County since they have been in office. And for companies like GenSwiss the money has helped them to transition and grow despite the tough economic times.

"We're growing through this period but we could be growing a lot better if the economy were more stable," said Barbanel.

One of the challenges facing the manufacturing industry is the lack of people interested in pursuing a career in the field.

"We know in manufacturing we are going to have 100,000 vacancies in the next 10 years - that's even if we don't create another new job - just because people are aging out. So we need to get more young people, more workers retrained in manufacturing," said Murray.

"We've lost a lot of manufacturing in the state and in the country and we believe very strongly here that manufacturing is the key to economic success and strength," said Barbanel.

Workers at the plant say part of the way to attract young people is to explain how much it has changed through the years.

"We're trying to get away from promoting manufacturing as a dirty, rough industry and like what we do it's very clean and it's very technical and it's very entrenched in the sciences," said the company's marketing manager, Scott Laprade.

And officials say they are currently looking into whether or not applying for another grant could benefit their company.

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