At first glance, Gov. Deval Patrick's two stops in Western Massachusetts on Friday did not have much in common.
He visited Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and Girls Inc. of Holyoke.
But you did not have to dig too far to see they actually go hand in hand.
"We're growing manufacturing now 50 percent faster than the national growth rate, seven times the rate we did in the previous administration," Patrick stated.
The governor said 100,000 high-skilled manufacturing jobs will be needed and a new program between STCC and Holyoke Community College, which will help train unemployed workers, will help fill those positions.
"Taking advantage of that expansion of the industry means we've got to be prepared and that is what this partnership is about," Patrick said.
Those opportunities are not lost on Tregg Barney, a Springfield resident who was one of 18 students to receive their skill certificates on Friday afternoon.
"Money, a different career path, it just ups the ladder and I can sell myself a little bit better," Barney said. "I have a little experience in machine operating, so this gives me the ins an outs."
Patrick then spent the second part of his afternoon learning with students at Girls Inc.
As part of its Eureka program, the eighth- and ninth-graders are beginning a path that could lead them into manufacturing.
"We know that is a critical area for growth in the economy and there's a tremendous need to inspire girls to go into STEM careers," said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of Holyoke.
Patrick says these programs show that his administration has continued to stress the importance of education.
"A 26 percent increase in education spending k-12, right through the worst economic downturn in living memory, I'm proud of that progress," Patrick said.
Parker said the governor stopping by on Friday could truly inspire the girls and show them what they are doing is important.
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