NORTH ADAMS -- Gov. Deval Patrick announced two programs to benefit the state's manufacturing industry during a visit to Crane's stationery division Friday.
Photo Gallery: Gov. Patrick visits Crane & Co.
"There is a future in manufacturing," Patrick told a large crowd of Crane employees and public officials. "It won't be like it used to, but nothing else is either."
Patrick toured the facility Friday morning in recognition of National Manufacturing Day. Open houses, public tours, workshops and other events marked the occasion across the Commonwealth.
"With a history that dates back nearly 250 years, Crane is now a fast moving international force, all from humble beginnings right in the Berkshires," said Stephen P. DeFalco, Crane CEO.
Crane has just under 300 employees and produces three brands -- Crane & Co., William Arthur, and Vera Wang -- and half of the company's revenue coming from outside the country, DeFalco said.
Patrick said the precision manufacturing industry has been in the midst of a "quiet renaissance," but added "it's time to make things a whole lot less quiet."
A new partnership between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the state's community colleges will develop and implement online learning and training resources for high school and college students and expand lab space for hands-on teaching, Patrick said.
"This pilot program has the potential to transform how manufacturing education is delivered in the 21st century," he said.
Berkshire Community College President Ellen Kennedy said the new partnership will bring opportunities and jobs to the region.
"Community colleges are passionate about transforming the Commonwealth's work force, the ways we teach and the ways in which students learn," she said
Patrick also announced the second round of grants under the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative's "AMP It Up!" program, totaling $100,000. MassDevelopment operates the program, which increases awareness among young adults and families on manufacturing jobs.
Also in attendance Friday were Mayor Richard J. Alcombright, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki, State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi (D-North Adams), State Sen. Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield), MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones, and MIT Dean Vijay Kumar.
DeFalco, who has served as CEO since 2011, referenced changes in the company after a decline in sales of personalized stationery.
"It was clear that without a new approach, our competitiveness would continue to erode," he said.
The company announced in 2009 it would relocate its stationery paper division to Dalton. In August 2012, Crane announced a consolidation of its four locations into its facility in the Hardman Industrial Park on Curran Highway, eliminating 55 of the division's jobs. In November of that year, Crane announced it would purchase competitor William Arthur of West Kennebunk, Maine and consolidate the two companies in the North Adams location.
Crane's position was solidified in March, when the City Council approved an Economic Opportunity Area and Special Tax Assessment Agreement. The agreement requires $5 million in equipment upgrades, and to create 74 permanent full-time jobs by Sept. 30. The city will then provide $290,000 in tax relief to the company over the next four years.
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