Western Massachusetts has long been known for a large and diverse manufacturing industry employing nearly 40,000 workers. In Hampden County alone, manufacturing represents 12.1% of the region's total employment and almost 10% in Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire Counties.
This industry is focused in developing parts and products within the Fabricated Metal, Paper, Computer, Electronics and Transportation Equipment industries, used to supply major commercial manufacturers in the United States and abroad. Western Massachusetts benefits these businesses by providing an abundance of infrastructure and a skilled workforce at the affordable rates necessary to remain competitive.
From a state-wide perspective, this sector is the fourth largest employer with 299,477 employees (2006) or 9% of the state's total workforce. The average annual salary in 2006 for a Massachusetts manufacturing employee was $65,333, 24.7% more than the statewide average of $52,396.
The current focus of area manufacturers lies within three main initiatives: technology development, attracting additional manufacturing companies to the area and meeting present and future staffing demands. Insuring a supply of skilled employees is a region-wide goal being addressed by a partnership of manufacturing companies, local colleges, grant programs and regional employment boards.
This cluster works extensively with regional industry organizations, such as the Western Massachusetts Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association (WMNTMA), to develop and implement new, innovative technologies, share intellectual capital and resources, as well as develop partnerships with companies who demand precision manufacturing conducted in a time-sensitive, cost effective manner.
Western Massachusetts Manufacturing Companies*
Hasbro Games is an international leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. All Milton Bradley (founded in Springfield in 1860) and Parker Brothers board games are manufactured in the company's Western Massachusetts facility.
Lenox has designed, tested and manufactured premium-performance power tool accessories, hand tools, band saw blades, torches, solder and accessories for more than 90 years.
Savage Arms is a firearms manufacturer of a variety of rimfire and centerfire rifles; established in 1894.
Solutia is a leading manufacturer of chemicals and resins. Its Saflex product has the predominant world-wide market share for safety glass in automobile windshields.
Smith and Wesson, founded in Springfield in 1852, has long been the largest handgun manufacturer in the United States and an international leader in the development and manufacturing of firearms and accessories. Their products are used by the majority of the nation's police departments.
UPG United Plastics Group Inc. is a global custom manufacturer with facilities located in the USA, Mexico, Wales, and China. Our facilities primarily service the Medical Device, Medical Diagnostics, Industrial, and Consumer markets. Our core competencies include injection molding, assembly, and providing engineering product design and design for manufacture services.
U.S. Tsubaki is a leading manufacturer and supplier of power transmission and motion control products and is the world's market share leader in roller chain.
Vaupell Northeast Molding & Tooling specializes in medical device manufacturing, tooling and precision machining components for the medical device industry.
*This list represents a sampling of the region's many manufacturing companies
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue is a resource for obtaining a manufacturing classification, regulations governing companies within the manufacturing industry and the tax credits and incentives available to this industry. This organization also maintains a searchable registry of all manufacturers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Western Massachusetts Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association is a formal alliance of more than 60 member companies, united to promote the precision machining industry, provide critical business intelligence to members. This group's main focuses are in public policy as well as the development of education, workforce, industry and membership.
Western Massachusetts public schools offer a Machine Tool Technology Program for high school students in five districts. Upon completion, the students have obtained the skills required to set-up and operate manual and CNC equipment, interpret engineering drawings, and perform quality inspection processes.
Westfield Public School District Technology Program
Holyoke Public School District Technology Program
Chicopee Public School District Technology Program
Northampton Public School District Technology Program
Franklin County Technical School
Pathfinder Regional Vocational
Asnuntuck, Holyoke Community College, and Springfield Technical Community Colleges offer Manufacturing Technology (Asnuntuck) and Mechanical Engineering Technology (STCC) Associate degree and Certificate programs that prepare students for a myriad of careers in precision manufacturing.