2017 Bright Idea
City of Somerville, MA
January 1, 2017

In the fall of 2015, the city of Somerville’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development convened a coalition of local employers, workforce development and social service nonprofits, and Somerville High School leadership to address the city’s growing employment skills gap. Coalition members from the employment sector noted that many high-tech employers cannot fill their well-paid machinist positions, while coalition members from Somerville High School noted that few high school student sign up for the machine shop program, preferring instead the web-based vocation training programs. Together, the coalition proposed the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program, where adults are trained as machinists in the underutilized machine shop during the after-school hours. Students gain all of the skills needed in a modern manufacturing facility, and graduate with OSHA-10 certification. Students also have the opportunity to concurrently study for their GED at the Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences, one of the program partners.