The Gift of State Funding & Productivity Gains

Posted By: Gretchen Schultz, Director of Workforce Development, Tooling U-SME on December 17, 2015

Few places are as charming as Newburyport, Mass. during the holiday season. Think twinkle lights, festive trees and holiday strolls on cobblestone streets.
Yet, this historic town is more than a pretty face; it’s also substance as the home of a growing manufacturer that leads the way in workforce development: Arwood Machine Corporation, a high precision machine shop.

Arwood’s story is common in today’s manufacturing world. The company had the opportunity to grow its business but was hampered by a lack of skilled workers. To combat this talent shortage, Arwood successfully brought training for new and incumbent workers in-house…without impacting productivity.

Michael Munday, CEO and owner, attributes the success to four elements:
  1. Develop a training program. Mike says a good training program is always evolving based on the newest philosophies, concepts and technologies.
  2. Build in Flexibility. Everyone has ebb and flow periods at work. Arwood employees receive (compulsory) training in “wait” time. A 24/7 online curriculum makes this seamless.
  3. Focus on Individual Training. For every employee, Arwood creates a customized plan based on existing knowledge and skills, and builds from there.
  4. Build a Learning Culture. Mike emphasizes the importance of developing a learning culture companywide based on continuous improvement.
Now here’s a secret that Arwood is happy to share. This was all possible financially due to state funding. Arwood worked with Commonwealth Corporation and, we are proud to say, Tooling U-SME to apply for and secure a general program grant from the Workforce Training Fund Program in the State of Massachusetts.
Many small- to medium-size manufacturers think they may not be able to afford an in-house training program, but, as Arwood discovered, state and national grants can make it a reality. The one note of caution is that grants vary from state to state, so it’s important to research the best options in your area. (Just ask if you need help!)
Oh, and the results of the training program? Arwood saw 10% upward trends in productivity as well as a significant reduction in scrap/rework. Other benefits included decreased defects, improved morale, heightened innovation and increased skills.
That’s a pretty nice gift any time of year!
-- Gretchen Schultz, workforce development coordinator, Tooling U-SME

Tags: Arwood, "Commonwealth Corporation", grants, machining, "State Funding"