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October 17, 2003


63 Massachusetts Companies Win $4.6M in Workforce Training Fund Grant Awards


MIDDLEBORO – Governor Mitt Romney today met with workers in Southeastern Massachusetts to call for more skills training for the Commonwealth’s workforce. In his economic development bill, Romney proposed restoring the full appropriation for the Workforce Training Fund, which was reduced earlier this year.


In calling for full funding of this program, Romney released $4.6 million in Workforce Training Fund grants to help 63 Massachusetts companies statewide upgrade the skills of their workers.


Each year, employers pay $8.10 per employee into the Workforce Training Fund for a total of about $21 million. The funds are awarded to companies in the form of grants to provide workforce training for employees. Legislative action has led to reduction in the fund’s appropriation to $8.5 million for this fiscal year. Romney’s bill proposes using the full $21 million for its intended purpose – to train workers, which will promote job growth, increase job retention and improve organizational productivity and competitiveness.


“Businesses start up and find a home in Massachusetts because of the opportunities our Commonwealth provides to workers and employers,” Romney said. “Our highly skilled workforce is one of our most competitive advantages and in order to maintain this workforce, we must continue to invest in our workers.”


As part of the $4.6 million awarded today, Romney announced a $250,000 grant for Ocean Spray Cranberries, Incorporated. The funds will be used to staff a state-of-the-art production line, which will result in 43 new jobs for the Commonwealth. The cranberry producer is one of 63 businesses across the Commonwealth who will receive state Workforce Training Fund grants.


“When you think of cranberries, you think of Ocean Spray,” said Romney. “With this grant, workers will be trained to help the company continue to make high-quality cranberry products faster and more cost effectively. And more jobs will come to Southeastern Massachusetts.”


“The state’s Workforce Training Fund grant helps seed the $18.5 million investment we’ve made in installing a new production line for our Craisins® sweetened dried cranberry business,” said Ocean Spray President & CEO Randy Papadellis. “We’re proud of our 74-year history in Massachusetts, and with the state’s support, our presence here is growing.”


Administered by the state’s Division of Employment and Training, the Workforce Training Fund provides businesses with matching grants to provide job-related training to incumbent employees. Since its launch five years ago, the fund has awarded more than $73 million to 1,151 companies to train more than 111,000 employees.


For information on the Workforce Training Fund, and to view a complete listing of awards by region, please visit www.mass.gov/det/workforce.





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