Massachusetts' three regional plastics organizations have created a statewide umbrella organization, and they plan to ask the state government to help pay for a staff person to develop the industry.
The Berkshire Plastics Network, the Merrimack Valley Plastics Network and the North Central Massachusetts Plastics Council agreed to form the Massachusetts Plastics Alliance less than a month ago.
Details about how the group will function have yet to be worked out, said John Renzi, president of the Berkshire group, based in Pittsfield, Mass.
The Merrimack group is in North Andover and the North Central group is based in Leominster.
Other industries in Massachusetts, such as software, have received state help in paying for such a staff position, Renzi said. MAPA hopes to have that person hired and working by early 1998. The person would be hired and paid jointly by the state and private industry, he said.
``It would be someone who would need to be very well-versed in the plastics industry, as opposed to someone'' whose strength is politics.
MAPA plans to present its plans at the MassPlastics convention and trade show, scheduled for Oct. 29-30 in Fitchburg.
Besides hiring the plastics specialist, the group plans to ask the state to target plastics as a key industry and to work on training and education issues, according to Renzi.
``There will definitely be a push for specific training programs,'' he said. ``We are all out there reinventing the wheel, especially in education and training.''
The group will try to set up a pilot training program that could spread to the rest of the state, Renzi said. The group also wants to develop another regional plastics association in the New Bedford area.
Massachusetts' plastics industry has about 650 companies employing 38,000.
Renzi also is president of Graphic Impact Signs Inc. in Pittsfield.