The Berkshire Plastics Network is investing $30,000 to help establish Berkshire Teaching Factory Inc., a nonprofit corporation that will operate a manufacturing training center for employers in the plastics industry and other markets in Pittsfield, Mass.
``One of our key goals is to implement industry-specific training and to make hands-on training more available to the western Massachusetts region,'' said Berkshire Plastics President Richard A. Rilla.
Rilla said the center aims to provide state-of-the-art machinery to train employees for the plastics industry, as well as other regional employers, including defense, paper and contract manufacturers. He sees it as aiding those employed in the industries, as well as dislocated workers and those who want to learn about an industry.
A facility at the former Naval Reserve Center in Pittsfield is being prepared and should be ready in March.
Organizational steps are being taken to set up an advisory board and hire administrative support staff and instructors.
``We have over a dozen major machinery manufacturers ready to put in the latest equipment,'' Rilla said.
Rilla hopes the center will outgrow its first location in two to three years.
Rilla said the Berkshire Plastics Network wants to use the facility to continue its mold-making and plastic processing apprentice programs.
The company also will offer training in ISO 9000 and 1400 competency programs, as well as statistical process control and lean manufacturing.
``Our mission is to get a world-class training center that will position us for global competitiveness,'' he said.