Reviving the Berkshire Plastics Network and building on western Massachusetts' plastics cluster are key components of the Berkshire Blueprint, a report released by Pittsfield, Mass.-based economic development officials on March 9.
``We did land on plastics as a cluster that should provide for the future in the region and as an area that we see offering continued growth in business,'' said Tyler Fairbank, president of the Berkshire Economic Development Corp., in a telephone interview.
He said the regional blueprint was developed after two studies assessed the region's problems and suggested solutions. It suggests that plastics, the creative arts and tourism are keystones for the region's future.
The Berkshire Plastics Network, which formed in 1986, used to provide marketing, employee training and an apprentice program - services that the new report concludes would help the region. But the group lost its funding and closed in 2003.
Fairbank said that talks are taking place to bring it back.
``We'd like to bring back the Berkshire Plastics Network ASAP. I've met with several former members and they showed strong enthusiasm about it,'' Fairbank said.
Fairbank said local manufacturers have been growing thanks to medical device and aerospace work. Those companies can serve as models for others to follow.
At the same time, Fairbank said it is important to support companies that already are successful. He said marketing, funding to help companies grow through an angel network, boosting training and building the workforce are all important steps for the future.