Students can acquire the skills they need to build a sustainable career in a dynamic industry

By Judy Bass

Tammy Derochea, Shawsheen Tech May 2022

Monday, May 9, 2022 – NAMC –  Tammy Derochea knew it was time to make a change. A resourceful mid-life professional with kids, she already had impressive credentials, including two college degrees, a three-page resume and 17 years’ experience in healthcare.

But three years ago, she yearned to make a career move, maybe a bold one. What she was doing simply wasn’t her “cup of tea.”

However, welding was something that really energized her. “I loved working with metals,” she recalls.  A talented home-based crafter, Derochea already knew she had a flair for such work. Now, she wanted to gain additional techniques and skills to pursue her passion more formally, rather than settle for just any run-of-the-mill job.

“I want to make sparks fly!” she declared recently.

The first step she took was to connect with Amy Veillette, assistant manager at the MassHire Lowell Career Center. It was Veillette who helped Derochea discover the program that would completely change the trajectory of her working life.

That program, overseen by the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (NAMC), is designed to provide no-cost training and job opportunities to unemployed and underemployed adults seeking careers in the bustling field of advanced manufacturing.

NAMC Executive Director Maryanne Ham urges people of all professional backgrounds and existing skillsets to think about enrolling.

“All of us at NAMC want to bring these exciting Advanced Manufacturing training and employment opportunities to the public’s attention. This is a great chance to learn a new occupation with limitless room for growth from the ground up. Thanks to our dedicated partners at the MassHire Career Centers, those who graduate will have ample assistance in obtaining employment.”

Two upcoming training opportunities begin this summer:


AUGUST 22, 2022 TO DECEMBER 14, 2022



JULY 6, 2022 TO AUGUST 26, 2022

8:00AM TO 4:00PM


If you have “the interest, want to learn and put in the work,” explained Veillette, you’ll be well-positioned to make the most of the opportunity.

These programs serve as a direct pipeline to jobs in the industry with robust growth potential. “Our goal is to help students get in a field that’s in-demand,” said Allison Cammarata, Director of Community Services & Workforce Development at Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational Technical School in Billerica, another NAMC training site.

Last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 11,600 manufacturing jobs were added in Massachusetts. Those workers were needed despite fluctuations in the economy and the lingering impact of the pandemic.

It’s manufacturing as we know it, but elevated to 21st-century, cutting-edge, state-of-the-art heights.  “It’s not your grandfather’s machine shop in the 1950s,” confirmed Joanna Dowling, Director of the Center for Manufacturing Technology in Woburn, a training facility where training will take place later this year.

In her opinion, people who will excel at it are “innovative thinkers” who like working with their hands. No sophisticated prerequisites are necessary.  Students should have, at minimum, eighth-grade proficiency in reading and math, a high school diploma or GED/HiSET and be at least 18 years old.

NAMC consistently delivers a high job placement rate for its program graduates in the 80% – 85% range.

“The goal is to have people train, then to have them employed,” said Veillette, of the Lowell Career Center.  Dowling noted that there are “loads of opportunities” out there. Most of her students snag one or two job offers upon completion of the program, she said.

Derrick Young, who completed a training program at the Center for Manufacturing Technology, raves about his experience there.

“Learning from [teacher] Cosmo Pasciuto was like being an apprentice to Einstein, Aristotle or DaVinci. He treated me like family from day one. Program Director Joanna Dowling and training instructor Mike DiBona have a curriculum mapped out that aids students at all experience levels, which has led to great success for them.

Young added, “My background has previously been in sales.  However, by week two, my confidence in machine learning grew exponentially. “

As for Tammy Derochea, she has been employed at Raytheon Technologies in Andover for a year and a half doing soldering and assembling, with an eye toward eventual career advancement.

To people who might be on the fence about jumping into one of these programs, she advises, “If it’s something you’re interested in, look into it and try it.”

“If it wasn’t for this program,” Derochea said, “I wouldn’t have been able to break into manufacturing. It made new doors available and open to me, and I am forever grateful.”

The Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (NAMC) is a successful collaborative partnership led by the MassHire Metro North, Merrimack Valley, Greater Lowell, and North Shore workforce boards. NAMC is dedicated to serving the workforce needs of the Northeast Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing industry.  Partners in this consortium include the MassHire Career Centers, local technical high schools, community colleges, and other educational institutions, community based organizations, various public and private funders and northeast advanced manufacturing companies.  NAMC serves more than 200 area manufacturers and job seekers providing free training for dynamic 21st-century careers in Advanced Manufacturing. Intensive, hands-on instruction in key areas like Welding, CNC Machining and Robotics is offered, led by highly experienced professionals who guide students through each learning module at a pace that is comfortable and accessible for them. Guidance to programs that provide high school equivalency, math fundamentals, help for English Language Learners and study skills is available as well. Job readiness, including resume writing, interviewing preparation and linkages to employers, is done through MassHire Career Centers. With an 85% placement rate, program graduates can anticipate a career with exciting potential in a burgeoning profession.

NAMC registered apprenticeships provide another real-world, hands-on dimension of the training experience. They can be tailored to meet any employer’s requirements. These apprenticeships are valuable to employees in various disciplines who wish to cultivate their skills. For example, administrators, those with office positions and maintenance workers can benefit tremendously from this opportunity, along with professionals already in the Advanced Manufacturing industry.

For more information, please visit The Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (NAMC)