This outstanding opportunity typically involves NO COST to employers and their employees

 By Judy Bass

Monday, Feb. 27, 2023 – Imagine being able to add significantly to your professional skills, increase your value to your employer, and not incur any debt by signing up for additional, intensive training in your field

Manufacturing employees in four Massachusetts regions – Greater Lowell, Metro North, the North Shore, and the Merrimack Valley – can avail themselves of exactly such an exciting and practical opportunity with an apprenticeship from the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (NAMC).

Details can be found at

These year-long, 2,000-hour apprenticeships allow employees to upskill and advance in their career while enhancing their value to an employer.

Franklyn Garcia, a maintenance mechanic at Catania Oils in Ayer, Mass., a thriving company that currently has 190 employees and produces a variety of plant-based oils for cooking, had a NAMC apprenticeship in 2019.

Garcia, who has worked at Catania Oils for eight years as of April 2023, said that his apprenticeship involved taking classes at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, Mass.

He said that he wanted the apprenticeship because he hopes to move up in the company and eventually become a supervisor, then a manager.

Looking back at his apprenticeship, Garcia said that several features of the program appealed to him, especially the chance to learn at his own pace, the excellence of the instructor, and the enjoyable nature of the overall experience. He affirmed that it met his expectations and he spoke highly of it.

Two executives at Catania Oils – Vice President of Operations Dan Brackett and Vice President of Human Resources Annemarie Abdo – praised the NAMC apprenticeships as well.

Four of their employees, including three maintenance mechanics and one machine operator, have had those apprenticeships.

“It’s been great,” Brackett said. Abdo noted that completing the apprenticeship “is a commitment the employees have to make” when they undertake it. Those who have done so from Catania Oils did “very well.”

“It’s an investment in time and energy,” agreed Brackett. “If the person is interested and engaged, they’re going to improve themselves.”

Another attractive aspect of the NAMC apprenticeships is that they are meticulously tailored to the specific needs of each participating company rather than being just one-size-fits-all.

Abdo said that NAMC Manufacturing Consortium Manger Robin Dion visited Catania Oils several times, conducted extensive interviews and “did a great job pulling [the apprenticeships] together” for Catania Oils’ employees.

NAMC also shoulders most of the administrative tasks associated with the apprenticeship so those responsibilities don’t fall on busy employers.

According to Dion, NAMC’s track record of successes with its apprenticeships is remarkable. Of over 300 apprenticeships NAMC has arranged in six years, Dion said that the results have been uniformly exceptional.

He explained that NAMC apprenticeships are a great way for employers to invest in proven employees, encourage their loyalty, and move them up in the company while focusing on hiring new, entry-level workers.

Employers get a $4800 state tax credit for each employee who does a NAMC apprenticeship (NAMC gets $4800 in grant funding for every employee who does an apprenticeship).

Employers and employees stand to benefit tremendously from NAMC apprenticeships. As Dan Brackett of Catania Oils said, “Overall, it was a very positive experience.”

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. 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.

Judy Bass is the communications consultant for NAMC (the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium