Section 45. There shall be established within the agency a commonwealth advanced manufacturing futures program. The purpose of the program shall be to support commonwealth companies engaged in manufacturing through programs and shall be administered in a manner that takes into account the needs of manufacturers in all regions of the commonwealth and supports growth in the manufacturing sector statewide. The agency, in consultation with the secretary of housing and economic development and the Massachusetts advanced manufacturing collaborative established under section 10B of chapter 23A, shall design and implement the program. The program shall be eligible to receive funds as appropriated by the general court, including from the Manufacturing Fund, established under section 98 of chapter 194 of the acts of 2011, the board, federal grants and programs, and transfers, grants and donations from state agencies, foundations and private parties, to be held in a separate account or accounts segregated from other funds. The program shall: (i) promote the development of advanced manufacturing through supporting technical assistance for small and mid-sized manufacturers; (ii) foster collaboration and linkages among larger manufacturing companies and smaller supplier manufacturers; (iii) advance workforce development initiatives through training, certification, and educational programs; and (iv) encourage development of innovative products, materials, and production technologies by manufacturers through the transfer of technological innovations and partnerships with research universities, colleges, and laboratories; and promoting regional approaches through sector strategies that allow for various programs, resources and strategies to be aligned and leveraged.
The agency shall, through grants, contracts, or loans, administer the program for the purpose of facilitating growth and competitiveness in the field of manufacturing. Loans under the program may be made to manufacturing companies. Grants under this program shall include, but not be limited to, consideration of the following goals:
(i) improving access to technical assistance for small and mid-sized manufacturers, including launching pilot demonstrations of best practices in delivering innovation-based technical assistance;
(ii) encouraging the adoption of new technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities into existing companies to improve manufacturing processes and operations;
(iii) educating individuals about opportunities for career advancement within high tech and advanced manufacturing through middle school and high school education to support the future manufacturing worker pipeline;
(iv) education and skills training through individualized career pathways programs that develop skills and certifications for career growth and opportunities for available jobs or job openings that are anticipated in manufacturing, including internships and on-the-job training which result in an employer or industry recognized credentials and ultimate job placement;
(v) fostering academic and industry collaboration, including encouraging technology transfer and commercialization efforts between not-for-profit research institutions, research universities, colleges, and laboratories and advanced and high-tech manufacturers; and
(vi) supporting and partnering with existing systems within the commonwealth, including the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Inc., the Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation doing business as the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center, the state workforce investment board, regional employment boards, vocational schools, community colleges and other higher education institutions.
The agency shall solicit applications through a request for proposals and shall review such applications according to criteria established by the agency; provided, however, that the applications, at a minimum, shall include: (i) a description of the parties involved in the project, including the professional expertise and qualifications of the principals; (ii) a description of the scope of work that shall be undertaken by each party involved in the project; (iii) the proposed budget, including verification of funding from other sources; (iv) a statement of the project objective, including specific information on how the project shall enhance the competitiveness of the manufacturer or manufacturing sector and create or preserve jobs; (v) a statement that sets forth the plan of procedure, the facilities and resources available or needed for the project, and the proposed commencement and termination dates of the project; (vi) a description of the expected significance of the project, including the estimated number of manufacturers or workers served and the estimated number of jobs that could be created, retained or filled as a result of the project; (vii) timely deadlines for the submission of applications and recommendations of grant awards or contracts including provisions for an expedited process of consideration and recommendation in instances when the secretary of housing and economic development certifies the need for timely evaluation and disposition of the application; and (viii) any other information that the agency shall deem necessary.
The agency shall reach agreement, with each eligible entity that receives a grant or enters into a contract under this section, on performance measures and indicators that shall be used to evaluate the performance of the eligible entity in carrying out the activities described in their application, or any other indicators determined to be necessary to evaluate the performance of the eligible entity. Each eligible entity shall submit an annual report for the duration of the program or partnership funded through the collaborative for its review.
The agency shall be reimbursed from the fund for all reasonable and necessary direct costs and expenses incurred in any fiscal year associated with its administration, management and operation of the fund, including reasonable staff time and out-of-pocket expenses and the reasonable and approved administrative costs.
The agency may promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary to implement the purposes of the program, including procedures describing the application process and criteria to be used in evaluating application for grants under this section.
The agency, in consultation with the collaborative under said section 10B of said chapter 23A, shall submit an annual report to the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate who shall forward the report to the senate and house committees on ways and means, the joint committee on economic development and emerging technologies and the joint committee on labor and workforce development on or before December 31. The report shall include a current assessment of the progress of each program funded through the manufacturing grant program and the progress of the advanced manufacturing collaborative activity, including any recommendations for legislation.