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Merrimack Valley Business Leaders Focus on Building a Competitive Workforce

Submitted by on October 30, 2012 – 9:03 am

Daniel J. Ryan, vice president of operations for Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, shared his company’s commitment to educating its workforce during a keynote address at a Friday, October 26 breakfast hosted by Merrimack Valley Partners for Progress, a collaboration between Middlesex and Northern Essex community colleges.

One hundred and fifty business and community leaders attended the event titled “Building a Competitive Workforce: The Community College Advantage”, which was held at the Andover Country Club in Andover, MA.

“We all know what the power of a skilled, educated, and motivated workforce can do for productivity, innovation, quality, and competitiveness,” said Ryan. “Our people make the difference…Our challenge as employers is to ensure that we have the right skills in-house to meet quickly evolving business needs, as well as to retain talent, and have a talent pipeline for long-term success.”

Ryan shared details on Raytheon’s collaboration with Middlesex and Northern Essex community colleges, including a series of 80- noncredit courses that was created to train production workers in the late 1990’s and the Electronic Equipment Technology Program, a 29-credit program currently offered onsite at Raytheon.

He called community college workforce training programs “affordable, flexible, and comprehensive.”

Carole Cowan, president of Middlesex Community College, introduced Ryan and provided perspective on community colleges and their role in workforce development.  “Here in the Valley, it’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs,” she said.  The Governor has asked the community colleges to work more closely with business to prepare local residents for jobs.”

In his remarks, Lane Glenn, president of Northern Essex Community College,  outlined the benefits of partnering with a community college to provide workforce training, citing examples of successful collaborations with KeySpan Corporation, Polartec, and Solectria Renewables to provide training in computers and customer service, English as a Second Language, and lean manufacturing.

Merrimack Valley Business Leaders Focus on Building a Competitive Workforce

Lane Glenn, NECC President, Royall Mack, chair, MCC Board of trustees, Dan Ryan, vice president of operations, Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems, and Carole Cowan, MCC president.

He also urged local businesses of all sizes to work with community colleges to access Workforce Training Fund grants, which provide resources to employers who want to better train their current workers.

Royall M. Mack, chair of the Middlesex Community College Board of Trustees, described MVPP as a unique educational alliance between Middlesex Community college and Northern Essex Community College focused on forging closer college and business relationships and dedicated to economic development in the region.  “By partnering with us, we can provide you with a skilled workforce.”

MVPP can provide training onsite, on-campus, or online.  Topics can range from professional development and management courses for executives and supervisors, to skilled trades training like computer numerical control (CNC) operations, to basic workplace and English as a Second Language skills training.

For more information, contact Judy Burke, dean, Corporate & Community Education & Training, Middlesex Community College, Judy Burke, 978 656-3009 or George Moriarty, executive director of workforce development and corporate relations, Northern Essex Community College,, 978 659-1224.

For more information about MVPP, visit