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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
OIE Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Metro North Regional Employment Board


Cambridge, MA

Project Name

Form to Factory Supporting Advanced Manufacturing in Northeast Massachusetts



Award Amount


This project will establish and strengthen links between an emerging “Hardware Startup Cluster” and an established “Advanced Manufacturing Cluster” located within the target region; Middlesex and Essex counties are situated within metro Boston’s Economic Development District (EDD) and have a combined population of approximately 2.3 million. The region accounts for 47 percent of the state’s manufacturing employment, but faces an entry-level labor shortage of over 800 new, skilled workers per year. Existing Workforce Development partnerships within the region are already focused on increasing this supply for advanced manufacturers. By creating internships at the Hardware Startups, we can develop a broader interest among area students to pursue manufacturing careers in both clusters.

The Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (NAMC), Greentown Labs, and the City of Somerville (COS) intend to build capacity among hardware startups throughout the northeast region. The partners will create a standing Hardware Advisory Committee composed of stakeholders in the hardware startup and manufacturing industries. The Committee will:

  • develop internship opportunities for STEM students enrolled in area colleges and technical schools, and provide cash grants for jobs and internship placements;
  • hire and place Engineers-in-Residence at startups;
  • host technical assistance services at the Somerville Fab Lab; and
  • provide supply chain matchmaking services between hardware startups and manufacturers.

The project will provide 2,400 hours of technical assistance to 30 startup companies resulting in 22 concepts nurtured into prototypes. At the same time, we will create supply chain introductions to match 80 established manufacturing firms with 110 hardware startup companies, resulting in at least 32 production contracts. Finally, we will provide internship opportunities for 24 students, resulting in an expanded talent pool for future new hires at both startups and established manufacturers.

The project will produce 27 new jobs and $2 million in new revenues for advanced manufacturers and hardware startups combined over the three years of the grant, followed by further growth in both jobs and company revenues in the years beyond the grant.