DEVENS - Students from the Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster participated in a special tour of Little Leaf Farms, located in Devens, recently.
The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and its economic development affiliate the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation organized the tour in partnership with Mr. Jon Blodgett, Teen Director of the Boys & Girls Club. The tour was part of efforts to celebrate Manufacturing Month and inspire young people to consider careers in advanced manufacturing.
Little Leaf Farms has built the most modern, technologically-advanced greenhouse in the world that can produce year-round, locally grown baby greens that give New England consumers an alternative to West Coast grown lettuce. All Little Leaf Farms products are non GMO and pesticide/herbicide-free. The Little Leaf Farms team kicked off the day's events at their facility in Devens, with an informative presentation followed by a tour of their agricultural production. Co-founders of Little Leaf Farms, Paul Sellew and Tim Cunniff, lead the tour and stopped to engage a few of the younger employees along the way. The young men and women from the Boys and Girls Club learned about automation, modern agricultural processes and other facets of the business.
"Manufacturing is alive and well in North Central Massachusetts," said Roy Nascimento, President and CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, "Advanced manufacturing accounts for one in four jobs in the region and these are some of the most well-paid, highly trained and in demand jobs in the workforce, working on some of the most advanced equipment and technology.
However, many manufacturers have been challenged recruiting the workers they need. Despite the high wage potential and increasing employer demand, there is both a need for more young workers and a skills gap among an existing and a transitioning workforce.