University News

Western New England University Hosts Distinguished Guests: Governor Healey and Secretaries Hao, Jones, and Tutwiler

Published: March 12, 2024 | Categories: Engineering, All News
Governor Maura Healey visit the Engineering lab while students explain the equipment and process.

Western New England University (WNE) had the privilege of hosting a delegation of esteemed dignitaries today, including Governor Maura Healey and Secretaries Yvonne Hao (Economic Development), Lauren Jones (Labor & Workforce Development), and Patrick Tutwiler (Education). The visit, aimed at fostering collaboration and dialogue on critical issues in education, workforce development, and economic growth, exemplified WNE's commitment to civic engagement and community partnership.

The visit was part of Healey's Mass Leads Road Show highlighting the Mass Leads Act. The bill invests in advanced manufacturing and robotics to grow the Massachusetts economy, support businesses, and attract talent to the state.

Governor Healey and the Secretaries were welcomed by WNE President Dr. Robert E. Johnson, College of Engineering Dean Hossein Cherghi, local officials, and industry leaders as they arrived on campus. The day's agenda featured insightful discussions and hands-on demonstrations by WNE students.

"The Mass Leads Act will invest in every sector of our economy, across every region of our state. Western New England University is the perfect place to highlight the bill's focus on advanced manufacturing and robotics," said Governor Healey. "Today we got a glimpse of what is possible when we invest in our innovation economy and our institutions of higher learning – we can spark research and advances in technology, while also training the next generation of workers."

During the visit, WNE highlighted three groundbreaking projects funded to drive innovation, workforce development, and economic growth:

The WNE Center for Advanced Manufacturing Systems (CAMS) and Robotic Welding Technologies Project: This initiative aims to enhance advanced manufacturing capabilities in the region through the development and implementation of cutting-edge robotic welding technologies. With a focus on efficiency, precision, and automation, the CAMS project is poised to revolutionize the manufacturing sector, creating new opportunities for skilled workers and driving economic prosperity. Supported by a substantial $1.1 million investment from the Healey-Driscoll Administration, the CAMS project underscores a commitment to innovation and sustainable growth.

Northeast Microelectronics Coalition Hub (NEMC) Participation: WNE is actively engaged in the Northeast Microelectronics Coalition, a collaborative effort aimed at advancing microelectronics research, development, and workforce training in the region. By participating in the NEMC hub, WNE is contributing to the growth of the semiconductor industry, fostering innovation, and preparing students for high-demand careers in this critical field. This endeavor is supported by $19.7 million in federal CHIPS and Science Act funding and the strategic partnership with the Healey-Driscoll Administration.

Quantum Computing Infrastructure Grant: Recognizing the transformative potential of quantum computing, WNE has secured funding to establish a state-of-the-art quantum computing infrastructure in partnership with UMass Boston. This initiative will position the university at the forefront of quantum research and education, driving breakthroughs in computation, cryptography, and data analysis while preparing students for the jobs of the future. Supported by a $999,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this initiative underscores WNE's commitment to innovation and preparing students for the evolving technological landscape.

"Today's visit by Governor Healey marks a milestone in our journey towards leading in advanced manufacturing and robotics, underscored by the strategic investments of the Mass Leads Act," said WNE President Dr. Robert E. Johnson. "At Western New England University, this support translates directly into cutting-edge research and development in areas critical to our nation's future, including our CAMS and Robotic Welding Technologies Project. This Act not only strengthens our state's competitive stance in the technology sector but also underlines the vital role of education in achieving sustainable economic growth and workforce readiness. We are grateful to the Healey-Driscoll Administration for their continued support of these life-changing initiatives."

WNE remains dedicated to its mission of preparing work-ready and world-ready graduates who contribute meaningfully to their communities and industries. The university continues to be a driver of positive change, economic investment, and opportunities for all.