80 Flagship Dr.
North Andover MA 01845


By M. Brenda Smith
Eagle-Tribune Writer

NORTH ANDOVER – Central Metal Finishing became the fifth area company to have an active Tactical Training Initiative grant from the state yesterday.

The $25,000 grant will be used to run training programs for the Flagship Drive company’s 62 employees. The first program, two basic English as a second language (ESL) classes, is already under way with 15 students.

“We started the program a couple of weeks ago,” said Carol Shibles, company President. “Already we can see that it has improved workers’ self-esteem, commitment and motivation. This could not have been done by Central Metal alone. We needed help from the employment board.” The company will use the rest of the grant to bring an expert from California to run an in-house certification program for its platers, about 15 people.

Companies interested in the grant program must apply for it through the Lower Merrimack Valley Regional Employment Board. Companies that receive TTI grants must provide a matching grant. Central Metals’ matching grant pays its employees while they attent training classes – two hours a day, three times a week.

“It would be difficult, if not impossible, for a company of our size to afford the level of training needed for us to remain competitive and grow without the assistance of the Tactical Training Initiative Program,” Ms. Shibles said. “For Central Metal Finishing this grant means a better trained work force producing a higher quality product which should bring us increased business and may, in turn, create additional employment opportunities for the people of the region.”

Central Metal Finishing puts coating on metal parts for automotive, medical, aerospace and related industries. The 20 year old company, recieved ISO 9002 certification, the top international quality standard, in April 1995.

The company already has applied for a second TTI grant to provide higher-level ESL, blueprint reading and and basic math classes.

“In industry today it’s how to do the job consistently,” Ms. Shibles said. “Workers have to communicate effectively so they can do their jobs.”

Parlex Corp. in Methuen, Alphatron and Adom Engineering in Haverhill and Dallos & Co. in Lawerence are the other area companies that have TTI grants in process.

“Five TTI grants is a very high number for any region to have in one year,” said Vincent T. Lopes, directory of the Tactical Training Initiative program. “Most regions have only one or two.”

Reprinted with permission from The Eagle-Tribune Newspaper.
This articled appeared on May 6, 1997.
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