Coghlin Companies and subsidiary Columbia Tech support the Worcester Chamber of Commerce initiative to recruit, retain and incubate biomedical firms, including related high-tech manufacturers, in Greater Worcester.
Tim Murray has been in the driver’s seat of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce for less than 60 days. But he’s already reviving the long-stalled organization up to 60 MPH as the region’s economic-development engine.
Murray’s goal is to raise $1.2 million over the next few months, to recruit, retain and incubate biomedical firms, including high-tech manufacturers – those using high-tech equipment such as robotics to make products such as medical devices – in Greater Worcester. The new Worcester Economic Development Advancement Fund has initial commitments totaling $300,000.
Initial plans for WEDAF include identifying companies in sectors of the economy that play to our region’s strengths. As such, the Chamber will focus recruitment efforts on specific industry sectors as well as the developer community.
In the past month, the Chamber reports, there has been “a significant increase” in the number of new businesses joining the organization. According to the Chamber, there have been “many initiating contact and asking to become a member. Several have cited increased activity by the Chamber and a new level of enthusiasm as factors in their decision to join.”
The membership turn-around is long overdue. Two decades ago, the then-named Worcester Chamber of Commerce had 4,400 members, including those of its affiliate Chambers. Since then, the ranks have shrunk by nearly 50 percent, to around 2,300.
A much more onerous trend has been the decline in our region’s manufacturing jobs coupled with the inability of many returning – and highly skilled – veterans to find good jobs at good wages.