This study on the Precision Manufacturing Regional Alliance of Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley illustrates how a region can position its roots in a declining industry into strengths for new cluster growth. Located in the western part of Massachusetts, the Pioneer Valley has deep foundations in manufacturing that include textiles, paper, electrical components, and precision machining. The study offers an example of how an organization such as the Innovation Institute at Massachusetts Technology Collaborative can leverage public funds to make strategic investments that enrich cluster performance. By creating a collaborative framework within which company executives, academic partners, and the public sector can develop shared understandings, the Innovation Institute has addressed critical workforce and competitiveness issues for the Pioneer Valley's precision manufacturing cluster. In turn, these improvements have fostered new public and private investments that can independently sustain the cluster and its supporting organizations. This Policy and Impact Study is the fourth in a series of four developed as part of the U.S. Cluster Mapping Project, an initiative supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
A set of four Policy and Impact Studies was developed by the U.S. Cluster Mapping Project to impart collaborative, real-world examples of how clusters have been used to improve regional economic growth. These studies are: Mobilizing Oregon Clusters (OR), the Minneapolis-St. Paul Regional Cluster Initiative (MN), New Carolina (SC), and the Precision Manufacturing Regional Alliance (MA). By documenting cluster programs and amassing a set of best practices, they display how organizations can apply and leverage data from the U.S. Cluster Mapping website to improve their own regions. Each study tells a unique story, but all provide lessons learned that can be applied and extended to other regions.