How the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is Helping the Commonwealth Lead the Way 

November 9, 2021 8:51 am

For decades Massachusetts has been a leader in science, technology, and innovation. National accolades and awards include: #1 in Bloomberg’s State Innovation Index for 2015 & 2016; the top tech state for eight consecutive editions of the Milken Institute’s State Tech and Science Index; and named the Center for Data Innovation’s top state for 2017. 

It makes sense that during the pandemic, the Commonwealth continued to lead the way under the leadership of government and community groups including the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. 

The North Shore Alliance was recently able to chat with Carolyn Kirk, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative during our weekly North Shore Conversations aired on 104.9FM Saturday mornings. We learned about the organization and its current programs leading the way in the technology industries.

MA techWhat Is the Mass Tech Collaborative & Its Mission? 

The Mass Tech Collaborative has been in operation for four decades and is guided by the mission to support business formation and growth in the state’s technology sector thus helping Massachusetts lead in the global digital economy.

They do this by driving strategic investments, partnerships, and insights that harness the talent of Massachusetts. They do this through programs such as the Mass Broadband Institute, Center for Advanced Manufacturing, the Digital Health Initiative, and the Mass Cyber Center among others. 

New Programs and Initiatives To Watch 

During our conversation with Kirk, we learned of two new programs and how they are impacting the residents of Massachusetts in some unique and innovative ways. 

Broadband Institute 

The Mass Broadband Institute program at the MA Tech Collaborative is tasked with bringing the internet to underserved communities. Yes, you heard that correctly, some towns and areas of tech savvy state still do not have access (or reliable access) to the internet. Hard to believe after the past year and a half we have just spent learning, meeting, and shopping online. 

In the past few years the Broadband Institute has worked to bring the internet to 53 local communities, 9 of which had partial access, as well as working with Middle Mile Connectivity and Last Mile Connectivity programs. This has resulted in 25 thousand Bay State residents having been served. 

While this program has been ongoing, the Institute realizes it still has a ways to go in helping everyone in our state be able to access the internet for school, work, telehealth visits, Zoom calls, research, and to make Covid 19 vaccination appointments. 

Additionally, the program has set up Wi-Fi hotspots in three Gateway cities in our region: Salem, Peabody, and Lynn, where residents can gain secure access to the internet. For populations who are lacking a device the Institute will provide Chromebooks and other devices as well as technology skills training for those who need help using the technology. 

Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative & Covid Innovation Challenges 

Another program that the Massachusetts Tech Collaborative is especially proud of is the Advanced Manufacturing Program and how they were able to pivot many local businesses to manufacture much needed PPE in the beginning months of the pandemic. 

Companies like 99 and New Balance in Lawrence, were able to produce medical gowns, masks and other personal protective equipment for our healthcare workers on the front lines. More than 500 companies took part in this endeavour resulting in more than 20 million pieces of PPE in production in the early stages of the pandemic. 

Check out the many science, technology, and innovation based programs at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and see how you can become a part of the future today.