Mayfield and Universal Plastics Featured in Article on Attracting Younger Workers to Manufacturing

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Efforts by Mayfield Plastics and Universal Plastic’s efforts to attract more young workers to manufacturing was recently featured in a post on

Universal Plastics and Mayfield Plastics, custom thermoformers based in Holyoke and Millbury Massachusetts, have been working to resolve these problems by partnering with local career centers, schools, and government agencies to engage young people in advanced manufacturing while helping reduce unemployment in Massachusetts.

The full piece may be found here . The full article is reposted from Axial below.


Why Manufacturing Needs More Young Workers — and Vice Versa

Despite stubbornly high levels of unemployment, finding skilled factory workers is a tremendous challenge. A recent report by Deloitte posits that while “the manufacturing industry continues to be widely recognized as an indicator of the health of the U.S. economy,” it does not have the requisite skills to compete effectively on a global basis.

The study found that as many as 600,000 manufacturing jobs are going unfilled despite the high unemployment rate in the United States. Manufacturers report that their biggest challenge is filling the highly skilled production jobs, which are crucial to their innovation and growth.

Why is manufacturing facing the problem of finding qualified help in a down economy? First, manufacturing has an image problem. Old stereotypes of backbreaking labor and grimy working conditions still dominate the minds of younger candidates. The world has given celebrity status to high technology and cutting edge entrepreneurship, making traditional “old economy” industries, such as manufacturing, seem comparatively unsexy. The manufacturing companies themselves often make this worse by relying upon antiquated and ineffective recruiting and training strategies.


Universal Plastics, a 52-year-old custom thermoformer based in Holyoke, Massachusetts, has been attempting to resolve these problems by partnering with local career centers, schools, and government agencies to engage young people in advanced manufacturing while helping reduce the high unemployment in Western Massachusetts. (Universal Plastics is a portfolio company of Wembly Enterprises.)

In reality, manufacturing jobs today are much more high tech and appealing to a younger demographic. Workers are now required to be experts and operate the most sophisticated equipment in the world. They can cut steel with lasers, water jets, and plasma cutters and can program robots to paint, package, and palletize products. Furthermore, the rate of change and innovation in manufacturing is on par with “new economy” industries, so the fear of stagnation is also misplaced

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Joe Peters and Manny Cruz speaking at the State House in Boston

Universal employee Manny Cruz is one real-life example of someone who has benefited from these efforts. As a result of an On the Job Training Grant administered byCareerPoint, a not-for-profit helping to streamline the complex world of employment and training programs, Manny began working at Universal Plastics, where he was trained, mentored, and finally hired permanently as a 5-Axis CNC router operator — a demanding, highly specialized, and technical position that often goes unfilled, but is critical to the success of the business. Recently, Manny and Joe Peters, former CEO of Universal Plastics, were recognized by the state of Massachusetts as a success story for manufacturing training and workforce development, and spoke together at the State House in Boston about the importance of career centers in the state.

Joe, who currently serves on the board of multiple community development and employment organizations and has been honored numerous times for service work, has always believed that more is required of a businessman than just employing people. “Companies must be giving back to the communities in which they operate,” he said. “Universal has always found ways to be involved, from running a golf tournament for the local soup kitchens to sponsoring sports teams. I have found a special love for helping in workforce development. It’s obvious to me that a solid workforce is going to help create a solid economy. With the advent of new technology, the type of jobs and the skills required continue to evolve, adding new and different challenges to the equation.”

For other manufacturing companies looking to play a similar role in their community, here are two other steps Joe and Universal Plastics have taken to address this issue.

Build a pipeline for future employees early on.

Another recent initiative led by Joe in conjunction with the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club of Holyoke, and Holyoke High School brings in students to the Universal Plastics factory to film a video about local advanced manufacturing. Students learn about custom thermoforming, see how the machinery works, interview employees, and then shoot the video themselves. “If we can get more kids to learn about manufacturing and just how much opportunity there is for skilled, technically advanced operators, so that they are making an informed career decision, that is a huge win for us,” said Universal Plastics President Jay Kumar. “And of course, we hope that some of those decisions lead to careers at Universal Plastics, like in the case of Manny Cruz.”

Focus on training current employees.

Universal employs a safety and training officer who coordinates all training efforts, making sure that employees are current on all of the equipment they operate and the company’s operating and safety procedures. The Regional Employment Board offers ongoing training in CNC and other advanced manufacturing during the evenings in local trade schools and the technical community college. Universal Plastics encourages its employees, through tuition reimbursements and wage incentives, to continue to better themselves and their skills by taking these classes.

Universal Plastics has created over 35 new factory jobs in the last two years. When asked about what’s next on his extensive workforce development agenda, Joe chuckles and says, in his characteristic self-effacing manner, “Well, the ‘Manny and Joe’ roadshow continues! I guess they liked what they heard at the State House in Boston and we’ve been asked to come back and speak again by the Massachusetts Secretary of Workforce Development.” But between the lines of Joe’s light statement lies an important story, one worth being told and heard by every manufacturer across the United States, about the importance of educating, believing in, training, and developing our workforce. Manny Cruz is not just an example of how a young man can improve his future, but also of how collaboration between manufacturers, a government training agency, and today’s youth can bridge the chasm between skills and jobs to bolster the future of American manufacturing, an outcome which benefits us all.

“Manufacturing is enjoying a renaissance, as computer technology and robotics are becoming the way of life,” says Joe. “Our hope at Universal Plastics is that we can continue to attract young people to pursue amazing careers that are challenging, rewarding, and essential in today’s evolving economy.”

Mayfield Plastics Featured in Plastics News

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Mayfield Plastics  was featured in Plastics News regarding achieving minority business status. An excerpt is listed below. To view the article visit:

Mayfield  Plastics Gains Minority Certification | Plastics News

Custom thermoformer Universal Plastics Corp. and its sister company Mayfield Plastics Inc. of Sutton, Mass., have gained certification as minority-owned business enterprises.

“Companies today are implementing diversity initiatives as a component of their sourcing strategy. We are pleased to be officially recognized as a minority-owned enterprise,” said Jay Kumar, president of Holyoke, Mass.-based Universal Plastics, in a news release.The companies were certified by the Supplier Diversity office of Massachusetts.

Pia Kumar, the director of corporate development for both companies, said the lengthy process was demanding and consisted of fact checking, multiple site visits and plenty of paperwork. It means that they are owned, operated and controlled by a minority member. The couple, who are married, are first-generation Americans whose parents came from India, and both have grown up in American manufacturing.

She said the certification was not targeted at a certain industry.

The companies have made kayaks, air ducts for the Space Shuttle, New York City bus stops and bows of submarines. They serve the aerospace, medical device, transportation, consumer product, food packaging and electronic industries.

Mayfield Plastics & Universal Plastics Awarded State Workforce Training Grant

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Mayfield Plastics, a Massachusetts based custom thermoforming manufacturer, and its’ sister company Universal Plastics , are in an elite group of 25 Massachusetts companies to receive funding to train current or newly hired workers. The grant funding will help train a total of 2,162 workers, and is expected to create 263 new jobs.

The Workforce Training Fund assists Massachusetts businesses in becoming more competitive by investing in the skills of their workers. The Workforce Training Fund is also a key resource to thousands of Massachusetts workers who wish to advance their skills to achieve promotional opportunities and higher wages. It also acts as a catalyst for job creation.

“We are committed to growth and creating new job opportunities in manufacturing in Western Massachusetts. The grant will assist this in our efforts,” said Jay Kumar, President of Universal Plastics and Mayfield Plastics.

As part of the state grant, the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership was awarded $151,016 to train 93 workers, with nine additional jobs expected by 2018. This grant was awarded to a consortium of businesses, including Universal Plastics Corp & Mayfield Plastics Inc.

About Universal Plastics

Universal Plastics is a custom thermoformer based in Holyoke MA with strong legacy of expertise in manufacturing thermoformed plastic parts of the highest quality with a distinct focus on customer satisfaction. Universal has been in business for over 50 years with a world class management team and currently serves customers in a variety of industries including aerospace, medical device manufacturers, transportation, consumer products, food packaging and electronic companies.

As a custom manufacturer, Universal has made kayaks, air ducts for the Space Shuttle, all of the bus stop signs currently used in New York City and the bow of the submarines used by the Navy Seals. In 2008 they added a 30,000 square foot addition to their Whiting Farms Road building for a total of 100,000 square feet of production and office space. The company is ISO 9001 certified.

For more information visit

About Mayfield Plastics:
Mayfield is a leading manufacturer of custom pressure, vacuum formed and thermoformed parts and components specializing in thermoformed medical devices and components, but also serving a variety of additional industries including aerospace, telecom, electronics, computer, hospital, chromatography, machine-tool and transportation. In 2013, Mayfield Plastics was purchased by Jay Kumar, who also owns Universal Plastics, a custom thermoformer based in Holyoke MA with the intent of growing the thermoforming business locally through the combined strength and synergies of both companies. Together, Mayfield & Universal Plastics represent the largest thermoformer in New England and are proud to offer a manufacturing service which is state of the art. Equally, as a family-run business, Mayfield Plastics takes special pride in upholding a strong commitment to its customers and employees.

For more information about Mayfield Plastics, please visit

Mayfield Plastics Certified as Minority Owned Business

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minorityMayfield Plastics, a Massachusetts based custom thermoforming manufacturer, announced today that it has received certification as a minority-owned business enterprise (MBE) by the Supplier Diversity Office of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The MBE certification is the most widely recognized certification for minority-owned businesses in the United States.


“Companies today are implementing diversity initiatives as a component of their sourcing strategy. We are pleased to be officially recognized as a minority-owned business enterprise,” said Jay Kumar, President of Mayfield Plastics. “This certification will assist in our growth and ability to better service your OEM customer base”, Kumar said


The Supplier Diversity Office (SDO) is an agency within the Operational Services Division which promotes the development of certified minority-owned businesses. Specifically, SDO offers services in certification, enforcement, business assistance and advocacy.

Sutton Massachusetts Middle Schoolers Win $5,000 for AMP it up! Video Challenge for Thermoforming Videos of Mayfield Plastics

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Almost 40 middle school children from the Sutton Middle School visited custom thermoformer Mayfield Plastics last winter to participate in the AMP it up! Video challenge and their efforts paid off with two winning videos and $5,000 in prize money for the school. The AMP it up! Challenge invited students to research the inner workings of an advanced manufacturing innovation and how it impacts the world around them. The Sutton Middle School won two awards for $2500 each for the videos “A Guide to Thermoforming” and “An Amp it up! Special: Mayfield Plastics”. There were a total of eleven winners and $30,000 in prize money provided by the Manufacturing Futures Fund. Continue Reading

Vote for AMP It UP Videos

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As you may know, the Sutton Middle School contacted Mayfield to participate in the AMP it Up challenge and brought students to tour our facility in January. We showed them a video put out by the SPE as an introduction to thermoforming. We also showed them sample parts and had a question and answer session both before & after the shop tour. Most of the time they were here was on the shop floor filming and watching the operations in process to gather information for their projects.  (A three minute VIDEO to answer these three questions; How is it made? Why does it matter? And lastly, What does it mean to me?)  Overall it went very well and both the students and the teachers were appreciative of our time. Continue Reading

Jay Kumar Interviewed by Plastics News

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Jay Kumar, owner of Universal Plastics and Mayfield Plastics,  was recently featured in the Plastics News video series “What Keeps you Up at Night” by Plastics News Publisher Brennan Lafferty. Kumar talked about why he left Wall Street for the plastics industry and what keeps him up at night. Continue Reading

Mayfield Selects New ERP Vendor

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Mayfield Plastics has selected IQMS as their new ERP manufacturing software vendor. We will update this when our implementation is complete. For more information, visit Continue Reading

A Medical Device Manufacturer’s Dream

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The following article appeared in the February Issue of D2P Magazine.

Click here for a PDF version of the story

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Top Thermoforming Blog Posts

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Over the past years of writing our blog we have had many questions asked about Thermoforming and have written several blog posts that address specific questions related to Thermofming, Vacuum Forming, Plastic Enclosures and more! Here are the top 3 blog posts related to Thermoforming:  Continue Reading