Worcester: Economy

views updated May 21 2018

Worcester: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Worcester, the second largest city in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and located at its geographic center, is a major manufacturing, distribution, service, retail, and trading center for New England. Worcester's economy is diverse, with more than 5,000 firms of all types in the metropolitan area. This diversity has served Worcester well in periods of economic downturn, as the economy is not dependant on the success of a single sector. While the national economy continues to struggle, Worcester has experienced modest growth and can boast of many positive economic indicators. Worcester is home to diverse manufacturing firms, retailers, service companies, and wholesale businesses. Economic incentives and assistance programs help draw businesses to Worcester and retain existing firms.

Worcester's colleges and universities comprise the second largest employer in the city. Developments in biotechnology and high tech industries, the health industry, manufacturing, and downtown development highlight Worcester's areas of greatest recent growth. Many emerging industries such as fiber optics, electronics, and advanced ceramics are flourishing. Further, the presence of so many higher education opportunities in Worcester mean that the community's workforce is highly skilled and well-trained. The educational level of Worcester's workforce has been an additional draw to businesses in the fields of health, technology, pharmaceuticals and professional services.

An important indicator of Worcester's economic health is the number of ongoing development projects and business relocations in the area. Business development in Worcester has been steady and strong since 2000, and more than 100 companies expressed interest in relocating to the Worcester area during the 2004 fiscal year.

Items and goods produced: abrasives; steel and wire goods; ball valves; sprinklers; grinding wheels; woolens and worsteds; textile, grinding, and labeling machinery; machine tools; dies; airplane and electronics parts; shoes; leather and knitted goods; looms; firearms; automotive accessories; boilers; plastics; wrenches; precision tools and gauges; chairs; carpets and rugs

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The District Improvement Financial Program, or DIF, is a locally driven public financing alternative that allows municipalities to fund public works, infrastructure, and development projects. Projects qualifying under DIF receive advantages such as the avoidance of any new tax levies and negotiable finance terms. The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce also has a Business Assistance Program, which focuses on retaining existing businesses and attracting new business to the Worcester area. The Chamber of Commerce has the capabilities to assist in site searches and other technical aspects of the relocation or expansion process.

State programs

The state of Massachusetts offers a wide array of business and financial incentives, as well as assistance in coordinating business development and relocation. The Economic Development Incentive Program, or EDIP, was designed to create and retain businesses in target areas. State tax incentives are available to qualifying projects, including a five percent investment tax credit for tangible, depreciable assets as well as municipal tax incentives such as special tax assessments and Tax Increment Financing.

Job training programs

Area educational institutions work closely with local companies to design practical programs of study to prepare students for entry into the job market in such fields as electronics, machine operation, computer technology, health care, culinary arts, and clerical skills. Upgrading and retraining programs are also available.

The city's Office of Employment and Training works closely with the local employment and training network providers to offer a diverse range of programs. The Office aims to prepare residents for entry into the workforce by providing access to important occupational skills matching the needs of regional employers. The Worcester Workforce Central One Stop Career Center provides jobseekers with information regarding both training and employment opportunities, including job banks, notifications of on-site recruitment, resources pertaining to training and continuing information programs, and information on distance learning opportunities. The Massachusetts Division of Employment and Training administers the Workforce Training Fund, which provides resources to businesses to train both new and current employees. The Hiring Incentive Training Grant Program provides additional incentives for businesses hiring employees who have been out of work for over a year.

Development Projects

Development projects have been thriving in Worcester since the turn of the century. The Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives, an independent, tax-exempt corporation dedicated to the growth of biotechnology has completed two Worcester facilities. Named the MBIdeas Innovation Center, this facility has lead to the formation of over 12 companies and the creation of 65 new jobs, as well as investment into the Worcester community. The Innovation Center also plans a new life sciences business with its own sophisticated facility.

The Union Station development project is a $32 million renovation of one of Worcester's most beautiful buildings. Abandoned in 1975 after the decline of the railroads, the historic 1911 French Renaissance building stood vacant for more than 20 years. In renovating the building, particular attention was paid to the restoration of its original stained glass ceilings, marble columns, and mahogany woodworking. Today, the station is a functional transportation center, serving as a hub for train, taxi, and bus lines. A restaurant, blues lounge, and the FDR American Heritage Center Museum and Special Collections Showcase are also housed within Union Station. Additionally, commercial rental space is available on the first and second floors of the station.

In 2003 work was completed on the initial phase of the South Worcester Industrial Park, a complex project involving the environmental remediation and rehabilitation of eleven acres of blighted and abandoned property. Projects such as the South Worcester Industrial Park are vital to the continued development of the Worcester area, as space for new and expanding business is at a premium. When completed, the Industrial Park will provide space for private businesses interested in developing new industrial facilities.

June 2004 marked the starting point of the redevelopment of a one million square foot outlet mall at the heart of Worcester in the CitySquare project. The project aims to create a mixed-use facility over the next five years, with space dedicated to uses as diverse as medical, office, residential, retail, and entertainment. CitySquare will feature an open-air street grid and will be centered around a green space. Its proximity to important downtown features and to transportation facilities mean that CitySquare will be an important step in transforming the core of downtown Worcester.

Economic Development Information: Office of Planning and Community Development, City of Worcester, 418 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608; telephone (508)799-1400. Worcester Business Development Corporation, 33 Waldo Street, Worcester, MA 01608; telephone (508)753-2924

Commercial Shipping

Worcester's central location makes it easily accessible by multiple means of transportation. Highways I-90, Route 495, and Route 290 all provide convenient access to multiple locations within the city. Ten daily MBTA commuter rail trains provide service between Worcester and Boston's Back Bay and South stations. Amtrak service is available from Union Station, with daily trains departing for destinations such as Boston, Chicago, and New York. The Worcester Bus Terminal is serviced by both Greyhound and Peter Pan Trailways, while local bus transportation is provided by the Worcester Regional Transit Authority. The Worcester Regional Airport is convenient to downtown and is open to private and business flights. The Port of Worcester is one of the nation's largest inland container yards, and its terminals serve as railheads for export or domestic shipments of containerized freight from New England to the West Coast.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

With its strong academic and technical education resources, research facilities, and manufacturing base, Worcester continues to prove an attractive site for new and relocating high-technology firms. Development projects announced or in the planning stages are expected to insure construction jobs in the region while also ensuring a continuing source of investment into the community.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Worcester metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 243,500

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 10,300

manufacturing: 29,700

trade, transportation, and utilities: 45,300

information: 4,000

financial activities: 14,100

professional and business services: 29,100

educational and health services: 45,900

leisure and hospitality: 21,900

other services: 9,100

government: 34,200

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $15.71

Unemployment rate: 5.5% (March 2005)

Largest employers (2004)Number of employees
EMC Corporation7,200
UMass Memorial Health Care7,195
UMass Medical School6,040
Bertucci's Corporation5,000
Fallon Community Health Plan4,636
Waters Corp.3,600
Worcester Public Schools3,458
Allmerica Financial/The Hanover Insurance Company2,305

Cost of Living

The cost of groceries, health care, utilities and transportation, and miscellaneous goods and services in Worcester is slightly above the national average.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Worcester area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $372,500

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 114.6 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: 5% on earned income

State sales tax rate: 5% on most items; does not include food and clothing

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: $31.44 per $1,000 (2004)

Economic Information: Worcester Area Chamber of Commerce, 33 Waldo Street, Worcester, MA 01608; telephone (508)753-2924

Worcester: Recreation

views updated Jun 08 2018

Worcester: Recreation


Worcester's colonial past and high-technology present fuse: historic homesteads coexist with science centers and modern sculpture. The American Antiquarian Society, dating to 1812, is the third oldest historical society in the country. The Society maintains a collection of materials pertaining to American history and culture; tours are held on Wednesdays. Salisbury Mansion is another architectural artifact; this 1772 home, one of the best documented in New England, has been restored under the auspices of the Worcester Historical Museum. The home has been recreated to replicate the life of the Salisbury family during the early to mid-1800s. Old Sturbridge Village, located near Worcester in Sturbridge, is a recreated 1830s village that is open year-round. Talks, walking tours, and performances are highlights of the Sturbridge Village experience and vary throughout the year. The Ecotarium is a multi-million dollar natural science and environmental education center on the old New England Science Center 60-acre campus. Inside is the three-level hands-on exhibit hall, a multimedia planetarium, and a solar-lunar observatory. Outside are a maze of nature trails, a train ride, a 100-foot tower that uses wind to generate power, and an indoor-outdoor zoo. The American Sanitary Plumbing Museum offers a unique look at antique fixtures, tools and accoutrements of the plumbing world.

Worcester's "Artworks in Our Parks" program has gained national attention for its innovative combination of park preservation and outdoor sculpture. Memorials, statues, bridges, and fountains by leading artists can be found throughout Worcester's parks. Floral displays can also be enjoyed at the Worcester County Horticultural Society, located in Boylston, which also offers lectures and workshops. The Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wild-life Sanctuary, the largest urban wildlife sanctuary in New England, offers more than five miles of marked trail on over 400 acres. Broad Meadow Brook also features nature exhibits and programs appealing to visitors of all ages.

Arts and Culture

Music Worcester, Inc. presents Worcester's 140-year-old Music Festival which draws crowds each fall to Mechanics Hall, as do the international Arts Series, and the Mass Jazz Festival. The group also produces chamber ensemble, world music, jazz, and choral performances. The city's choral tradition includes the All Saints Choir of Men and Boys, established in 1868, and the country's oldest continuous choir. Many other choral groups entertain the region's audiences, offering barbershop quartet melodies, sacred music, and Broadway hits. Perhaps the most famous is the Worcester Chorus, which performs with the Worcester Orchestra. Tuckerman Hall, designed by Josephine Wright Chapman, one of America's first female architects, is home to the Central Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra.

Grand opera and children's operas are staged by Opera Worcester and the Salisbury Lyric Opera Company. The Central Massachusetts Symphony performs many of its concerts at Tuckerman Hall and Mechanics Hall, and its summer offerings at Institute Park. College of the Holy Cross music performing ensembles include the Brass Ensemble, College Choir, Chamber Players, Crusader Band, Schola Cantorum, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, Liturgical Music Ministry, Madrigal Singers, and Opera Scenes workshop, all of which perform regularly in a variety of settings both on and off campus.

Worcester theater claimed national attention with the emergence of the Worcester Foothills Theatre Company in 1974. This residential troupe stages some seven productions annually. Other companies include the Worcester Forum Theatre Ensemble, the Clark University Theatre Program, Worcester Children's Theatre, the Peter Pan Players and Side Show Troupe children's groups, and Phoenix Players. Performances by the Pyramid Gypsy Dance Company have helped gain renown for Worcester's dance community.

The Worcester Art Museum, one of the largest and finest in the country, houses a notable collection of Dutch, English, Italian, and French masters in 36 galleries. Museum holdings span 50 centuries and include a complete room from a medieval French monastery. The Museum's collection consists of 35,000 pieces, including paintings, sculpture, photography, prints, decorative arts, and drawings. The Worcester Historical Museum, founded in 1877, maintains exhibits of American history and a library, and sponsors self-guided walking tours of the city. Changing exhibits and special programs highlight contributions of groups and individuals over the course of Worcester's history. The Higgins Armory Museum displays more than 100 suits of armor, part of the most comprehensive collection in the Western World and also hosts an annual renaissance fair.

Art galleries include Gallery 70 at the Heywood Gallery, which showcases emerging artists from the Boston area; the Fletcher/Priest Gallery, which focuses on contemporary art; and the Prince and Potter Gallery, which offers artwork and contemporary crafts. The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery on the campus of Holy Cross College attempts to link displays to the broad intellectual aims of the college's liberal arts curriculum. Arts Worcester is a private, non-profit organization that hosts satellite galleries and advocates for the arts in the Worcester region.

Arts and Culture Information: Worcester Cultural Commission, Office of Planning and Community Development, 418 Main St., Worcester, MA 01608; telephone (508)799-1400

Festivals and Holidays

Worcester's festival season begins with the Central Massachusetts Flower Show, sponsored by the local horticultural society in February and the Worcester Wine and Food Festival at Union Station, also in February. The show features 30 gardens and displays from 10 garden clubs. May brings a Craft Fair at the Worcester Craft Center, and the Worcester Spring Home Show. St. Mary's Albanian Orthodox Church and St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church jointly celebrate a festival in June. July is the time for fireworks during the Festival at East Park; the Sunday series played by the Central Massachusetts Symphony in Institute Park also takes place in July. The Annual Abbott's Mime Festival and the Worcester County Music Association Concert series both play in Institute Park in August. The Irish Festival at Quinsigamond College and the Boticelli Ball at Mechanics Hall are annual August events.

The Worcester County Music Association's Annual Music Festival in October, begun in 1858, is the oldest music festival in the United States. Entertainment includes symphonic programs, ballet, opera, choral music, and performances by individual artists. The Horticultural Hall hosts the Harvest Fest and Autumn Show while Mechanics Hall hosts the Black Debutantes' Ball. December brings a Christmas Lighting Parade and the First Night Celebration on New Year's Eve.

Sports for the Spectator

Worcester has a long sporting history, as the city was home to one of the eight original National League (baseball) teams and hometown of the author of Casey at the Bat. Today, the Worcester Tornadoes of the CanAm Professional Baseball Association play in Worcester at Fitton Field. The region's universities offer mens' and womens' varsity sports. Worcester's Centrum Centre offers events such as motocross races and has played host to preliminary rounds of the NCAA basketball and ice hockey tournaments. Boston, an hour's drive from Worcester, offers professional baseball, basketball, and hockey.

Sports for the Participant

With 47 parks covering more than 1,200 acres, outdoor athletes can always find something to do in Worcester. Elm Park, near the city's center, was the country's first park purchased with tax money. It was renovated thanks to a $1.5 million state grant; its charm owes much to its ornamental bridges, under which skaters glide in winter. Other activities there include jogging, sunbathing, picnicking, tennis, and basketball. Both Elm Park and the Worcester Common, set aside as open space in 1669, are on the National Registry of Historic Places. Quinsigamond State Park is the city's largest and includes two beaches and facilities for picnicking, boating, and fishing. Green Hill Park, Worcester's largest public park, includes an 18-hole golf course, picnic groves, a skating pond, a little league field, handball courts ski run, and the Barnyard Farm and Educational Area petting zoo. A recent addition to Worcester's sporting scene is the "upscale" Boston Billiard Club. Worcester is conveniently located near the northern New England mountains, state parks, ski lodges, and bays and beaches. Golfing opportunities abound in the greater Worcester area.

Shopping and Dining

A multitude of discount stores and factory outlets bring shoppers from miles around to Worcester and its neighboring towns. The bargain stores offer locally produced items such as clothing, shoes, and fabric. Greendale Mall, which boasts more than 54 shops and restaurants, features pseudo-Victorian brick and iron decor and is filled with plants and flowers under an atrium ceiling. Tatnuck Bookseller & Sons' expanded operation on Chandler Street displays 10,000 square feet of books in a new location that also features retail outlets and a cultural center. The Perkins Farm Marketplace is a community shopping center just north of the Massachusetts Turnpike. Worcester has many unique shops featuring the crafts and wares of local artisans. Antique shops are also plentiful in the Worcester area.

Worcester restaurants delight palates, whether serving sturdy New England fare in colonial settings or nouveau American cuisine in streamlined luxury. Ethnic food can be had as well, including Greek, Italian, Indian, and Jewish Kosher dishes. Legal Seafood Outlet offers more than 300 varieties of seafood. Shrewsbury Street, traditionally known for its Italian cuisine, has seen the opening of several new upscale restaurants. To the north of Worcester, the Nashoba Valley Winery offers a gourmet restaurant as well as a winemaking and distillation facility and a brewery; tastings are available throughout the week.

Visitor Information: Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, 100 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA 02202; telephone (617)727-3201


views updated Jun 11 2018


WORCESTER , U.S. city in Massachusetts, 40 mi. (64 km.) W. of Boston. Its population was 172,648 (2000 census), with an estimated Jewish population of 10,000 in the city and surrounding area, which includes such communities as Westborough, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Fitchburg, and Leominster.

The earliest settlement of Jews in the Worcester area occurred during the American Revolution when the British occupied *Newport, r.i., and several Jewish families, headed by Aaron *Lopez, a wealthy shipping merchant, left that city to live for the duration of the war in Leicester, five miles from Worcester. After the war the Leicester community dissolved when the Jewish families returned to Newport. Worcester had no permanent Jewish settlement until after the Civil War, when the *Straus and Gross families established stores in the city. In 1870 Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe began to come to Worcester in larger numbers.


The first congregation, Sons of Israel, was established in 1877, and a burial society was formed the same year. As the Jewish population grew, congregations – all located on the East Side – multiplied to total 13. With the shift of the Jewish population to the West Side of the city, most of them closed. Sons of Jacob and Shaarai Torah (1904), which was merged with Sons of Abraham (1887), have survived.

In 1968, three Orthodox congregations remained on the East Side – Sons of Jacob; Sons of Zion, a small congregation; and Shaarai Torah – Sons of Abraham, at the synagogue erected in 1906. A West Side branch of Shaarai Torah – Sons of Abraham was established in 1959. Rabbi Joseph Gold, who came to the congregation in 1954, served both branches. Earlier rabbis included Meyer Greenberg (1947–54) and Gershon Appel (1943–47), who pursued his Ph.D. at Harvard and went on to congregations in Seattle and New York before becoming a professor of philosophy at Stern College. In addition to Shaarai Torah – Sons of Abraham, there were in 1968 five other congregations on the West Side.

Temple Emanuel (Reform), established in 1921, moved to permanent quarters in 1923. In 1949 it erected a large synagogue which was considerably expanded in 1961. The congregation grew rapidly to become the Jewish community's largest, with a membership of over 1,300 families. Maurice M. Mazure, the first rabbi (1923–26), was followed by Julius Gordon (1926–29), Levi A. Olan (1929–48; d. 1984), and afterwards by Joseph Klein and Jordan Milstein. Hugo Chaim *Adler, who achieved fame as a composer of synagogue music, was cantor of Temple Emanuel from 1939 until his death in 1955.

Congregation Beth Israel (Conservative), formed in 1924, built a house of worship in 1939, and in 1959 erected a larger synagogue. Its rabbis included Herbert Ribner (1948–55), Abraham Kazis, who began in 1955, and was followed by Joel Pitkowsky.

Congregation Beth Judah (Orthodox), founded in 1948, was headed in 1968 by Rabbi Reuven Fischer. Congregation Tifereth Israel (Orthodox), established in 1959, was led in 1968 by Rabbi Herschel Fogelman. It was associated with the Chabad *Lubavitch movement. Temple Sinai (Reform) was established in 1957; its rabbi (1970) was John J. Rosenblatt. In 2005 Seth Bernstein was the rabbi.

Congregations in Westborough include Beth Tikvah, whose rabbi was Fred Benjamin, Bnai Shalom, whose rabbi was Laurence Milder, and Chabad, whose rabbi was Micoel Green.

In addition to the congregational school, the Ivriah School, a community talmud torah supported by the Worcester Jewish Federation was formed in 1927 by combining the Hebrew Free School (established 1905) with the existing Orthodox congregational schools. It ceased to exist in the 1980s, but in the early 21st century there were two day schools, the New Jewish Academy established in 2005 (the successor to the Solomon Schechter Day School), a community transdenominational school which recognizes and respects all forms of Jewish practice, and the Yeshiva, the Chabad-Lubavitch day school.

Community Organizations and Leadership

In 1920 a number of existing charitable organizations were combined to form the United Jewish Charities, later the Jewish Social Service Agency, and in 1968 called the Jewish Family Service. The Jewish Community Council, formed in 1936, and the Jewish Welfare Fund, established in 1939, were merged in 1947 to form the Worcester Jewish Federation. The Jewish Community Center, established in 1950, used the old Temple Emanuel building until its new structure was built in 1966. The Jewish Home for the Aged, founded in 1915, at first served also as an orphanage but by 1968 was restricted to caring for the aged and infirm.

In the early years of the community Jews were mainly peddlers and small-scale shopkeepers. By the 1960s they were engaged in every branch of industry and commerce and in all professions. Among Jews in public office was Joseph C. Casdin, a member of the City Council from 1956, who served his fourth term as mayor in 1968. Past City Council members include Louis Glixman, Elias Pofcher, and Israel Katz. Other officials include Elton Yasuna, who served on the School Committee, and Edward Landau, elected to the committee in 1967; Archibald M. Hillman (d. 1959), assistant city solicitor and, later, city solicitor; Wilfred B. Feiga, assistant clerk of Superior Court (1922–65) and president of the Free Public Library (1932; 1966); Judge Jacob Asher (d. 1956), special justice of the Central District Court; and Judge Joseph Goldberg, appointed to the Central District Court in 1953. There was an additional Jewish mayor in Worcester, Jordan Levy. First elected to the City Council in 1978, he was mayor for eight years.

The playwright S.N. *Behrman has described some of the colorful personalities in the Jewish community during his youth in his partly fictional and partly autobiographical Worcester Account (1954). A weekly newspaper, the Jewish Civic Leader, served the community from 1923.

[Joseph Klein]

The Worcester Jewish Federation was re-named the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts in 1997 to more accurately reflect the area that the Federation serves: not just the city of Worcester, but all of Worcester county, including the Westborough area (which includes Westborough, Northborough and Shrewsbury). The Westborough area is the home to a jcc, a Conservative congregation, Beth Tikvah, and a Reform Temple, Bnai Shalom. Chabad has a presence there as well.

Clark University is located in Worcester. It has a distinguished Judaic Studies program staffed by, inter alia, Everett Fox, who wrote an important translation of the Torah based on the principles of the Buber-Rosenzweig translation of the early 20th century, and Debórah Dwork, who headed its graduate program in Holocaust Studies, the first of its kind in the United States. Clark boasts that it was the only university to invite Sigmund Freud to lecture during an American visit. Neighboring Holy Cross University has an annual lecture on the Holocaust and programs in Jewish-Catholic relations.


Mopsik, in: jsos, 7 (1945), 41–62.

[Howard Borer (2nd ed.)]

Worcester: Education and Research

views updated Jun 11 2018

Worcester: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Worcester Public School System is administered by the Worcester School Committee, which consists of seven voting members. Students have the option of attending one of seventeen magnet schools devoted to various disciplines. Children in grades three through six may attend one of many PEAK enrichment programs. Sponsored by area businesses, foundations and individuals, the nonprofit Alliance for Education operates programs providing grants for teachers, Community Reading Day, the Regional Science Fair and an extensive school-business partnership program.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Worcester Public School District as of the 20022003 school year.

Total enrollment: 25,689

Number of facilities elementary schools: 39

junior high/middle schools: 4

senior high schools: 6 other: 1

Student/teacher ratio: 12:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $39,134

maximum: $56,664

Funding per pupil: $11,964 (2001-2002)

A system of separate, publicly supported vocational schools supplements the public school system. Twenty-three parochial schools educate an additional 1,000 students. Many private schools of note are located in the area, including Worcester Academy, and the Bancroft School.

Public Schools Information: Superintendent of Schools, Worcester Public Schools, 20 Irving Street, Worcester, MA 01609; telephone (508)799-3116

Colleges and Universities

Worcester is home to nine highly rated coeducational colleges and universities, as well as a medical school and veterinary school. Worcester's higher education offerings include UMass Medical Center, which is one of three campuses of the Commonwealth's university. The School of Medicine was one of only 14 medical centers in the country to be awarded a Robert Wood Johnson grant, providing $2.5 million in funding to encourage training in primary care fields. The Medical Center is part of a medical complex that includes a teaching hospital, graduate schools of biomedical sciences and nursing, and a program of molecular medicine. Another publicly-funded school is Worcester State College, which awards bachelor's and master's degrees in the arts, sciences, and education, and has expanded to offer professional programs in biomedical sciences, business, and healthcare fields. Quinsigamond Community College is state-funded and offers two-year associate's degrees.

Private schools include the highly regarded Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Becker College, with two campuses; Curry College, satellite campus; Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton, Clark University, noted for its graduate research program, Anna Maria College, Nichols College, and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Catholic schools include the College of the Holy Cross, an undergraduate Jesuit institution with many prestigious alumnus, and Assumption College.

Private and public institutions in the Worcester area cooperate with colleges and universities from nearby communities in the Colleges of Worcester Consortium. With 13 member institutions, the consortium provides such benefits as cross-registration for students, inter-campus bus service, and joint bid contracts on products and services.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Worcester Public Library, part of the Central/Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing consortium, operates a main library and two branches. The collection includes more than 900,000 volumes, including government documents. Among the library's special features are the Talking Book Library for the Blind, and the grant resource center.

Among its special resources, Worcester boasts the library of the American Antiquarian Society, which has one of the largest collections of printed matter about the United States' first 250 years. Clark University's Guy H. Burnham Map and Aerial Photography Library is a repository for all maps of the U.S. Geological Survey. Also at Clark University, the Goddard Library carries the papers of Dr. Robert Goddard, father of U.S. rocketry. The Worcester County Horticultural Society holds one of the most complete collections of its kind in New England. The Higgins Armory Museum includes a library, and local libraries covering a number of topics are open to researchers.

Among its research centers Worcester counts the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research, an independent research organization that invented the birth control pill. Worcester Polytechnic Institute operates several research laboratories, focusing on such areas as automation, robotics, nuclear energy, materials testing, manufacturing engineering, ceramics, fire safety, heat treatment, metallurgy, artificial intelligence, and bioengineering. Worcester State College administers a Community Education Development Center. Using a holistic approach, the Heinz Warner Institute at Clark University studies the ways that behavior affects psychological development. At the Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Park, more than fifteen companies and institutions have established operations promoting the biotechnology industry in the state and in the nation. Among these are the University of Massachusetts Medical Center; the Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Institute, the scientific and educational arm of the park; and BASF Bioresearch Corporation, whose state-of-the-art research and development center works on cures for cancer and disorders of the immune system.

Public Library Information: Main Library, City of Worcester, 3 Salem Square, Worcester, MA 01608; telephone (508)799-1655, fax (508)799-1652

Worcester: History

views updated Jun 11 2018

Worcester: History

Plantation Becomes Transportation Center

The first Englishmen to visit the area surrounding present-day Worcester arranged in 1673 to purchase eight square miles of land near Lake Quinsigamond. They made the bargain with the resident Nipmucks, giving them twelve pounds sterling. The English called their settlement Quinsigamond Plantation. These first settlers and those who followed them in 1675 were eventually driven out by the Nipmucks when they learned that the newcomers did not intend to share the land. A third, successful attempt at settling the area came in 1713 when Jones Rice built his home atop Union Hill. By 1722, the settlement was large enough to incorporate as a town, renamed Worcester in honor of the English county and town.

Worcester early became a transportation center, initially as a stagecoach stop on the way west from Boston. Just prior to the American Revolution, rebel printer Isaiah Thomas printed his anti-British newspaper, The Massachusetts Spy, from Worcester; he later gave the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Following the war, Thomas built his printing business into the country's largest publishing house, printing the first dictionary in the United States in 1788. Shays's Rebellion, in 1786 and 1787, tested the country's new constitution when a company of poor men from the towns north of Worcester entered the city and seized the courthouse. Their protest against poor government ended when a volunteer army expelled them.

Worcester was one of only a few major U.S. industrial centers that was able to thrive without being located on a navigable river or coastline. The local water supply was adequate to provide steam to run its mills, which turned out wire, nails, and paper. The population stood at 58,300 people in 1800 when textile production became the next major industry in Worcester, including the weaving of the country's first corduroy at a Worcester cotton mill. In 1828 the Blackstone Canal opened, connecting Worcester with Providence, Rhode Island. A period of industrialization and expansion followed, fueled by the arrival of the railroad in 1835. Once again, Worcester flourished as a transportation hub, shipping out manufactured goods via rail to Springfield, Norwich, and Boston. In 1837 the first power loom capable of intricate designs was invented by William Chompton, whose loomworks in Worcester revolutionized the industry.

Manufacturing Precedes High-Technology

During its industrialization, Worcester relied increasingly on the labor of women and children. A women's rights movement blossomed, culminating in the First Women's Suffrage National Convention in 1851, followed by a second convention in 1852. The women then agreed to put aside their own cause and focus on the Abolitionist Movement that was then gaining followers in the North. The city subsequently became a stop on the Underground Railroad for slaves escaping North. In 1848 Worcester helped create the Free-Soil Party, which advocated allowing Kansas to enter the Union as a free state.

After the Civil War, Worcester resumed its quick industrial pace. The first bicycle was built in Worcester, leading to a national bicycling craze. During the last half of the century, Worcester experienced an influx of immigrants eager to work in its mills and plants. Irish, Canadian, and Swedish workers arrived before 1900, followed by Poles, Italians, Lithuanians, Greeks, Armenians, Syrians, and Lebanese. By 1920 Worcester's population had grown to 179,754 people.

Worcester continued its manufacturing course, taking advantage of new technologies as they were invented, including automation, mass production, and the assembly line. During World War II, many of the city's plants were converted to the war effort and 27,000 men and women from Worcester served in the armed forces. The USS Worcester, a 17,000-ton light cruiser, was launched in 1948.

Worcester's population peaked in 1950 at 203,000 people. Like many industrial centers in the north, Worcester experienced difficult years in the 1960s and 1970s. Much of the textile industry moved south in search of cheaper labor, and the expressways lured a majority of the city's middle class to the suburbs. Worcester enjoyed an economic revival late in the 1970s, spurred by the building of the Centrum Civic Center and the Galleria Shopping Center downtown.

In recent years, the city has been marketing itself to business as a research and high technology center with a solid manufacturing base. Worcester is rapidly becoming known as a hub for education, research, and business. Reflecting that development, approximately one third of Worcester's population is employed by the service industry, while another third work in a professional or managerial capacity. The education and flexibility of the city's populace have allowed it to move relatively comfortably through a period of economic transition.

Historical Information: Worcester Historical Museum & Library, 30 Elm St., Worcester, MA 01609; telephone (508)753-8278

Worcester: Population Profile

views updated May 21 2018

Worcester: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1990: 478,384

2000: 511,389

Percent change, 19902000: 6.9%

U.S. rank in 1990: 7th (MSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 7th (MSA)

City Residents

1980: 161,799

1990: 169,759

2000: 172,648 (of which, 82,914 were males and 89,734 were females)

2003 estimate: 175,706

Percent change, 19902000: 1.7%

U.S. rank in 1980: 91st

U.S. rank in 1990: 101st

U.S. rank in 2000: 139th (State rank: 2nd)

Density: 4,596.5 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 133,124

Black or African American: 11,892

American Indian and Alaska Native: 769

Asian: 8,402

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 96

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 26,155

Other: 12,504

Percent of residents born in state: 63.5% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 11,142

Population 5 to 9 years old: 11,854

Population 10 to 14 years old: 11,381

Population 15 to 19 years old: 13,769

Population 20 to 24 years old: 15,622

Population 25 to 34 years old: 26,781

Population 35 to 44 years old: 25,578

Population 45 to 54 years old: 19,711

Population 55 to 59 years old: 6,756

Population 60 to 64 years old: 5,665

Population 65 to 74 years old: 10,956

Population 75 to 84 years old: 9,582

Population 85 years and over: 3,851

Median age: 33.4 years

Births (2003)

Total number: 9,529

Deaths (2002)

Total number: 691

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $18,614

Median household income: $35,623

Total households: 67,083

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 9,744

$10,000 to $14,999: 5,126

$15,000 to $24,999: 9,059

$25,000 to $34,999: 9,058

$35,000 to $49,999: 10,830

$50,000 to $74,999: 11,965

$75,000 to $99,999: 5,771

$100,000 to $149,999: 3,931

$150,000 to $199,999: 800

$200,000 or more: 799

Percent of families below poverty level: 14.1% (57.1% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: not reported


views updated May 18 2018


Worcester: Introduction
Worcester: Geography and Climate
Worcester: History
Worcester: Population Profile
Worcester: Municipal Government
Worcester: Economy
Worcester: Education and Research
Worcester: Health Care
Worcester: Recreation
Worcester: Convention Facilities
Worcester: Transportation
Worcester: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1673 (incorporated, 1722)

Head Official: City Manager Michael V. O'Brien (since 2004)

City Population

1980: 161,799

1990: 169,759

2000: 172,648

2003 estimate: 175,706

Percent change, 19902000: 1.7%

U.S. rank in 1980: 91st

U.S. rank in 1990: 101st

U.S. rank in 2000: 139th (State rank: 2nd)

Metropolitan Area Population (PMSA)

1990: 478,384

2000: 511,389

Percent change, 19902000: 6.9%

U.S. rank in 1990: 7th (MSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 7th (MSA)

Area: 38 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 473 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 46.8° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 47.60 inches of rain; 67.4 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Services, trade, manufacturing, government

Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (March 2005)

Per Capita Income: $18,614 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: Not reported

Major Colleges and Universities: University of Massachusetts Medical School; Clark University; Worcester Polytechnic Institute; College of the Holy Cross; Worcester State College; Assumption College; Becker College

Daily Newspaper: Telegram & Gazette

Worcester: Communications

views updated May 18 2018

Worcester: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Worcester is served by one daily newspaper, the Telegram & Gazette. The Worcester County Newspapers group publishes weekly papers for surrounding towns. Special interest newspapers include the Worcester Business Journal, Catholic Free Press, The Senior Advocate, Crusader, The Scarlet (a collegiate newspaper), and the Jewish Chronicle. Magazines published include Worcester Magazine, Economic Geography, and International Figure Skating.

Television and Radio

Local residents can pick up the major networks from Boston and one cable television company operates in Worcester. Eight AM and FM radio stations broadcast programming, and several others are received in Worcester; formats range from jazz, eclectic, classic rock, news, and talk.

Media Information: Telegram & Gazette, 20 Franklin Street, Worcester, MA 01613; telephone (508)793-9100. Worcester Business Journal, 172 Shrewsbury Street, Worcester, MA 01604; telephone (508)755-8004

Worcester Online

City of Worcester. Available at www.ci.worcester.ma.us

Worcester & Central Massachusetts Tourist Council. Available www.worcester.org

Worcester Chamber of Commerce. Available www.worcesterchamber.org

Worcester Convention & Visitors Bureau. Available www.worcester.org

Worcester History Museum. Available www.worcesterhistory.org

Worcester Public Library. Available www.worc.publib.org

Worcester Public Schools. Available www.wpsweb.com/schools.htm

Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Available www.telegram.com

Selected Bibliography

Goyer, Jane, So Dear to My Heart: Memories of a Gentler Time (New York: Harper & Row, 1990)

Worcester: Geography and Climate

views updated May 23 2018

Worcester: Geography and Climate

Located in the geographic center of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Worcester is about 40 miles west of Boston. It is the only major industrial city in the United States not located on a lake, river, or sea coast. The city is also the center of an urbanized metropolitan area that includes the towns of Auburn, Boylston, Holden, Leicester, Millbury, and Shrewsbury. Worcester, the hub of Worcester County, is situated on a series of rolling hills overlooking the Blackstone River. Lake Quinsigamond, seven miles long and one of the many lakes and ponds within the city limits, marks the eastern boundary of the city.

Its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island Sound, and the Berkshire Mountains creates rapidly changing weather conditions in Worcester. While the mild weather is typical of New England, storms can blow in, depositing rain, snow, sleet, and fog. These storms are known locally as northeasters.

Area: 38 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 473 feet above sea level (mean elevation)

Average Temperatures: January, 23.3° F; July, 69.9° F; annual average, 46.8° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 47.60 inches of rain; 67.4 inches of snow

Worcester: Health Care

views updated May 29 2018

Worcester: Health Care

Ten general hospitals in the Worcester area (five within the city) minister to local health care needs, including rehabilitation, long-term and chronic care. The keystone of Worcester's health care system is the University of Massachusetts Memorial Health Care. A merger between the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Massachusetts, it is the largest health care network in central and western Massachusetts. It includes the university's medical school, graduate programs, and a tertiary care facility with 783 beds on three campuses. UMass Memorial Medical Center is the region's only Level I trauma center. Four community hospitals are members of the UMass Memorial system. The center's purchase of Two Biotech has allowed the campus to expand its research capabilities and provides a base for its new Cancer Center. The 264,000 square foot Lakeside expansion project will provide new facilities for emergency care, radiology, intensive care, as well as operating space. Other projects include a Cardiac Catheterization Center, a renovated Endoscopy Center, and a Pediatric Infusion Suite, all at the University Campus. A major development at the Memorial Campus is a new Women's Health Center, allowing for centralized treatment at a single location.

In 2000, the downtown Worcester Medical Center opened as a partnership between Saint Vincent Healthcare System and Fallon. The Medical Center has 299 beds in its inpatient area and offers several specialty care centers and outpatient services. Saint Vincent Hospital, a 348-bed acute care hospital located within the Medical Center, has historic roots dating back to 1893.

Health Care Information: UMass Medical Center, Medical Center Library, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655-2397; telephone (508)856-0011

About this article


All Sources -
Updated Aug 18 2018 About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic