Shawsheen Tech Lands $250K Grant To Expand Welding And Metal Fabrication Program
Dec 12, 2014 06:29AM ● Published by Bill Gilman
Students in the welding and metal fabrication program at Shawsheen Tech hear about the $250K grant awarded to the school by the state.
BILLERICA -- Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki last week announced a $250,000 capital grant to Shawsheen Valley Technical High School to support the purchase of equipment needed to expand their welding and metal fabrication program, meeting a critical need in advanced manufacturing and construction trades in Middlesex County.
“Training students for careers in today’s competitive workforce requires providing schools with cutting-edge equipment to help them succeed,” said Secretary Bialecki. “Our vocational and technical schools provide the educational training, coupled with hands-on applications, that is needed to prepare students for careers in the 21st century global economy.”
With new equipment, students will learn the fundamentals of metal fabrication and joining technologies, demonstrate the use of hand and power tools, as well as demonstrate proper mechanical cutting operations, metal forming techniques, cutting and gouging processes and welding and joining processes in accordance with industry standards.
With more than 1,300 high school students, Shawsheen Tech prepares students for careers in licensed trade, technology or skilled occupations. Currently, the school offers 21 vocational career pathways that fall within the clusters of arts and communication, construction, electro/mechanical, life sciences, services and transportation.
“This grant will provide opportunities for Shawsheen Technical High School to purchase necessary equipment to ensure the students are skilled and ready to compete in the global economy,” said Secretary of Education Matthew Malone. “Closing the achievement gap has been a top priority of the Patrick administration and investments like this reinforce that commitment by making sure our students are prepared for their future careers.”
In addition to the opportunity to increase enrollment in the Metal Fabrication/Joining Technologies shop, the new welding and metal fabrication equipment will allow the school to expand their adult education and workforce development programming. Shawsheen Tech operates a day program for traditional high school students, as well as the Shawsheen Technical Institute, an adult training program that partners with Wentworth Technical Institute’s School of Continuing Professional Education (WTI), to prepare workers for careers in advanced manufacturing. Together, the partnership recently launched their first program, offering a WTI Basic Welding college course at Shawsheen Tech.
“Preparing Massachusetts residents for 21st century jobs has been a priority of mine since being elected office and I am thrilled to see this type of investment in technical vocational education,” said Senator Ken Donnelly. “I am especially proud of Shawsheen Tech for the work they do to motivate and prepare high school students to be successful and productive members of the Commonwealth’s workforce. This is grant money well spent.”
This grant also supports a unique collaboration between Shawsheen and Keolis Commuter Services (KeolisCS), the MBTA commuter rail management firm, to train new workers to maintain and improve rail service throughout the region.
“We are very grateful to the Patrick Administration for supporting the expansion of our welding and metal fabrication program here at Shawsheen Tech,” said Charlie Lyons, Superintendent of the Shawsheen Valley Technical High School. “This funding will provide much needed modern equipment to train our students for careers in manufacturing and put them on the pathway to prosperity in their future endeavors.”
Technical schools offer hands-on learning in a number of innovative educational programs to support a range of career fields, especially growing workforce sectors, such as advanced manufacturing, clean energy and information technology. Many regional school districts and programs also partner with area businesses and community colleges to prepare the next generation of skilled workers.
In September, the Patrick Administration announced the launch of the Industry Training Capital Equipment grant program to expand support of training programs at career technical high schools and community colleges. The capital equipment program will fund large scale grants between $250,000 to $1.25 million for the purchase of equipment to prepare students for careers in high demand industries such as advanced manufacturing, information technology, hospitality and mechanical and technical skills. The grant equipment program is designed to help improve the skills of students enrolling in these programs, increase the number of students who can access training and allow employers to have access to a greater pool of qualified talent.
Funding for the program is provided by the Commonwealth’s Capital Plan. The Patrick Administration’s five-year plan includes $10 million in funding for a grant program to benefit Massachusetts career technical schools and community colleges.