Franklin County Technical School Awarded State Grant to Refurbish Welding Program


TURNERS FALLS, MA – Franklin County Technical School has received a $495,000 Massachusetts Workforce Skills Cabinet grant that will be used to completely refurbish its Welding and Metal Fabrication program.


FCTS was one of 177 schools in Massachusetts to apply for a Skills Capital Grant, and only one of 32 to receive one. The Baker-Polito Administration awarded a total of $9.5 million in Skills Capital Grants to high schools, community colleges and educational institutions that will use the funds to purchase equipment, modernize operations, and boost enrollment capacity in career training programs.


Governor Charlie Baker, Education Secretary James Peyser, and Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta announced the grant awards on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford.


The grant will allow Franklin County Technical School to buy new equipment for the Welding and Metal Fabrication program, including two advanced robotic arm welding machines, and additional CNC welding and metal fabrication machines.


Grant money will also be used to expand the school’s welding shop by 700 square feet in order to accommodate the new equipment, and to purchase a new ventilation system.


“We’re very excited to receive this grant,” said FCTS Superintendent Richard J. Martin, who authored the winning grant application. “This is the largest competitive grant our school has ever received. Franklin County Technical School will work with the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, Greenfield Community College and industry partners to revamp our welding program to enhance our students’ 21st century skills and provide a pathway in our adult program for underemployed and displaced workers. We can close the skills gap and produce students who are ready for the world of work.”


Martin, as well as FCTS School Committee Chairman Richard J. Kuklewicz, Vice Chairman Angus (Terry) Dun, and committee member A. George Day, Jr. were on hand at Nashoba Valley Technical High School for the grant award announcement.


Baker said the Skills Capital Grants will help boost the state economy and equip students with new skills, knowledge and experience with state-of-the-art equipment.


“We look forward to continuing our work with these 32 institutions and previous awardees to enhance their programs and develop a skilled workforce ready to meet the needs of the Commonwealth,” he said.


David J. Ferreira, MAVA Field Office executive director, said of the $9.5 million dollars awarded, $5.5 million was received by vocational technical schools.


“On behalf of MAVA, we thank the Baker-Polito Administration and the Workforce Skills Cabinet for their continued support as we attempt to expand access to high quality vocational technical education to more of the Commonwealth’s students and adults,” he said. “Across Massachusetts nearly 50,000 students are involved to vocational technical & agricultural schools.”


The criteria to award the grants were demand driven based on labor market data, and the ability to leverage partnerships with employers and educational organizations and non-state matching funds.


“In order to maintain our skilled workforce, we want to ensure our high schools, colleges, and other educational programs have the ability to train students on the latest equipment that meets current industry standards so when they are ready to enter the workforce, they have the knowledge and best possible training to get a job,” Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said.  


In-kind contributions include having FCTS students construct the expansion of the Welding and Metal Fabrication shop, the school’s maintenance staff installing the ventilation system, an FCTS donation for materials and supplies, a new roof for the welding shop, and the school and industry partners supplying new computers and training.


This grant is the second one Franklin County Technical School has received in recent years that has been used to modernize a technical program. In 2013, the school received a $500,000 state grant and $217,000 in in-kind funding from the school’s industry partners for machinery, equipment, supplies and a refurbishment of the Machine Technology program.


The school most recently received an $80,000 federal Small Rural School Achievement Grant. The two year grant provides compensatory and instructional strategies to underperforming students and professional development to teachers to close the achievement gap. The grant will be funded at $40,000 a year for the two years.


Besides Franklin County Technical School, Massachusetts Workforce Skills Cabinet Grants were also awarded to:

  • Assabet Valley Regional Tech – $499,388;
  • Berkshire Community College – $54,524;
  • Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce Central Massachusetts Center for Business and Enterprise – $456,320;
  • Bristol County Agricultural High School – $493,729;
  • Brooke High School – $128,779;
  • Bunker Hill Community College – $247,566;
  • Center for Technical Education Innovation – $492,823;
  • Dartmouth High School – $500,000;
  • Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School – $500,000;
  • Hampden County Sheriff’s Department/York Street Industries – $115,706;
  • Holyoke Community College – $229,500;
  • Lawrence Family Development Inc. – $152,995;
  • Marlborough Public Schools – $343,376;
  • Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School – $50,000;
  • Massachusetts Bay Community College – $500,000;
  • McCann Technical School – $196,315;
  • Mount Wachusett Community College – $50,600;
  • North Shore Agriculture and Technical School District – $500,000;
  • North Shore Community College – $264,906;
  • Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School – $214,319;
  • Quincy Public Schools – $138,224;
  • Quinsigamond Community College – $431,900;
  • Ralph C. Mahar Regional School – $66,246;
  • ROOT NS Inc. – $500,000;
  • Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational School District – $382,830;
  • Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School – $175,000;
  • South Shore Vocational Technical High School – $124,093;
  • Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical School District – $319,824;
  • Tantasqua Regional Vocational High School – $270,000;
  • Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School – $119,326;
  • Westfield Public Schools – Westfield Technical Academy – $500,000.

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