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Editorial: Help building a workforce

Brief thoughts on some of the events making news from around Franklin County and the North Quabbin area:

Worthy of recognition

Plenty of people can talk the talk. But as we all know, the real test is whether they can walk the walk. It’s one thing to bemoan the lack of workers or training but it’s another to decide to do something about it. Steven Capshaw, president and CEO of Valley Steel Stamp saw that there was a disconnect between what Franklin County Technical School was trying to do, getting students ready for the workplace, and the school’s equipment, which had not kept pace with the changing face of precision machining. Instead of just talking about it, Capshaw helped spearhead an effort to raise public and private money to replace those decades-old machines. Those new machines, plus a cooperative agreement to establish new classes for unemployed and underemployed workers, is opening new doors for regional employers. For all of this, Valley Steel Stamp was recognized by the Workforce Solution Group as “Workforce Champion Employer of the Year,” a deserving honor, we’d say. Congratulations.

A strong message for our teens

We would like to think that the message presented during the Northwestern District Attorney’s Youth Conference on Substance Abuse Prevention got through to its intended audience of middle school and high school students from the area that the use of drugs and alcohol messes up brain development in adolescents. We think neuroscientist Dr. Marisa M. Silveri, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, put it succinctly: “What is the point of having a body that can live for a very long time if you don’t have a brain to go with it?” And as District Attorney David Sullivan said, “we really want the kinds to start thinking about making good decisions earlier in their lives.” That’s something we all want.

Greenfield’s flying fish

“Brookie,” a sculpture created out of stainless-steel cutlery by John Sendelbach, who owns Metal Stone Arts in Shelburne Falls, is an impressive outdoor sculpture and is a welcome addition to Deerfield Street in Greenfield. As the first “gateway” art piece, is certainly makes a splash. We have just a little quibble: Sitting atop a 12-foot pole, puts the fish above of some sightlines of those driving past. While we can understand that it was placed so high to eliminate the threat of vandalism, couldn’t it be just a bit lower so that it really can be seen as one approaches? We hope future plantings and other improvements can help draw the attention this beautiful sculpture deserves.

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