Tech wins $100K grant for machines
TURNERS FALLS — Another $100,000 is headed to Franklin County Technical School for buying modern metal-working machines — an amount that will likely push local manufacturers over their $500,000 goal needed to refit the machine shop this summer and to start training 21st-century metal workers.
The state awarded $1.1 million in grants Wednesday to 25 public vocational programs across the state — and Franklin Tech was one of three schools to receive the maximum amount of $100,000.
The school is already in line to receive between $200,000 and $250,000 in the state budget that begins July 1. And local manufacturing companies — eager to invest in the project because they are desperate to add skilled employees and take on more work — have privately raised $215,000.
The money would pay for at least 12 new machines — a collection of lathes, mills and grinders — that are controlled by computer programming and would replace the Tech School’s 40-year-old manual machines. The equipment would be installed in early July and would be ready to train both high school students and local unemployed and underemployed workers.
Tech School Superintendent James Laverty — who traveled to the Statehouse Wednesday for the grant announcement — said the school learned of this grant in March and applied just last month. The pledge of matching funds, from area manufacturers, allowed the school to ask for more money than the original $25,000 grant cap, he said.
Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, was at the Statehouse with Laverty — and said that the $100,000 grant will complement the $200,000 to $250,000 that both houses of the Legislature have included in their versions of the state budget.
It had always been the hope, said Kulik, that the project could secure money from three different sources: the state budget, the state grant and private fundraising.
“I’ll work with the rest of the delegation so that (Gov. Deval Patrick’s) administration understands that all three pieces are important. They’re really necessary for the success of the initiative,” he said.
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