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Advanced Manufacturing

Modern equipment

Education: it’s all about the future.

As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Let’s expand this thinking to say that education is the most powerful tool we have to keep pace with an ever-changing world.

Keeping up isn’t always easy, though. Just ask the people who run Franklin County Technical School.

One of the Tech School’s educational missions is to prepare its students for entering the work force upon graduation. The desire here is to make that transition seamless, so that the teen hired in their field is able to hitting the factory floor running. But what the school is now realizing is that technology has thrown some new hurdles onto that work force track.

One specifically involves students taking courses aimed at working in machine shop and metal work. While more and more manufacturers have undergone their own updates and are using computer-aided or run equipment, Franklin Tech is still using 40-year-old manual metal-working equipment.

This knowledge gap, between what a student can do and what a perspective employer is seeking in qualified candidates is obviously far from ideal.

If you’re asking how could a school find itself falling behind like this, the answer is simple: money. Bringing in the kind of equipment necessary is an expensive — very expensive — proposition. As more and more of the machines were operated by computers, companies in the area were finding that they were having to invest time and money into training.

Now a number of area manufacturers have stepped up to help themselves and future students. Leading the charge is Steven Capshaw, president of Valley Steel Stamp, who has helped create the FCTS Machine Technology Fund, with the goal of raising $500,000 for new machines at the school. So far, according to last week’s Recorder story, eight companies have donated $149,500 to the cause. What Capshaw wants to do is raise $250,000 and have the state match that contribution.

He’s been talking to state Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, and other members of the county’s legislative delegation to enlist their help.

We would like to think that the state wouldn’t need much convincing in this regard, especially given how both the Patrick administration and the Legislature are focused on seeing the economy grow — and in improving vocational education.

We applaud this local, well-timed effort.

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