Monty Tech receives grant for machine technologyOctober 16, 2017
Monty Tech receives grant for machine technology
FITCHBURG -- The machines are new and shiny with names like optical comparator or computer numeric control machine.
Though their functions aren't obvious to the casual observer, these instruments, among other changes, are central to the $435,856 update to the machine technology department at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School -- a change that school leaders say will prepare students and fill local workforce needs.
"We're trying to meet the industry needs in North Central Massachusetts," Superintendent Sheila Harrity said. "Manufacturers told us that they need workers and they still have a shortage. Monty Tech is stepping up and wanting to fill that void."
The nearly half-million dollar Skills Capital Grant from Gov.Charlie Baker's administration will help toward this goal, she said.
Over the summer, workers repainted the walls and redid the floor in the school's machine technology and manufacturing department. Drafting students created a new layout to accommodate equipment additions, including four new computer numeric control, or CNC, machines, which use computer programs to create objects.
The new additions, doubled the number of CNC machines at Monty Tech. The school also saw updates in its measuring equipment technology, which is now housed in a room separate from the other machines.
"This technology here, it's almost as if your smartphone could take a picture then measure the features on it," said instructor Ben Algarin, pointing at a screen with a zoomed in image of a quarter.
Algarin and fellow instructor Kevin Killay said these machines are like the ones students will be using if they work in manufacturing after high school.
A tool chest of instruments for measuring means instructors can now teach students on the same instruments at the same time, the instructors said.
"This way every kid is getting the same exact training," Killay said.
Not only will the roughly 60 machine technology students benefit from these changes, but adults enrolled in Monty Tech's night classes will as well, according to Harrity.
"We can meet our workforce needs," she said.
A different Skills Capital Grant awarded two years ago and helped fund the infrastructure for the new veterinary technology program. Harrity said the school plans to apply for a grant to update equipment for the HVAC program this year.
"To continue to stay current with cutting edge technology it takes money," she said.
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