Senate committee budget has $250K for new Tech School equipment
Greenfield Recorder 05/18/2013, Page A01
By CHRIS SHORES Recorder Staff
TURNERS FALLS — Manufacturers’ effort to secure $500,000 for new metal-working machines at Franklin County Technical School — to help train 21st century metal workers for local industries desperate for such workers — won another victory Wednesday: a $250,000 proposed allocation from the state’s Senate Ways and Means Committee.
The Senate committee’s budget proposal said, “that not less than $250,000 shall be used for a pilot program in Franklin County through a partnership between the regional employment board of Franklin and Hampshire counties and area precision manufacturing companies.”
The House allocated $200,000 in its version of the budget, but the county’s legislators — Sen. Stanley Rosenberg and Reps. Denise Andrews, Stephen Kulik and Paul Mark — all expressed a desire to get to the full $250,000. A conference committee, made up of both House and Senate members, will agree on some amount between the two allocations next month.
Area manufacturers have separately raised $214,000, and more companies said they would pledge if they were guaranteed the state would contribute, said Steven Capshaw — who appealed to state legislators earlier this year and set up the fund for local contributions. The project will bring jobs to the county and dramatically improve a manufacturing workforce in both quality and quantity, he said.
“I think Franklin County is going from the worst machine tech facilities in the state to the finest machine technology in the state,” said Capshaw. “That means tremendous things in the years to come for the unemployed and underemployed.”
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 students as well as local unemployed and underemployed workers.Companies are eager to invest in the project because it is essential to their growth here in Franklin County, said Capshaw. His company turns away 90 percent of the work it is being offered, because of an inadequate supply of skilled workers, he has said.