Franklin Tech, Mahar receive state Capital Skills Grants

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Your parent’s shop class at the Franklin Technical School will soon get a makeover.

With a majority of the welding equipment dating back to the 1950s and ’60s, a $495,000 grant from the state will help the tech school to modernize its shop classes.

“It was an honor to be able to be in a situation with our school to receive one of the largest grant offers that (the state) could offer,” Superintendent Richard Martin said, after returning from a ceremony with Gov. Charlie Baker Wednesday afternoon to announce the 32 winners of the grant.

Joining Franklin Tech in the Capital Skills Grant is Mahar Regional School, which received $66,246.

“These Skills Capital Grants will help boost our economy and equip students with new skills, knowledge and experience with state-of-the-art equipment across the Commonwealth,” Baker said in a press release.

With nearly half-a-million dollars in funding, the tech school will revamp its welding and metal fabrication program to meet new industry demands, according to a press release. It will also purchase a new CNC press brake forming machine, which will allow students to train in braking, tooling, drawings and CNC, tools that are automated through computer programming.

The money, Martin said, will be split roughly 50-50 between construction and equipment costs. Students and faculty will help with the construction, working on new ventilation and electrical, which he said will significantly bring down those construction costs.

The goal is for the construction and purchasing process to begin in the spring and for the new welding equipment to be ready for day and night classes by the fall of 2018.

“We continue in the path to modernize that shop program and that’s going to provide an avenue to increase our adult programs as well,” Martin said.

Last year, Martin was able to use a $55,000 grant from the state to start buying new equipment to modernize the shop. This time, receiving nine times as much money, the school hopes to make significant improvements in preparing students, young and old, in the county for work in the field.

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