TURNERS FALLS — Superintendent Richard Martin and Director of Career and Technical Education Margaret Nugent are pleased to share the early success of Franklin County Technical School’s night program for adult learners, which is led by night school coordinator, educator and alumni Justin Lawrence.
The program launched earlier this year with courses across several of FCTS’ career technical education programs, including welding and automotive technology — which each offer master-level certification for participants that empower them to seek rewarding professional opportunities in their respective fields.
“We’ve welcomed numerous adult participants who have approached their programs with tremendous enthusiasm, which has served as a tangible reminder for us of the importance of providing people of all ages with hands-on technical education opportunities,” Lawrence said. “The program has been immensely successful already, and we’re grateful to the Baker-Polito administration for its continued support of career technical education at all levels, and especially for adults who leave with industry credentials that put them in a position to seek employment immediately upon completion of their program.”
Lawrence is a 2008 graduate of Franklin County Tech and oversees the night program. During the day, he teaches college and career enhancement at FCTS, which prepares students to become more employable while developing leadership skills that they can put to use in their post-secondary journeys.
He’s also involved with a number of other projects and activities beyond FCTS, including serving as a library trustee in Bernardston — where he lives with his boyfriend and dog, Maggie May — as chair of the Massachusetts FFA Alumni Association, and as director of the Foundation for Educational Excellence.
Lawrence is also an active member of the United Church of Bernardston’s Mission and Social Justice and Finance Committees.
“I am thrilled to be working with the Night School program and am looking forward to helping local adults gain valuable skills and eventually providing needed services to the local area,” Lawrence said. “I grew up in Franklin County and am ecstatic to see such a vibrant and new-aged approach to tackling our economic needs.”
Through the school’s Career Technical Institute, FCTS has partnered with MassHire to conduct the programs. Participants are not required to pay tuition, fees or materials costs, but need to fall within designated criteria set by the Commonwealth Corporation and the Massachusetts Governor’s office. The program is made possible through FCTS’ participation in the Career Technical Initiative, which is funded in part by the Commonwealth Corporation.
The next session of the program begins on Feb. 13 with offerings for those interested in carpentry, automotive technology, welding and metal fabrication. Those interested in taking part are encouraged to attend one of two open houses at FCTS, which will each take place from 4:30-6 p.m. on Dec. 13 and Jan. 23. Information on opportunities for training beyond those funded by the CTI grant will also be available at the open houses.
Courses in the following areas are taught by professional educators from Franklin County Technical School, and students will receive job or apprenticeship placement upon completion.
Welding: FCTS is offering an industry training session with credentials and career placement assistance through a 230-hour welding program. Students will certify to an American Welding Society SENSE Level 1 entry-level welder. The program will include an OSHA 10-hour construction certification.
Classroom exams include GMAW, FCAW, GTAW, SMAW, Thermal Cutting, Print Reading and testing and inspection. In the shop students will learn GTAW Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminum.
Auto Technology: The automotive technology program will provide students with entry level industry training and hands-on experience. Students will work with automobiles with complex systems, combining computer technology and conventional mechanical systems.
OBDII, electronic braking systems, electric vehicle and automated support systems for drivers will be studied. Certifications include OSHA-10, Hotworks and Basic SP2 certifications as well as the option to acquire entry level Subaru Certifications. Students will also receive 10-15 hours of Career Readiness training.
Carpentry: The CTI house carpentry program will be based upon a 230-hour, 12-week, industry-standard curriculum that will present real-world knowledge and skills useful for multiple career pathways.
The Career Technical Initiative (CTI) is a federally funded program to retrain the workforce to meet existing labor needs. The grant is administered through the Commonwealth Corporation and MassHire to fund training opportunities for unemployed and underemployed adult workers in construction/trades and manufacturing at high schools with aligned Chapter 74 programs.
For more information on the MassHire, including the process to becoming a participant, click here.
Electrical: In addition to the offerings through the MassHire partnership, FCTS has also been approved by the Electrical Board of Massachusetts to teach the adult Journeyman and Masters electrical programs. The program will include 600 hours of classroom instruction for electrical apprentices pursuing a career towards obtaining their journeyman’s electrical license, and 150 hours of classroom instruction for Journeyman electricians pursuing their Masters Electrical License.
For more information on the Franklin County Technical School’s Career Technical Institute, click here.