Published: 7/25/2022 5:37:48 PM
TURNERS FALLS — After receiving a major state grant, Franklin County Technical School will begin holding night classes that prioritize helping unemployed and underemployed adult students this fall.
The program is made possible by Massachusetts’ Career Technical Initiative, which Gov. Charlie Baker first rolled out in 2020 to help close skills gaps and meet the needs of businesses across the state. While Baker’s office requested the amount remain confidential for the time being, school Director of Career and Technical Education Matt West said Franklin Tech’s grant award was “phenomenal.”
Dubbed the “Career Technical Institute,” the program will be conducted in partnership with MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Center and begin by offering welding and automotive technology classes starting Sept. 19. Participants in these programs are not required to pay tuition, fees or materials, but must fall within designated criteria set by the Commonwealth Corporation and the governor’s office.
“The programs being offered at FCTS will be a great opportunity for the Franklin County region,” West said in a statement. “In collaboration with MassHire and Commonwealth Corporation, FCTS will be able to provide high-quality trade education and experience for its participants. Eligible participants will greatly benefit both personally and professionally through these programs.”
Instruction will be provided by Franklin Tech’s educators, and students will receive job or apprenticeship placement upon completion of a course. While welding and automotive technology will be the first subjects taught under the Career Technical Institute, five courses have been specified within the scope of the initiative. West said carpentry and culinary arts are the next set of classes to be offered, beginning in spring 2023. These courses, West said, will last for 12 weeks and entail a 230-hour commitment. The school also plans on having an electrical course, which will include 600 hours of instruction for apprentices pursuing their journeyman’s electrical license, as well as 150 hours of classroom instruction for journeyman electricians pursuing their master’s electrical license. More details about each course can be found online at bit.ly/3z5cKfl.
“We’ll be developing (our set of offerings) over the years, developing community-based classes,” West added.
While any adult may apply and pay to participate in the Career Technical Institute, preference and free tuition will first be awarded to those at an economic disadvantage, according to West.
“The priority now is really to have the unemployed or underemployed,” West said.
Those who qualify may include the unemployed, spouses of military members and other disadvantaged people, according to MassHire’s website. A full list of qualifications, as well as information regarding how to apply, can be found at masshirefhcareers.org/education-training.
West said while no formal application page has been launched yet, those interested in learning more and applying for the program can attend Franklin Tech’s open house on Thursday at 6 p.m. Attendees will be given a tour of relevant workspace.
Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or [email protected]