Sen. Lesser Secures Funding in State FY16 Budget for Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative Manufacturing Training Program

Senator Eric P. Lesser (D-Longmeadow) announced that the FY16 state budget, signed by Governor Baker, includes $214,000 to fund a Manufacturing Training Program run by the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative (LPVEC). Senator Lesser was successful in obtaining the $214,000 originally through an amendment that was approved by both branches of the Legislature. “This funding will allow high school students from across the Pioneer Valley to receive top-level training in manufacturing and other technical skills, which are highly in demand in today’s economy,” Lesser said. “I’m glad the House, Senate and Governor stand with me on the importance of closing the manufacturing skills gap and revitalizing our regional economies.”

The program will allow the LPVEC to develop a machine technology program for students in grades 9-12 and will serve the school districts of Agawam, East Longmeadow, Hampden-Wilbraham, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Southwick-Tolland-Granville and West Springfield.

“Our member districts have supported this new program with significant local funds, but state-of-the-art equipment is expensive,” said Andrew Churchill, LPVEC Executive Director.  “We are very grateful for this additional state support, which will ensure that our students will graduate ready for our region’s cutting-edge manufacturers.”

There are 214 manufacturing companies whose principal place of business is located in school districts served by the LPVEC, creating opportunity to directly link students to job vacancies in their immediate area.

Lesser, who is Senate Chair of the Joint Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, recently hosted a delegation of Senate members at EASTEC, a convention of over 500 manufacturing companies in the Northeast, at the Big E grounds in West Springfield. He also recently published an op-ed on the widening manufacturing skills gap in Massachusetts, especially in the Pioneer Valley.