Senator Lesser Votes to Promote Economic Development; Secures Bond Authorization for Belchertown High School Engineering and Robotics Training

BOSTON- Senator Lesser secured $100,000 in capital authorization for the Engineering and Robotics Training Program at Belchertown High School, as part of the Senate’s sweeping economic development bill passed on Thursday, July 14th. “We know that the jobs of the future rely on data, science, technology, engineering, and math -- this program will help students in Belchertown train for and enter careers in these fields,” said Senator Lesser.

Senator Lesser was inspired to fight for authorization for the project after a visit to the Belchertown School Committee, where he learned that Belchertown High School was in the process of developing an engineering program.

The funding will outfit existing classrooms at Belchertown High school with materials to create a comprehensive robotics, programming, and coding space for students grades 9-12. Sen. Lesser’s appropriation, once authorized by the Governor, will cover the cost of programmable robots, 3D printers and pens, and “barebones” computer processors.

With these materials, Belchertown will be able to add two sections of robotics and one section of programming without adding faculty or staff. Once the foundational structure is established, the high school will be able to add additional classes in subjects like computer science, programming, and green engineering in order to better prepare students for 21st Century careers.

Senator Lesser has a record of supporting funding for job training and 21st Century education programs in Western Massachusetts, including securing key funding for the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative’s manufacturing program. In the same bill passed on July 14th, he secured funds for Chicopee High School’s vocational education program. As co-chair of the Senate’s Millennial Engagement Initiative and a member of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, he is a leader in the Senate on issues relating to young people and technology.

The bill will now be reconciled with the House version and sent to the Governor’s desk.