Franklin County Technical School   82 Industrial Blvd.   Turners Falls, MA 413 . 863 . 9561

First Annual FCTS Tech Trivia Tournament

The public is invited to come and battle wits at the first annual Franklin County Technical School Tech Trivia Tournament.

The event will be held on Friday, May 1, 2015 at the Greenfield Elks Club, located at 2 Church Street, starting at 6:30 p.m. Grab some colleagues, family and friends to form a team and compete to be crowned the first Tech Trivia Titan.

Teams can consist of up to eight players. There is a $10 entry fee per person. Tech Trivia Tournament proceeds will be donated to the FCTS Athletic Department. To register a team, contact Daniel Prasol at Franklin County Tech by calling 413-863-9561 or by email at

Come and enjoy a night of six nail biting rounds of wit and will to take home cash and bar prizes for teams finishing from first to last place. Bring your own snacks and food. A cash bar will be open.

Career Fair Highlights Variety of Precision Machining Jobs

Andrew Goodwin of Erving, a Franklin County Technical School Machine Technology student, moved from table to table talking with prospective employers, but he was really focused on one company in particular.

“I’m pursuing Starrett,” said the 18-year-old junior. “I know people who work there and they like it and it’s close to my house. I’m just trying to get my foot in the door.”

Goodwin and his fellow Machine Technology students were talking to companies such as L.S. Starrett Co. of Athol at the Middle Skills Manufacturing Initiative Precision Machining Industry Career Fair at Franklin County Technical School. The career fair was organized by Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board’s Middle Skills Manufacturing Initiative.

Some students that attended were hoping to land co-op jobs for next school year, others were seeking potential permanent employment, while others were just gathering information.

“I’m just browsing around and seeing what my options are for co-op,” said Hailey Lowell, 16, a junior from Wendell. “I’m keeping all of my options open.”

Adults that are being trained to operate high tech precision manufacturing machinery as part of the Franklin Hampshire Middle Skills Manufacturing Initiative also attended the career fair. The MSMI program is designed for underemployed and unemployed adults, and has already placed more than 30 graduates at an average pay of $15.95 an hour in precision machining positions at area companies.

Highly trained precision manufacturing employees are in great demand by local manufacturers. Some area businesses have estimated they were turning down up to 90 percent of potential work because of the lack of skilled workers. The FCTS Machine Technology program and MSMI, which also holds classes at the technical school, are designed to fill that need by turning out graduates that are prepared to enter the workforce.

Career Fair Highlights Variety of Precision Machining Jobs

Michael Baines, MSMI Project Coordinator and Manufacturing Marketing Manager for Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, said the event was designed to introduce FCTS Machine Technology students and MSMI CNC precision machining students to prospective employers in the area.

“It’s a little like a speed networking event,” Baines said. “It’s a chance for students to build relationships with potential employers, fill out a job application, ask questions, learn about their products, and find a company that would be interesting to you.”

Thomas Tourigny, FCTS Machine Technology instructor, said the career fair is a good way for the students to not only become acquainted with area companies, but to get a taste of what it’s like to apply for a job.

“It’s a good opportunity to see real life work situations,” he said. “This is gives them a heads up on what that experience is like. They’re being asked the kind of adult-type of questions that they haven’t been asked before.”

Besides L.S. Starrett, other local companies attending the career fair were Valley Steel Stamp, Bete Fog Nozzle, G.S. Precision, Kennametal, Mayhew Steel Products/Deerfield Packaging, Poplar Hill Machine, Rock Valley Tool, Decker Machine Works, Elite Logistics-Pelican Products, Premier Staffing Services, and Staffing Network.

Maggie Aldrich, assistant human resources manager at G.S. Precision of Brattleboro, Vermont, said one of her managers was a member of the first ever graduating class at FCTS.

“We interview every applicant from Franklin County Tech,” she said. “I’ve always been impressed with the students from here. We’ve hired some and we’d like to see more come our way. We’re always looking for machinists. We’re growing and expanding.”

Kayla Royer, a 2014 FCTS graduate was at the career fair representing Bete Fog Nozzle where she is a CNC operator. She said the combination of Career Enhancement classes and Machine Technology courses she took as a FCTS student were instrumental in her landing the job.

“The Machine Technology teachers also helped me out by telling me what it’s like working in machine shops, what’s expected of you,” Royer said.

Junior Machine Technology student Tyler Elie, 17, of Deerfield, said he had applied for a co-op job at Valley Steel Stamp a few days prior to the career fair. But, he said he is keeping an open mind about his career path after graduation. To Elie, the career fair is important because it highlights the variety of available precision machining jobs.

“I think it’s really good to see what’s out there,” Elie said. “I’m not sure what I’m interested in, but I thought it was cool that some companies do jobs for the government. One company makes drones.”

Former FCTS Programming and Web Development Students Create Video Game App for Apple

A herd of helpless sheep grazing in a corral depend on you and you alone to protect them from attacking wolves, what do you do?

Just keep tapping that screen, that’s what. Animated wolves are out to devour those sheep and the game is over if you fail to stop them. The more sheep you save the more rewards you compile and the longer you can keep playing. It’s a fun and engaging challenge.

Available free through Apple’s app store, the game Shear Resistance is the first video game developed by Matthew Boudah, 19, of South Deerfield, Avery Rovatti, 18, of South Deerfield, and Aaron Milewski, 18, of Gill. The trio was recently students in the Programming and Web Development program at Franklin County Technical School where they learned the skills they needed to develop Shear Resistance.

Boudah and Milewski graduated from FCTS in 2013, while Rovatti, who attended the tech school through junior year, is completing high school online with the Massachusetts Virtual Academy. Boudah and Milewski are now students at Greenfield Community College. Boudah is studying business, while Milewski is in the psychology program. Rovatti is planning to attend GCC in the fall for visual arts and computer arts.

The idea for the app began when Boudah and Rovatti were thinking of tower defense-types of games they could develop and eventually came up with Shear Resistance.

“We were brainstorming and I thought of the concept, and Matt came up with the name,” Rovatti said. “We took the concept and developed the app. Originally we were going to have players play using a swiping motion, but we changed it to a tapping motion.”

Added Milewski, “People compete with each other to get the best score. We wanted to build a community.”

The game was submitted to Apple in February and was quickly accepted.

“We started working on the app in September and completed it in February,” Boudah said. “We submitted it to Apple on February 11. It was accepted on February 20 and was released on February 21st.”

Shear Resistance can be downloaded for free and is played on Apple devices like an iPhone or iPad. The developers are paid a small percentage of advertising revenue based on clicks and ad views. The app has not only been downloaded by friends and people across the United States, but also in unexpected places like Europe, Asia and Africa.

Jeffrey Galbraith, a professor of Boudah’s in the GCC business department, helped him set up their video game development company Temple Studios, LLC last July. The company does marketing through a Facebook page and Twitter.

“Matt originally founded the company with another person who is no longer with us,” Milewski said. “Avery joined shortly after the company was formed. I joined five months ago.”

The three are developing another app, and see the company possibly growing in the future to offer cooperative education opportunities for FCTS students.

“We’re hoping to take on clients and develop apps for them,” Boudah said. “I could also see taking on contractors at some point.”

The three recently spoke to students in the Programming and Web class about developing Shear Resistance, and their post-FCTS experience.

“We prepared a lesson about the core things you need to think about when you’re going to develop an app,” Boudah said. “Developing an app is entrepreneurial and you can do it on your own.”

Besides developing another app, Boudah, Rovatti and Milewski are mostly focusing on updating Shear Resistance to make improvements that will entice users to play the game longer.

“We’re making a good game into a great game,” Boudah said. “I’m kind of a perfectionist. I’ll over think it to make sure it works perfectly.”

FCTS Pre-Employment Students Raise $545 to benefit Dakin Animal Shelter; Over $7,000 Raised in the last Seven Years

This year, the Pre-Employment Program was proud to donate 45 pounds of can tabs to the Ronald McDonald House. By completing a quick math problem, we found out that this is approximately 66,000 can tabs! That is over a mile long if laid end-to-end!

PEP also donated hats and scarves to the patients and their families who are staying in the Springfield RMH.

Maureen Fay, a representative from the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield, visited PEP and showed a short video about the people who they help during the year. PEP students also learned that RMH provides housing for families with children that are being treated at area hospitals, both long and short term.

Ronald McDonald House is a fully furnished home with several living quarters, a fully stocked kitchen, laundry, and living rooms for the families. We also learned that they take in families from all over the world (Greece and the Dominican Republic were mentioned as examples), well as from many states from across the United States.

PEP collects can/pop tabs throughout the year. If you would like to contribute can tabs to the PEP program, please come to FCTS and drop them off. A student from PEP will gladly come to the main office and receive your can tab donation. We look forward to making another large can tab donation next year.

The PEP program is a unique, tuition based program designed for students with physical or cognitive challenges. This small, but effective program works with students on many educational and independent living skills to students ages 14 to 22. Academic skills such as reading, math and critical thinking are practiced daily. Life skills such as cooking, laundry, and organization; and shop trade skills such as wood working, processing recyclables and office technology are taught to PEP students. These are just a few of the skills that give PEP students a better chance toward future independent living and job placement.

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Announces STEM Grants toFranklin County Tech, Other Western Massachusetts Schools

At a press conference on Friday, March 27 at Springfield Technical Community College, it was announced that Franklin County Technical School is among a group of colleges, high schools, and middle schools from Western Massachusetts to receive grant money totaling $2.6 million.

FCTS will receive $99,557 from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center’s STEM Equipment and Supplies Grant program. The school was actually informed in December that it had received the grant, but Friday’s announcement at STCC made it official.

Physics and engineering teachers Jonas LaPointe and Matthew Gancz co-authored the winning grant application.

At Friday’s event, LaPointe thanked the MLSC for the grant and told the crowd gathered on the seventh floor of STCC’s Scibelli Hall that the money will be used to further modernize the school’s science department.

“This grant will allow our science department to upgrade classrooms and purchase new equipment to better serve our students in preparing them for both college and career paths,” LaPointe said. “Our science labs date from 1976 when our school was constructed, and the MLSC grant will help replace student work stations, buy laptop computers, and tool and equipment carts. It will also allow us to purchase a large capacity 3D printer to be utilized in our engineering, physics, and biological science courses as well as in our school vocational education areas of CAD/CAM and Machine Technology. Equipment and upgrades like this could never be purchased through our traditional budgets and we appreciate the work that MLSC has done in supporting the sciences throughout the state. ”

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Announces STEM Grants to Franklin County Tech, Other Western Massachusetts Schools

Joining LaPointe at the event were Gancz and FCTS Superintendent James M. Laverty.

Other schools receiving grants are STCC ($972,850), Berkshire Community College ($500,000), Bay Path University ($500,000), Holyoke Community College ($300,000), Veritas Preparatory Charter School ($50,000), Zanetti Montessori Magnet School ($48,455), Chicopee Comprehensive High School (83,086), and Springfield High School of Commerce ($99,991).

The STEM Equipment and Supplies Grant Program for High Schools allows for the purchase of equipment and supplies to train students in science technology and research, and to close the funding gap for public and not-for-profit workforce training and educational institutions.

The grant program also seeks to increase student achievement and interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), as well as support the implementation of state STEM standards.

Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., MLSC president and CEO, said Massachusetts is a global leader in the life sciences, and is the fastest job growth sector in the state.

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Announces STEM Grants to Franklin County Tech, Other Western Massachusetts Schools

“We’ve seen 17.5 percent growth in these sectors in the last six years,” she said. “We’ve invested $600 million to promote biomedical and life sciences programs. From that, we’ve leveraged $2 billion in private investment.”

Windham-Bannister said $125 million has been invested in the life sciences in Western Massachusetts over the last few years. She said the region is a good fit for the life sciences because of the high quality of its educational institutions and history of precision manufacturing.

“We see a lot of swagger in Western Massachusetts,” Windham-Bannister said.

State Sen. James Welch said he was encouraged to see so much grant money going to the middle - and high schools so students can begin to nurture their interest in the life sciences, hopefully leading to careers in the field.

“To get students to think about this career path and get training so early on in their educational career will be a world of difference,” he said.

FCTS Pre-Employment Students Raise $545 to benefit Dakin Animal Shelter; Over $7,000 Raised in the last Seven Years

On March 27th, Pre-Employment Program students and teachers paid a visit to the Dakin Animal Shelter in Leverett, Ma. Students presented a check for $545 to DPVHS staff member Lori Swanson. This is the 7th year in a row donating to Dakin animal Shelter from the popular yearly FCTS scarf sale. Over the past 7 years PEP has raised and donated over $4,000 to Dakin. Thank you to everyone who has helped us raise this much for animals in need.

During their visit to Dakin Animal Shelter, Lori led students and staff on a tour of the facility and discussed what DPVHS does on a day to day basis. She also described to the students how they can volunteer and make a difference in their community. Students had the opportunity to play and hold various cats in a designated cat playroom and pet the dogs that are currently available for adoption to interested parties. Lastly, the students got to pet bunnies that are also up for adoption.

FCTS Pre-Employment Students Raise $545 to benefit Dakin Animal Shelter; Over $7,000 Raised in the last Seven Years

The PEP program is a unique, tuition based program designed for students with physical or cognitive challenges. This small, but effective program works with students on many educational and independent living skills to students ages 14 to 22. Academic skills such as reading, math and critical thinking are practiced daily. Life skills such as cooking, laundry, and shop trade skills such as auto detailing, recycling processing, and office technology are some of the employment skills that offer our students a better chance toward future independent living and job placement. Students also learn essential values of work ethic and community service.

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