State Senator Eric Lesser tours vocational training facility

Facility provides vocational training to students who live in towns that don't have vocational schools

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – State Senator Eric Lesser toured the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative on Tuesday in West Springfield.

They have a unique program designed to provide vocational training to students who live in towns that don’t have their own vocational school.

Students do their core classes at the public school in the morning and then hop on a bus to practice their trade in the afternoon.

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On Tuesday, the focus was on machine technology, where there are some lucrative local jobs up for grabs.

“We actually have thousands of vacant positions right now here in western Mass. in the manufacturing field,” Lesser told 22News. “It’s important to remember these are good jobs that pay $15 to $25 and hour starting.”

“When I leave here, if I go on to get my mechanical engineering degree, I can be making anywhere from $80,000 to $120,000 a year,” student Joseph Bina explained. “That’s not too bad for someone who is fresh out of high school and college just 21 or 22 years old.”

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Western Massachusetts has a rich history of manufacturing as the former home of American Bosch, Westinghouse, Uniroyal and Indian Motorcycles.

The Career and Technical Education Center in West Springfield hosts students from nine area school districts.