WESTFIELD — Over the past two weeks, a dozen seniors from Electrical, Auto Tech, Construction and Horticulture Tech at Westfield Technical Academy worked side by side with instructors from the Massachusetts Pre-Apprenticeship and Vocational School Training Program to improve the front entrance to their school at 33 Smith St., Westfield.
WTA Career Technical Director Peter Taloumis said the student and professional crew removed a deteriorating slate sidewalk, prepped and leveled the surface, poured concrete and experienced weather delays as part of the training, which is funded on a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
In addition to real-work experience, the students can earn up to 30 hours towards apprenticeship in the Laborers International Union of North America, also known as LiUNA, the largest trade union found on a MassDOT highway construction project.
They received a hardhat, safety glasses, work gloves, safety vest and equipment bag. Taloumis said the students also received certification for a class in CPR and first aid, and worked on their resumes as a part of the course.
The pre-apprenticeship program is funded on a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and was also assisted by the Westfield Department of Public Works.
“They’re great kids,” Cathcart said, adding that the pre-apprenticeship program is “a wonderful hands-on opportunity for young men and women to show what they’ve learned and put it to use.”
Students in the Massachusetts Pre-Apprenticeship and Vocational School Training Program pour concrete at the front entrance of Westfield Technical Academy. (Photos by Chase Blais, Aedan Nault-Goodreau and Amnerys Donato-Almodovar/WTA Graphic Arts)