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Smith School gets $100,000 for machine shop equipment

A $100,000 state grant will allow Smith Vocational Agricultural High School to add two state-of-the-art machines to its manufacturing technologies shop. The current shop set up is shown here. 
Photo courtesy of Smith Vocational High School.

A $100,000 state grant will allow Smith Vocational Agricultural High School to add two state-of-the-art machines to its manufacturing technologies shop. The current shop set up is shown here. Photo courtesy of Smith Vocational High School. Purchase photo reprints »

— Students at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School will soon have access to new state-of-the-art machine shop equipment, thanks to a state grant.

The vocational school has received $100,000 from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center to purchase two turning machines for making precision tools and parts used in the biomedical sciences industry.

The computer numerically controlled (CNC) turning machines will eliminate the need for students to enter projects by hand into an existing computer-aided design program.

As a result, they will be able to create more complex machine products with fewer steps, vocational school administrators said.

The new machines — which administrators hope will be delivered this spring — will also allow teachers at Smith Voke to incorporate more CNC programming into the curriculum and will boost the skill level of vocational school graduates, instructors said.

“It’s definitely going to allow our students to enter the job market at a different level,” said Jeff Lareau, who has headed Smith Voke’s Manufacturing Technologies Department for the past seven years. “The turning machines we have now are about 20 years old. These new ones are going to help them develop higher skills.”

Sarah Neelon, development coordinator at Smith Voke, said the high school received a grant of $30,000 from the Life Sciences Center last year. The center is a 10-year, $1 billion quasi-public agency created by the Legislature in 2008. Its mission is to create jobs in the life sciences and support scientific research by investing in public and private institutions in Massachusetts. More information is available on the Mass Life Sciences website, www.masslifesciences.com.

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