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McCann Technical School instructor Glenn Andrews, left, and John Kline, right, with welding program graduates Logan O'Neil, Steven Barbeau and Grant Collingwood-Fox.

Berkshire Advanced Manufacturing Training Graduates 56

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Despite interruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 56 trainees completed their training as part of the Berkshire Advanced Manufacturing Program. 
Some 21 unemployed and underemployed participants received certificates of completion for their participation in Introduction to Basic Advanced Manufacturing Skills Training held at Taconic High School in Pittsfield and McCann Technical School in North Adams. The training was 120 hours.
Six trainees completed training in MIG and TIG Welding held McCann Tech. The training combined classroom, hands-on as well as virtual training through ToolingU on-line manufacturing. Trainees received instruction in blueprint reading, shop math, computer-aided drafting, CAM, machining, and mill and lathe programming; as well as receiving OSHA 10 cards. The training was 95 hours.
These skills prepared participants to apply for entry-level positions at local manufacturers. In conjunction with the training, participants were given the opportunity to apply for employment through two virtual job fairs sponsored by the MassHire Career Center.  
Additionally, 17 individuals, participated in a one-day Hoisting Training that prepared them to take the state licensure exams in 1A and 3C hoisting. Both unemployed and underemployed individuals, as well as incumbent workers from Berkshire employers, took advantage of this training.
As part of the grant funding, Berkshire Workforce board was able to offer 12 On-the-Job training financial assistance to area manufacturers. This funding assists employers to reduce the cost of supporting the training of new hires particularly in entry-level positions. 
LTI Specialty Glass, Unistress and Valmet took advantage of this program. 
"MassHire's OJT program helped LTI in a significant way," Christopher Kapiloff, vice president of LTI Glass, said. "With their help, we were able to provide employment to people who would not have been hired otherwise. It was good for the employee, for LTI and good for Berkshire County."
These trainings are part of a $178,000 state grant awarded to the Berkshire Workforce Board for fiscal year 2020 to support the education and training of individuals with entry-level skills needed to enter and/or advance within the Advanced Manufacturing workforce in Berkshire County. Funding was provided by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and administered by the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County. 
This is the fifth year of providing this training. Graduates have attained positions at manufacturing companies such as: General Dynamics, Spectrum Technologies, LTI Glass, T&A Tool, Lenco Armored Cars, RIBCo, Data Flute, Unistress, Covanta LLC, Onyx Specialty Papers, Lansen Mold, and Modern Mold and Tool.
The Berkshire Workforce Board is the grant recipient, and partners in the grant include area manufacturing employers Spectrum Technology, Cavallero Plastics, Crane & Co., Interprint, LTI Glass and Onyx Specialty Paper; Berkshire Community College, McCann Technical School, MassHire Berkshire Career Center, and Pittsfield Public Schools.

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Pittsfield Council OKs $960K for Infrastructure Benefiting Bousquet

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday approved an appropriation of $960,000 in Pittsfield Economic Development funds for infrastructure improvements on Dan Fox Drive. The motion passed 10-1 with Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell voting against.

These funds will go toward the extension of water and sewer lines along Dan Fox Drive, connecting the lines immediately to Bousquet Mountain. Though Bousquet is an immediate part of the equation, these improvements will make the area capable of handling future growth and is purposed to promote the "much needed" development.

The ski area's new owners Mill Town Capital plan to demolish Bousquet's existing base area because it is "dramatically out of code" and build a new $5 million one in its place but are not able to move forward with the project depending on well water and a faulty sewage system.

Last week, the Community Development Board unanimously approved this allocation with high hopes for how it will improve that corridor of Dan Fox and the whole city. Earlier this month, the Finance subcommittee unanimously recommended a tax increment financing (TIF) agreement for Bousquet Ski Area that offers 100 percent forgiveness of real estate and personal property taxes in Year 1 and decreases 20 percent a year over a five-year period.

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