Jeffrey LaBonte

Last Th­­ursday, Oct. 27, Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its Machine Shop Revitalization Project.

According to lead instructor, Tate Ostiguy, the shop now houses 15 new and rebuilt machines that represent the state of the art equipment available today.

“We started replacing and refurbishing machines last year after receiving a $295,000 grant from the Massachusetts Workforce Skills Capital Grant Program” said Ostiguy. “We installed the last of the equipment about a month ago.”

The total modernization project totaled nearly $500,000, with a $150,000 private donation and $50,000 from the school budget rounding out the funding.

Ostiguy says many machines were refurbished instead of buying new. “You can’t buy iron like this anymore” he said. “So we had the old Bridgeports refurbished, then retrofitted with the latest technologies.”

There are approximately 40 students in the Machine Shop program at Bay Path, which is capacity according to school principal, Clifford Cloutier.

While many have the impression that domestic manufacturing is a dying industry, everyone at this ribbon cutting was quick to set the record straight.

“Manufacturing in Massachusetts is growing and sustainable” said State Senator Anne Gobi. “Manufacturing represents a lot of stable, high-paying jobs for our residents.”

Michael Pantos, chair of the Bay Path Regional School Committee added, “Local companies are screaming for more employees. We can’t train them fast enough.

Ostiguy agreed. “The phone rings every single day from a company looking for qualified machinists.”

“This machine shop was a dream 10 years ago” said Pantos. “It’s wonderful to see it coming to fruition today.”