Shawsheen Tech Students Tour Pace Industries During National Manufacturing Week

BILLERICA, MA — There’s a saying that is often associated with activities and programs at Shawsheen Valley Technical High School.

A win-win situation.

It’s a win-win situation when Shawsheen students work through the school’s cooperative education program, gaining valuable real-world experience while saving local companies money and providing excellent work. It’s a win-win situation when students work on projects throughout area communities at a fraction of what these jobs would cost on the open market.

On Oct. 21, the Machine Technology program at Shawsheen experienced another win-win situation.

Students visited Pace Industries in Billerica in recognition of national manufacturing week. Pace, one of the largest and most diversified die casting companies in the world, hosted the Shawsheen students and instructors for an informative session which included several speakers and a tour of the company’s state-of-the-art facility.  The students left with T-shirts, safety glasses and hard hats, all compliments of Pace Industries.

“I thought it was great that we had the students here,” said Bill Donovan, the president of Pace Industries’ Cambridge Division. “I think there was a lot of enthusiasm on our part to see young people here and to be able to show them what manufacturing is all about, particularly the type of manufacturing we do.”

Donovan, colleagues Bob D’Ortona and Meghan Foley and several additional Pace representatives provided demonstrations in the latest die casting technology.  These presentations included some sample parts that Pace manufactures for motorcycles, drones, military defense and airplanes.

“These parts captured the attention of the students and stimulated an engaging question-and-answer session,” said Larry Retelle, a teacher at Shawsheen who attended the presentation along with fellow instructor Tony Bazzinotti. “Participants were given several handouts with useful information for the students to reference during their time at Shawsheen as well as when they enter the industry. Pace employees talked with the students about the requirements needed to be successful in the modern Machine Technology industry.  They also spoke about all the great opportunities available in various professional occupations in this fascinating industry.  This was a great learning experience for our Machine Technology students.”

“I think the students were really interested and maybe a bit surprised by the variety of things that we did,” Donovan said. “Many of the manufacturing sights, particularly around here, are only focused on one aspect of manufacturing.”

Donovan admits, his company is anxious to welcome the next wave of employees into the industry.

“The reality is that as the economy continues to improve a bit, we’re looking for people,” said Donovan. “We need that next generation coming in to grow into the positions that are going to become available. There’s a lot of opportunity and we’re really anxious to get students interested.”

Donovan said the manufacturing industry is an exciting place for a student to look for a career.

“There was this attitude maybe for the past 20 years that manufacturing maybe wasn’t the way to go,” he said. “But from a standpoint of earnings, challenges and learning experience and the personal reward you get from manufacturing, all of that stuff is exciting to a lot of us. We’re trying to spark that excitement in the students.”

“There’s a good future in this shop,” added Retelle.

(NOTE: The above press release was submitted by Shawsheen Tech.)

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