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Diman gets $500,000 to support emerging technologies

By Kevin P. O’Connor
Herald News Staff Reporter
Posted Oct 17, 2017

Machine Tool Technology Department Chair, Michael Oliveira, explains how a state grant will support Diman.
Machine Tool Technology Department Chair, Michael Oliveira, explains how a state grant will support Diman


Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School’s Innovation Laboratory seeks to train high school students and un-/under-employed adult learners from communities across Bristol County in a cross-vocational approach to next-generation advanced manufacturing.

The project will target the high-growth industry of advanced manufacturing, specifically as it intersects with automated machinery / robotics and technical services, teaching students to design, build and repair the tools and machines that currently dominate the manufacturing industry. Though economies and occupations continue to rapidly diversify across the Commonwealth, manufacturing maintains a unique stronghold in the Southeast region.

Utilizing Diman’s experience as a regional workforce development collaborator, working closely with the Bristol Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and industry leaders outside of our immediate geographic area, like Gillette and Waters Corporation, Diman’s Innovation Lab will equip the local workforce with state-of-the-art skills and competencies on the latest manufacturing equipment.

Capital acquisitions to facilitate this training include: computer numerically controlled (CNC) mills, lathes, 3-D printers and VEX robotics kits.

The Laboratory will be available during school hours to Diman students, after-school to members of the community and in the evening for adult education programs offered in partnership with the Bristol Workforce Investment Board.

FALL RIVER — The world of work is getting smaller, much smaller, Thomas Aubin said.

Workers in 10 or 15 years will have to be adept at the needs of nanotechnology, making the machines and tools to operate robots that will require a microscope to see. They will have to make objects with such precision that one ten thousands of an inch is sloppy.

The state just helped Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School with that mission.

Diman received a $500,000 grant from the Skills Capital Grants program run through Gov. Charlie Baker’s office. The program sent out $9.5 million in grants to 32 schools. The greatest grant was $500,000, an amount received only by Diman and five other schools.

“Spending this money will be easy,” said Aubin, Diman’s superintendent. “You can’t imagine how expensive this equipment is.

“Just two pieces of equipment will cost us $285,000.”

One of those machines is an industrial 3D printer. The other a precise and powerful metal lathe.

Diman students, and adults in job training programs, will be able to work on the machines, learning skills that will be required for workers in the medical technology, aerospace or underwater robotics industries, Aubin said.

“There is a nationwide, even a global shortage of workers with advanced manufacturing skills,” Aubin said. “There is unmet demand now in nano-technology and medicine.

“Getting this equipment will be beneficial to the entire area. Businesses will know this is a place they can come to and depend on a quality workforce.

“This machinery helps us get there. We need to turn out workers who are trained and ready to go.”

The new equipment will be available after school hours for adult education programs as well, Aubin said.

It is necessary, Aubin said, for vocational education to be ahead of the curve on manufacturing practices. They have to give their students skills they will need for jobs that do not yet exist, he said.

“This is not your average manufacturing,” Aubin said. “We want to become a hub for training, but not for today’s work. That becomes obsolete in three days.”

Diman, instead, tries to teach students how to flourish when the technology and the jobs require are constantly changing, Aubin said.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Baker administration for continuing to support public education,” Aubin said. “These types of grants are critical for us to continue to provide quality education.”

This grant helps beef up teaching in the manufacturing area. The Greater Fall River Development Corp. provided a grant to Diman that let the school strengthen its computer lab and offer more web development programs.

“Our needs are unlimited because of the changing technology we face,” Aubin said. “We need the support of our business community and the government.

“If we get it, we are ready.”

Email Kevin P. O’Connor at