Blue Ridge Technical School in Front Royal will receive some technological upgrades as a result of a $37,500 grant from the state of Virginia.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced in mid-April that $600,000 in competitive grants would be given to 16 high schools/technical schools to upgrade career and technical education program equipment.

Jane Baker, the director of career and technical education at Blue Ridge Technical School, said the school is thrilled to get the grant. Baker said the grant allows the school to purchase equipment that will give students “real world” learning experiences while under the experienced supervision of classroom teachers.

“Manufacturing is growing in this area and there is a demand for employees that have had exposure to these types of equipment,” she said.

Baker said the grant will be used to purchase computer numerical control machining and electric motor control learning system.

“The motor control trainer will enable students to learn how to operate, install, design and troubleshoot electric motor control circuits in various applications such as those used in machine and conveyor systems in a manufacturing environment,” she said.

Baker said Blue Ridge students already have had exposure to other systems such as 3-D printing and the computer numerical control machinethe school is purchasing will receive student designed digital instructions through Computer Aided Manufacturing files to produce a prototype or finished product.

Baker said the grant will also allow Blue Ridge Technical School to start offering a computer integrated manufacturing class for their engineering and trades programs during the the 2019-2020 Warren County Public Schools school year. The class will focus on the study of manufacturing planning, integration, and implementation of automation.

“The course will be a combination of trade skills with new skills gained in manufacturing processes, product design, robotics, and automation integrated with the soft skills of problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork will greatly increase future career options,” she said.

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