SE Students from Five Vocational Programs Repair, Revamp Bus for MassHire

Superintendent Luis Lopes, Principal Leslie Weckesser and Vocational Supervisor Robert Foley are pleased to share that a number of Southeastern students in various vocational programs contributed to work on a vehicle to be used as a mobile learning lab by the MassHire Greater Brockton Workforce Board (MHGBWB).

From October 2021 to January 2022, students in five of Southeastern’s vocational programs worked to make repairs to and convert a decommissioned Brockton Area Transit Authority passenger bus into a mobile learning lab for the MHGBWB. The MHGBWB approached Superintendent Lopes about the project a few years ago, and after several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic and remote learning, work on the bus was completed in January and it was returned to MHGBWB Employer Services Manager John Nesti.

Students from Southeastern’s Electrical, Automotive Technology, Carpentry & Makerspace, Precision Machine Engineering, and Collision Repair & Restoration contributed to the work on the bus. Throughout the project, Southeastern students helped to diagnose and solve automotive problems as well as come up with creative solutions to prepare the bus for use.

Some of the work included installing a television, internet modem and whiteboard; inspecting and diagnosing a broken hydraulic lift for the handicap entrance; fortifying the vehicle’s scissor doors; diagnosing and repairing problems with the heat, air conditioning and vehicle battery; installing a safety switch to ensure the power to internal devices goes off when the bus engine is shut off; as well as cosmetic repairs such as painting and securing reflectors, and more.

Students also modified the interior of the bus to allow MHGBWB staff to secure workstations and other materials so that they stay in place while driving and can then be spread out and reorganized while the bus is parked.

At the conclusion, a total of 85 hours were put into the project cumulatively by Southeastern students.

“Real-world experience is crucial to our students’ vocational education, and not only did this project provide that, but it also allowed our students to contribute to something that will help people in their community,” Superintendent Lopes said. “We are grateful to the team at the Greater Brockton Workforce Board for proposing the project and collaborating with us to provide this excellent opportunity to this group of students.”

The MHGBWB works to provide professional development and career building services, partners with companies to offer a space for workforce training for industry certifications, and more. The bus will serve as a mobile classroom, seating 8-9 people, and thanks to the work of the Southeastern students, MHGBWB clients will have access to Wi-Fi and power in the bus.

Once fully outfitted and put into service, the bus will be an extension of the services the MHGBWB provides and will enable the Board to reach more people with its services, especially those community members who may not be able to easily get to the Board’s Brockton office.

The MHGBWB plans to explore the possibility of offering various workshops and youth development or college to career programming using the bus. The bus could also allow the MHGBWB to offer programming at community events, housing communities, malls and more.

“At the Workforce Board, we deal with training and education, youth engagement, and business and industry, and all of these components start with providing access and being functional within our community. Having this bus helps us do that,” Nesti said. “Having the students at Southeastern be part of the process of getting the bus prepared makes the project special because our community partners at the school have now had a direct impact on how the vehicle runs and looks, which will have a direct impact on the community. The students will see the bus around and they’ll remember working on it, and when they see it next time it’ll be actively helping someone get the training or assistance they might need to get a first job, a new job or a professional certificate.”

He added, “This project has been in the works for a while, and so many companies are hiring and looking for qualified individuals due to the pandemic’s effects on the workforce, so having the bus prepared early this year puts us in an even better position to help members of the community get back to work or get the training they’ll need to get a better job.”

The bus is expected to be launched within the community in the springtime.

About MassHire:

MassHire creates and sustains powerful connections between businesses and jobseekers through a statewide network of employment professionals. Our 29 MassHire Career Centers connect jobseekers and businesses for employment opportunities, and our 16 MassHire Workforce Boards engage business in building long-term talent solutions across the Commonwealth.

About the Greater Brockton Workforce Board:

The MassHire Greater Brockton Workforce Board is one of 16 MassHire Workforce Investment Boards statewide working to build links between the business community and the workforce. The MassHire Workforce Investment Boards oversee and implement workforce development activities in the Commonwealth. They are composed of private sector business people, labor, education, and community leaders, and serve as conduits for federal and state workforce development funds. The MassHire Workforce Investment Boards also help connect employers with job seekers and provide current members of the workforce, and those seeking employment, with the training they need.

MHGBWB serves the communities of Abington, Avon, Bridgewater, Brockton, East Bridgewater, Easton, Hanson, Stoughton, West Bridgewater and Whitman.

Leah Comins, John Guilfoil Public Relations