Davies expands with Center for Advanced Manufacturing (Valley Breeze)

By NICOLE DOTZENROD, Valley Breeze Staff Writer

LINCOLN – Though it looks rather unassuming from the exterior, a new world of possibility rests behind garage door number nine at the William M. Davies Career and Technical High School in Lincoln.

When the door opened during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the school last week, public officials and members of the school community got a first glimpse of the school’s new, state-of-the-art Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

The $3.65 million addition to the campus was made possible with funding from the Rhode Island Capital Plan Fund.

“It’s investments such as these that are the reason why Davies continues to lead the pack in preparing students for high-wage, high-demand careers in advanced manufacturing, thereby strengthening the Rhode Island economy,” said Davies Director Adam Flynn-Tabloff, adding that the addition would not be possible without investments from the governor, General Assembly and the school’s board of trustees.

The 8,000-square-foot space includes high-tech machinery, updated equipment and the “best technology and tools available” for students in four of the school’s programs: electrical and renewable energy, bio-manufacturing technology, machine technology and pre-engineering technology.

It’s outfitted with large machinery, 3D printers, band saws and welding machines, a state-of-the-art clean room, updated equipment and more.

“I get excited just smelling the oil,” joked Dave Chenevert, executive director of the R.I. Manufacturers Association.

Speaking on behalf of Gov. Gina Raimondo, Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor said the Center for Advanced Manufacturing would continue to help stimulate R.I.’s strong manufacturing industry.

“Manufacturing is strong in our state and we are investing in the workforce to ensure that these manufacturing jobs in the future have this workforce pipeline,” he said. “We’re so thrilled that Davies is the fine educational institution that it is and that we have the opportunity to strengthen it further in manufacturing and all other disciplines to ensure it succeeds.”

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, who called Davies one of the state’s best-kept secrets, said, “Rhode Island was the manufacturing center of the world, and I don’t see why we can’t go back to that.”

“Behind these doors, we tap into our state’s biggest potential, which is people,” said Department of Labor & Training Director Scott Jensen, who said Davies is always cited as the gold standard for teaching the next generation of manufacturers.

"Technical schools and the things they do are so important," said Rep. Marvin Abney.

"In these schools they learn how to come to work on time, how to dress, give and take orders ... all of that makes a difference when you're trying to take a young person and inaugurate them into our society with good-paying jobs."

“Our goals are informed by the work happening here,” said Stephen Osborn, the Rhode Island Department of Education’s chief for innovation.

Davies serves students from North Providence, Pawtucket, Lincoln, Smithfield, Providence and Central Falls.

Meg Geoghegan