Instrument training: Students of Westfield Tech Cooperative go to work in aerospace manufacturing

SOUTHAMPTON – J&E Precision Tool Inc., an aerospace and defense machine shop, is one of the largest manufacturing companies in the region, accepting Westfield Academy co-op students every year.

Vice President of Operations John Labry said he doesn’t remember exactly how many years they’ve been involved in the program, but the first collaborative student they’ve got is still working at the company.

WTA Assistant Director Kevin Daley said J&E typically takes two students a year.

“There were so many. Some children continue their education. We are still in contact with some of them, ”Labri said. She said the company will also accept students from Smith Vocational in Northampton, Pathfinder Tech in Palmer and Franklin Tech in Turners Falls.

Current Westfield Tech students at J&E are David Shpak and Marion Ozaruk, both in manufacturing technology. Dom Gavioli, who started as a co-student at J&E and will continue to work there until graduating last year, while working at Springfield Technical College.

Labri said the co-op students have good work ethic and they understand that there are majors in jobs where each of them can.

“David actually did the tests,” Labri said of Shpak, who coordinates the measuring device and inspects the parts they make.

Ozaruk works in the maintenance and repair of machinery, and Gavioli is engaged in installation, inspection, operation of machines, and washing of parts.

Labrie, who has just joined the Production Advisory Board at WTA, said he always emphasizes the importance of being accurate to cooperative students.

“We’re working on parts that will run in Mach 2 with the pilot at a distance of 40,000 feet across the sky. When they press a button, [it has to work]. Whatever we do, someone’s life rides on it. That’s the important thing, “he said.

Shpak said she would study more than if she were in school now. Cooperative students often start working at the end of their teenage years, working in cooperative weeks during the summer and during the academic year. They get store credit for the hours they put in and are also paid as company employees.

“You learn how to apply the skills you learn in the real world,” Gavioli said.

“What we have learned is that they will not release the children until they are ready. We never send anyone back to work unprepared, “said Labrie, adding,” Most people, if they want to stay around, they stay. “

“It’s a win. You get back into the community by taking our children, ”said Kevin Daly, WTA assistant director.

Co-Op Corner is a series of stories about Westfield Technical Academy students and the jobs they practice. Entrepreneurs who would like more information about the cooperative training program can contact Kevin Daley at Westfield Technical Academy at 413-572-6533 or

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