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Employers worry over loss of courses at Taconic High School

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Albany/HV: Employers worry over loss of courses at Taconic High School
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One Berkshire County vocational school is being revamped and that could mean two programs could be cut. But as YNN's Madeleine Rivera tells us, local businesses worry they could lose future employees.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- "If it's eliminated, it's going to be a bad thing," said Charles Weatherell, owner of Oliver's Auto Shop.

But that's what we might see: Cuts to some of Taconic High School's vocational programs. On the chopping block are courses in auto body and metal fabrication. Some local businesses are resisting the proposal.

"We rely on, to a certain extent, the students coming out of the high school because they have a basic knowledge of our industry," said Weatherell.

It's part of an ongoing plan to renovate or rebuild the school. Kathleen Amuso's, co-chair of the Pittsfield School Building Needs Commission, has worked on the plan. She says the programs are hard to maintain.

"The footprint for those two programs are very large and they're very expensive to keep. And enrollment in both of those programs have been down," said Amuso.

But Todd Loehr, a 1985 graduate of Taconic, says there's always be an interest in these programs .

"Either way, the job, it's always going to be here. And we need new guys coming in. The old guys are going to retire," said Loehr.

While there is a possibility that the auto body and metal fabrication classes may be cut from the new curriculum, Amuso says they will be adding other courses.

"You get the itch to do cars, there's guys that want to work on cars. I don't know, you need the program. Without the program, I definitely wouldn't be here," said Loehr.

The school board will meet next week to talk about the plan. If it passes, it will be forwarded to the state for approval. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP