Front row from left, Colin Keaney (Chelmsford), John Felix (Shirley), Daniel Osgood (Littleton), Thomas Lemon of the New England Laborers Training Academy, Daniel Haluska (Townsend) and James Wheeler (Shirley); back row, from left, Brent Robinson (Westford), Michael Hourihan (Chelmsford), Christopher Walters (Shirley), Thomas Woodward (Ayer), Jake Benjamin (Townsend), Matthew Sciuto (Westford), Garrett Callahan (Ayer) and Jonathan Wright (Townsend).
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WESTFORD — Thirteen seniors at Nashoba Valley Technical High School completed a 30-Hour Massachusetts Pre-Apprenticeship and Vocational School Training Program run by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

MassDOT started the training program because the top issue facing the construction trades — not just in Massachusetts but across the country — is laborers retiring — and no one to replace them.The program prepares students in vocational-technical schools to enter the workforce upon graduation to replace those laborers who have worked hard and earned the right to retire.

“We need to address the aging workforce,” said Thomas Lemon, the lead instructor for the Hopkinton-based program. “So, basically, we’re forming a pipeline of vocational-technical students to replace the men and women that are retiring.”

Lemon said there are 15 construction trades in Massachusetts and that the laborers in those trades are “the special forces” when it comes to highway construction projects.

“They’re the front-line soldiers,” he said. “These men and women are the first ones on the job and the last to leave. They’re there when the first nail is hammered until the final broom is swept.”

The week of training for Nashoba Tech students included lessons in surveying; concrete mixing and framing; certification in CPR and first aid; highway work-zone safety; and what Lemon calls “soft skills,” i.e., interview skills, work ethic and construction safety.

Students who completed the training program will also be eligible to take classes to get their CDL-B and Hoisting licenses at no cost.

The students are:

• Jake Benjamin, Townsend, Electrical Technology.

• Garrett Callahan, Ayer, Plumbing & Heating.

• John Felix, Shirley, Plumbing & Heating.

• Daniel Haluska, Townsend, Electrical Technology.

• Michael Hourihan, Chelmsford, Electrical Technology.

• Colin Keaney, Chelmsford, Plumbing & Heating.

• Daniel Osgood, Littleton, Electrical Technology.

• Brent Robinson, Westford, Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing.

• Matthew Sciuto, Westford, Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing.

• Christopher Walters, Shirley, Plumbing & Heating.

• James Wheeler, Shirley, Electrical Technology.

• Thomas Woodward, Ayer, Electrical Technology.

• Jonathan Wright, Townsend, Plumbing & Heating.