Putnam Vocational-Technical Academy puts students on road to high-paying careers

Rafael Rivera, a sophomore at Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, can see a clear path to a bright future from the seat of a virtual John Deere 310SL backhoe-bucket loader. Rivera, 16, is among 15 sophomores enrolled in the school’s new construction and craft labor shop who can expect to land high-paying union jobs starting at $17.50 an hour in highway construction after graduation. The shop where they learn exists thanks to a $441,000 federal Pell grant that Putnam received to staff and outfit the 3,850-square-foot facility with the kind of equipment students will use on the job after graduation.

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