For Immediate Release - February 25, 2016

Baker-Polito Administration Announces $9.3 Million in Workforce Skills Capital Grants

Grants will purchase training equipment to build strong employment pipelines

BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito announced $9.3 million in workforce skills equipment grants to 35 high schools, community colleges and vocational training providers across the Commonwealth for vocational-technical education and training equipment purchases that connect Massachusetts students and residents to economic opportunities in high-demand industries.

“Workforce skills education and training plays an enormous role in economic and personal development by helping residents acquire the skills they need to connect with promising careers,” said Governor Baker. “These vocational-technical education equipment grants will help build stronger communities and a more competitive business environment that ensures more residents have the skills they need to succeed in and support the Commonwealth’s economic future.”

“These workforce development grants will build bridges between residents seeking careers to build a future on, and the employers who need a skilled workforce to grow the state’s economy,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “Today, too many good-paying jobs are going unfilled, because employers are struggling to find skilled employees. This investment in training equipment will enable high schools and community colleges across the Commonwealth to equip students with the skills they need to secure a bright future.”

The Workforce Skills Capital Grant Program is a new initiative of the Governor’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, which seeks to align education, workforce and economic development strategies across the state. Governor Baker tapped Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald Walker II, Education Secretary James Peyser, and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash to work together to develop policies to improve economic and job training opportunities for residents of the Commonwealth.

As part of the Workforce Skills Cabinet’s efforts to align resources to better meet common goals, the Workforce Skills Cabinet consolidated two separate capital grant programs – the former Manufacturing Training Equipment grants (administered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development) and the former Vocational Opportunity Challenge grants (administered by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance) – into one unified, integrated, and expanded workforce development capital grant program.

The inaugural round of the Workforce Skills Capital Grant program received 68 applications, requesting a total of $18 million in funding.

“We are leveraging our resources to take the public dollars that are available and funneling them into places that can provide the skills and job training that residents need for the jobs that are available,” said Secretary Walker. “The goal is to have all our resources integrated around meeting the talent needs in a particular region.”

“These grants will immediately transform the quality of vocational programs and cutting edge technological opportunities,” said Secretary Peyser. “They will also enable deeper partnerships between vocational schools, community colleges, and employers.”

“A competitive economy demands a competitive, highly skilled workforce,” said Secretary Ash. “Through the Workforce Skills Cabinet’s coordinated efforts to close the skills gap, we are equipping residents with the skills needed to fill the jobs of today, and tomorrow, and setting the stage for future economic growth.”

Consistent with the Baker-Polito Administration’s support for expanded workforce development opportunities, the Governor’s recently filed economic development legislation requests an additional $75 million in capital authorization for additional training equipment grants that strengthen workforce skills, and create strong employment pipelines.

2016 Workforce Skills Capital Grant Program Winners

Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, Marlborough  - $213,040
Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School will construct a fully computerized hydroponic greenhouse to support vocational programming in the biotechnology and culinary fields, including research, food production, farm-to-table sustainability, and nutritional processes.

Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School, Charlton - $295,500
Bay Path’s machine tool modernization project will provide vocational-technical students and adult learners in southern Worcester County with modern advanced manufacturing machinery and robotics equipment.

Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield - $465,119
Berkshire Community College will upgrade and modernize its manufacturing and engineering program, utilizing new hydraulics, pneumatics, electrical controls, materials testing, CNC and 3D printing equipment to train students and adult learners for careers in advanced manufacturing, engineering, and biotechnology.

Blackstone Valley Vocational Regional School District, Upton - $407,517
Blackstone Valley’s cluster modernization project will provide state-of-the-art equipment for students learning manufacturing technology, automotive technology, construction technology, and medical billing and coding.

BMC Durfee High School, Fall River - $110,820
The Fall River Public Schools will create a new vocational program in robotics and automation technology, leading to career pathways in robotics, engineering, and advanced manufacturing.

Brockton High School, Brockton - $336,596
Brockton High School’s Youth Career Connect program trains students for careers the health care, advanced manufacturing, and information technology. Workforce Skills Capital Program funds will provide training equipment upgrades across the three career concentrations.

Cape Cod Regional Vocational Technical High School, Harwich - $312,500
Grant funds will prepare students in the school’s engineering program to understand, design, integrate and troubleshoot concepts related to advanced manufacturing and automated systems, and will support a revamping of horticultural and landscaping training.

Center for Manufacturing Technology, Woburn - $91,832
CMT will deepen its capacity to train dislocated and incumbent workers in advanced manufacturing processes by purchasing new computer-controlled machinery.

Dean Technical High School, Holyoke - $393,156
As part of the Holyoke Public Schools’ comprehensive turnaround effort, Dean Technical High School will transform its existing machine technology shop into an advanced manufacturing shop that aligns with current industry practices and technologies, in order to connect Holyoke students to career opportunities in the Pioneer Valley’s skilled manufacturing workforce.

The English High School, Boston - $137,888
The English High School will support the city of Boston’s commitment to diversifying its police department. By launching a new vocational program in protective services, English will prepare students for entry into the city’s Police Cadet Program.

Essex North Shore Technical and Agricultural School District, Danvers - $144,186
Essex Tech’s Workforce Skills Capital Program grant will allow the school to expand its heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technical program, and enable the school to add adult basic education training opportunities.

Franklin County Technical School, Montague - $52,500
Franklin County Technical School will revamp its computer programming and web design programs, and expand the programs’ capacity to reach adult learners.

Greater Lawrence Technical School, Andover - $316,514
Greater Lawrence will update its Metal Fabrication and Joining Technologies Department, training students for careers in the welding and metal fabrication industries.

Greater Lowell Technical High School, Tyngsborough - $493,395
State funding will advance Greater Lowell’s efforts to automate its Machine Technology Shop, to create a state-of-the-art Precision/Advanced Manufacturing Training Center.

Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, New Bedford - $495,000
The Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School will overhaul its advanced manufacturing training equipment, connecting high school students, Bristol Community College students, adult basic education learners, and unemployed individuals in the region to training in modern manufacturing processes.

Haverhill High School, Haverhill - $218,671
Haverhill High School will purchase a suite of career technical training equipment, including new computers, 3D printers, robotics kits, and medical training equipment, in order to expand training in technology, computer programming and web development, and to provide new early-college STEM programs for at-risk students.

Leominster High School, Leominster - $227,236
Leominster High School’s Center for Technical Education innovation will revamp its machine technology and heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration programs by purchasing new advanced milling machines, and by purchasing simulation systems to support education in clean energy technologies, including solar and geothermal energy.

Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative, West Springfield - $257,100
Grant funds will enable Lower Pioneer Valley to expand the capacity of its recently-founded high school Machine Technology Program, and to extend programming to adult learners, including unemployed and underemployed individuals facing barriers to employment.

McCann Technical School, North Adams - $121,128
McCann Technical School will revamp its welding and metal fabrication equipment to train students for careers in Berkshire County’s aerospace, defense, commercial, medical device, and power generation industries, and will enable re-training for unemployed workers.

Middlesex Community College, Lowell - $117,086
MCC will expand training capacity in its rapidly growing IT cybersecurity program by constructing a new, dedicated cybersecurity lab at the college’s Lowell campus.

Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School, Lexington - $500,000
Minuteman will use grant funds to launch a new advanced manufacturing and metal fabrication program, connecting students to careers in robotics, automation, engineering, and construction.

Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School District, Fitchburg - $136,412
The Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School will launch a new program in veterinary science, training students in STEM programming, and allowing students to earn no-cost college credits at Becker College.

Murdock High School, Winchendon - $86,166
Winchendon’s Engineering for the 21st Century project will connect high school students to new career-oriented classes in computer science, video game design, web design, and advanced robotics programming.

Nashoba Valley Technical School, Westford - $500,000
Nashoba Valley Technical School will expand its advanced manufacturing career programming, and will provide additional training opportunities for veterans, and chronically unemployed populations.

New England Center for Arts and Technology, Boston - $51,163
NECAT will deepen its capacity to provide culinary training and support services to low-income adults facing barriers to employment, by purchasing several pieces of equipment, including kitchen appliances and computers.

North Bennet Street School, Boston - $85,545
The North Bennet Street School will expand the capacity of its successful carpentry program, and replace outdated training equipment.

Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, Springfield - $441,500
Springfield’s Putnam Vocational Technical Academy will launch a new program to equip students with the skills to enter the construction workforce, including training with heavy equipment.

Somerville High School - $355,500
Somerville High School will replace outdated equipment in its machine shop with modern advanced machining equipment that will enable low-income students and adult learners to access training for careers in advanced machine manufacturing. The workforce equipment grant complements Somerville High’s new fabrication lab, funded in a recent Urban Agenda grant award.

South Shore Vocational Technical High School, Hanover - $231,419
Grant funds will improve vocational education across several programs, enhancing student work space in South Shore’s electronics and graphic communications programs, and opening cybersecurity training to students studying information technology.

Southeastern Regional Vocational School District, South Easton - $100,911
The Southeastern Regional Vocational School District will construct a new Agile Maker Space lab to equip students in its construction, engineering, and manufacturing technology programs with rapid design and production expertise.

Springfield Technical Community College - $499,785
Springfield Technical Community College will enhance training in its Laser Electro-Optics and Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Technology programs, by creating an advanced laser machining laboratory, and a one-year Laser Materials Processing Certificate of Completion, in order to meet the needs of the Commonwealth’s rapidly-growing laser-manufacturing industry.   

Tantasqua Regional Vocational High School, Fiskdale - $98,899
New machine tooling equipment at Tantasqua Regional Vocational High School will enable students to train on the same advanced tooling equipment used by area machine shops, creating direct career pipelines.

Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical School District, Franklin - $242,627
Franklin’s Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical School will expand its engineering technology and advanced manufacturing education to include training with 3D printing and robotics, and, in partnership with Wentworth Institute of Technology, will expand its adult manufacturing education programs.

Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School, Bourne - $422,907
The Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School will purchase state-of-the art landscape construction equipment, increasing the effectiveness of its Horticulture and Landscape Contracting program.

Worcester Technical High School, Worcester - $347,882
Worcester Technical High School, in collaboration with Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, will expand its veterinary assistant training program purchasing IT equipment to add virtual classroom capabilities, and by updating the school’s clinical equipment.

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