LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MURRAY AND MASSACHUSETTS LIFE SCIENCES CENTER ANNOUNCE EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLY MATCHING GRANTS FOR PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS
Grants to fund new equipment for life sciences job training at vocational schools, high schools in Gateway Cities
WESTFORD – Thursday, December 20, 2012 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) today announced $3.2 million in grants to support the purchase of life sciences training equipment and supplies at vocational technical schools, public high schools in Massachusetts' Gateway Cities, and workforce training programs across the state.
Lieutenant Governor Murray launched the first round of the MLSC Equipment and Supplies for High Schools Grant Program at the 7th Annual Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Summit held in 2010. Building on the success of the first year of the program, Lieutenant Governor Murray visited the Nashoba Valley Technical High School, one of the recipients in this latest round, to award the vocational technical school with a $96,665 grant to support the expansion of their Engineering Academy to include biotechnical engineering and robotic fabrication. In addition to Nashoba Valley, 30 other schools and programs were also awarded grants today.
“Our Administration continues to invest in STEM education, jobs, and workforce development to prepare the next generation of students and leaders in our economy,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray, Chair of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. “By partnering with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, we are delivering resources for schools to invest in advanced equipment and supplies. Students will gain more hands-on experience in the classroom, further engaging them in STEM fields that will get them excited about future careers in innovative industries."
Awardees provide a breadth of training ranging from general STEM education curricula to biotechnology. The student population that will benefit from these equipment grants represents a diverse workforce, including workers seeking re-training and low-income individuals preparing for entry-level positions.
This grant program seeks to further the development of the state’s life sciences workforce by providing funding of up to $250,000 per institution for life sciences equipment and supplies. To be eligible for an award of greater than $100,000, applicants must have secured matching funds or in-kind donations from an industry partner that supports the training program for which the equipment and supplies are needed. Industry sponsors have contributed more than $400,000 in matching funds and in-kind donations as part of this year’s program.
“Training students to enter the life sciences workforce is a critical part of the Center’s mission,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC. “We want to make those opportunities available to all students across the state, which is why we are focusing resources in this round of grant awards on our voc/tech schools, and public high schools in our gateway cities. These investments will both strengthen and diversify our life sciences workforce in Massachusetts.”
“We as a career and technical school district, for the past two decades have changed our direction and mission to meet the highest skill standards of the global workplace,” said Dr. Judith Klimkiewicz, Superintendent of Nashoba Valley Technical High School. “We are focused on creating the newest technical programs necessary to meet the needs of the Commonwealth and the nation’s growing science, health, human services and biotechnology industries. We opened Engineering Technology ten years ago and have continued to expand STEM Education in all of our technical programs. Use of the equipment purchased through this grant will enable our students in our health sciences, Engineering Technology and Advanced Placement Biology programs to expand their core curriculums to address specific mathematic and scientific concepts unique to biotechnology.”
“Vocational technical and agricultural education is a blend of quality education, skill development, preparation for post-secondary education and preparation for the workforce of the future,” said Peter D. Dewar, Director of Professional Development, Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators. “The grants being awarded today will go far to enhance and in some schools introduce life sciences education as a workforce component. This will help us continue our quest as we seek to maintain our standing as one of the finest vocational technical and agricultural public education systems in the country.”
"I'm very excited that this grant has been awarded to Nashoba Valley Tech,” said Timothy Blicharz, Senior Scientist for Seventh Sense Biosystems of Cambridge, a company that is collaborating with Nashoba Valley Technical on their biotechnology training programs. “It will be a huge help to foster the students' interest in the sciences and help shape them into the leading scientists and engineers of tomorrow."
The 31 schools and programs that are receiving awards, the city or town in which they are located, and the amount of their grant are as follows:
Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School
Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School
Blue Hills Technical School District
Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School District
Cape Cod Regional Technical High School
Fall River Public Schools (Durfee High School)
Greater Lowell Regional Vocational Technical High School
Haverhill High School
Holyoke Public Schools (Dean Tech & Holyoke High School)
Lynn English High School
Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation
Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School District
Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School District
Nashoba Valley Technical High School
Norfolk County Agricultural High School
North Shore Technical High School
Northeast Metropolitan Vocational School District
Quaboag Regional Middle High School
Quincy High School
Revere High School
Rindge School of Technical Arts
Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy
Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational School District
Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School
South Shore Vocational Technical High School
Taconic High School
Taunton Public Schools
The BioBuilder Educational Foundation
Westfield Public Schools
Worcester North High School
Worcester Technical High School
“This funding will provide much needed supplies and equipment to Gateway City schools and Vocational-Technical programs across the Commonwealth to help train students in life sciences technology and research,” said state Representative Alice H. Peisch, House Chair of the Education Committee. “I am grateful to the Administration and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center for supporting this important initiative.”
“The Patrick-Murray Administration has made a concerted effort to prioritize the needs of our Gateway Cities,” said state Senator Eileen Donoghue. “I’m grateful for the emphasis they have placed on education in Gateway Cities, and I’m confident that this funding will go a long way for Nashoba Valley Technical High School.”
“Our investments in the Life Sciences have been vital to the Massachusetts economy and the growth of new companies and technology in our state," state Senator Harriette Chandler. "I applaud the Patrick-Murray Administration for continuing to move forward with these important grants to these educational institutions."
"Thanks to the dedication of the Patrick-Murray Administration and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, our Vocational-Technical schools are leading the way in preparing our students to reignite the precision manufacturing industry in Massachusetts,” said state Senator Gale Candaras. “Precision manufacturers across the state have stressed the need for more machinists in the next five years, and this funding will ensure that our students can fill these positions, which offer fair pay and benefits."
“I am so pleased once again with the results of the state's strong partnership with the Gateway Cities," said state Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier. "Today we are coming together to support the important life science training offered at Taconic High School. I appreciate the leadership that Department Chair Kristen Pearson has demonstrated in finding a way to provide the practical tools that are so crucial in preparing our students for career opportunities in STEM fields.”
“Representing two Gateway Cities, I am thrilled about this announcement and thankful to Governor Patrick for his steadfast commitment to provide all students across the Commonwealth an equal opportunity to learn,” said state Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein. “These resources are critical in assisting disadvantaged children and their families overcome difficulties to gain a good education and lead successful lives.”
About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked with implementing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act, a 10-year, $1-billion initiative that was signed into law in June of 2008. The MLSC’s mission is to create jobs in the life sciences and support vital scientific research that will improve the human condition. This work includes making financial investments in public and private institutions that are advancing life sciences research, development and commercialization as well as building ties among sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.