For Immediate Release - April 26, 2012

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MURRAY ANNOUNCES $5 MILLION FOR VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS GRANT PROGRAM

BOSTON – Friday, April 27, 2012 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today announced that the Patrick-Murray Administration is committing to include $1 million in funding per year for the next five years in the Commonwealth’s Capital Plan for grant program to help vocational schools purchase modern laboratory and shop equipment. There are currently more than 44,000 students in 60 vocational technical schools across the Commonwealth and this funding will help provide these students access to state of the art equipment that will prepare them for learning in higher education and the workforce beyond.  

“As we prepare the next generation of leaders in Massachusetts, our vocational-technical school model expands a student's education and career opportunities,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “With this proposed funding, Massachusetts will enhance students' learning in our vocational schools, and further engage and motivate students to learn in and outside of the classroom.”

Lieutenant Governor Murray recently highlighted the initiative at the 26th annual Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) and the Massachusetts Vocational Association (MVA) Awards Banquet honoring 51 outstanding vocational technical students from across the Commonwealth.

The Fiscal Year 2012 Capital Plan included $1 million for the grant program, which will be administered by the Executive Office of Education. With this announcement, the Patrick-Murray Administration is committing to continue this level of investment through FY 2017. The Administration will continue to work with the Legislature to seek the necessary bond authorization to further these initiatives.

“Our vocational technical schools are achieving great success with students and these additional resources will help us expand those positive results to reach even more young people across the Commonwealth,” said Education Secretary Paul Reville. 

“We are pleased about the collaboration that brings together vocational technical students with the state’s apprenticeship programs offering a critical step in an individual’s career path,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Joanne F. Goldstein. “A collaboration like this one is helpful to employers and to our workforce as the training leads to excellent jobs in growing sectors.”

“One of our best resources here in Massachusetts is our strong pool of talent and this funding will further our goals to creating a strong workforce, particularly for middle-skill employers,” said Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development. “This funding will help vocational schools throughout the state help prepare students better than ever for their careers.”

Vocational Technical education programs have been an important component of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s efforts to close achievement gaps through promoting innovative learning strategies. Last year, Lieutenant Governor Murray announced a new leadership model to help advance and expand access to vocational technical education programs across Massachusetts. This new leadership model will increase the focus on successful vocation technical education and expand partnerships between educators and employers and increase collaboration among state agencies with the goal of expanding the use of vocational technical schools, which on average demonstrate higher graduation and lower dropout rates compared to overall high school rates statewide.  

“The Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators was excited to learn of the potential funding of $5 million over the next five years for equipment in the Commonwealth’s vocational technical schools,” said David Ferreira, Executive Director of MAVA. “With the continually changing technology, it is imperative that equipment be upgraded to meet the training needs of business and industry in high demand occupations. With the additional funding, graduates of the state’s vocational technical schools will be prepared to enter the labor market trained with state-of-the-art technical skills and be capable of growing the Massachusetts economy.”

Recently, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education hired an Associate Commissioner for Vocational, Workforce and College Readiness Programs to head this work. The Associate Commissioner, Patricia Gregson, is working to cultivate relationships across Education, Labor and Workforce Development and Housing and Economic Development as well as build strategic partnerships throughout the community college system and with private sector leaders who understand the importance of vocational technical education to their businesses and the Massachusetts economy. 

Additionally, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s Division of Apprentice Training, in collaboration with MAVA, has created statewide Apprentice Articulations in Sheet Metal, Carpentry and Construction Craft Laborers. These agreements, formed between vocational technical schools and apprenticeship programs in the three trades, allow vocational technical students to receive apprenticeship cards upon graduation, promoting a seamless transition between registered apprenticeship programs and eligible graduates of state-approved Vocational High Schools. Apprenticeship cards are now available to graduates of the Class of 2012. 

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