For Immediate Release - May 03, 2013

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MURRAY VISITS ALL VOCATIONAL-TECHNICAL SCHOOLS AND PROGRAMS IN MASSACHUSETTS

BOSTON – Friday, May 3, 2013 – Following through on his commitment to visit all 64 vocational-technical education programs in Massachusetts, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today visited the 64th and final program with a tour of Taunton High School’s vocational-technical programs.  During his visit, Lieutenant Governor Murray also announced the month of May as “Massachusetts Vocational Career and Technical Education Month.”

There are currently more than 44,000 students in 64 vocational technical schools and programs across the Commonwealth.  These schools offer hands-on learning in a number of innovative educational programs to support a range of career fields, especially growing sectors including advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and information technology. Many regional school districts and programs also partner with area businesses and community colleges to prepare the next generation of skilled workers.

“Vocational-technical education is a recipe for academic and career success,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “Early in my first term as lieutenant governor, I committed to visit the 64 vocational schools and programs across Massachusetts.  Throughout these visits, I am always impressed by the high caliber of students, teachers, and administrators and the school’s curriculum inside and outside the classroom.”

As Chair of the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Advisory Council, Lieutenant Governor Murray often promotes STEM education, the high quality instruction, and valuable job training skills offered for students through vocational-technical schools and programs.

Lieutenant Governor Murray further stated, “I have seen first-hand the skills our students continue to gain as well as the demands our future workforce requires. With the skills gap widening across the country, Massachusetts’ vocational-technical programs are providing students with essential and valuable workforce training.”

During school visits from March to early April of 2013, Lieutenant Governor Murray promoted the Patrick-Murray Administration’s New Equipment Grant Program. The program incentivizes the development of vocational programs across the state, providing one-time start-up costs to allow vocational schools to purchase equipment to enhance vocational training programs. Over the next five years, at least $5 million in grant funding will be available for this program ($1 million annually).  During the first round of the program, the Administration received 165 applications representing 100 percent of all regional vocational school districts and 82 percent of the state’s Chapter 74 programs. Grant applications are currently under review by the Executive Office of Administration and Finance and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical School, a school Lieutenant Governor Murray visited in September of 2012, was recently highlighted by NBC’s “TODAY” show for the skills students learn to prepare for and compete in the 21st century economy. Pathfinder was also among 10 programs to receive funding through the state’s new AMP It Up Program, an initiative with MassDevelopment to partner with innovative programs to promote advanced manufacturing as an attractive career path for students.

“I am both excited and impressed that the political attention and economic factors have come together in a useful and public way to support the importance of manufacturing in this part of the state, including the growth of jobs and the role of vocational education to fill those jobs,” said Dr. Gerald Paist, Superintendent of Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical School in Palmer. “Lieutenant Governor Murray’s visit really energized our students in the machine and robotics shops, both of which are critical to the state’s advanced manufacturing sector.”

“The Lt. Governor has championed the Commonwealth’s vocational technical education system, recognizing the system’s vital role in workforce and economic development as well as its documented success as STEM institutions,” said David Ferreira, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators. “He has witnessed firsthand the achievement of students in vocational technical education and advocates for the resources to insure the continued impact on our innovation economy. The partnerships between business and industry and vocational technical education provide our communities with career ready and academically prepared citizens.”

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. In 2011, 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 has increased the focus on successful vocational-technical education, expanded partnerships between educators and employers, and increased collaboration among state agencies with the goal of expanding the use of vocational-technical schools. On average these schools demonstrate higher graduation and lower dropout rates in comparison to overall high school rates statewide. 

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