For Immediate Release - June 23, 2016

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Nearly $500,000 Grant for Madison Park Vocational Technical High School

Grant will purchase training equipment for culinary arts program to build strong employment pipelines

BOSTON, MA, JUNE 23, 2016 – The Baker-Polito administration today awarded Madison Park Technical Vocational High School $451,000 in a workforce skills equipment grant, which will allow the school to purchase commercial-grade restaurant equipment, refrigeration units, and a specialty food truck to use as a training venue for students in the culinary arts program.

“We are proud to make these investments that bolster the ability of vocational-technical institutions to provide the skills for more individuals to be competitive and successful in the workplace and growing industries throughout the Commonwealth” Governor Charlie Baker said. “Preparing the next generation of workers and helping employers meet their needs for skilled labor will help ensure Massachusetts’ continued economic growth and progress.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity that will give our culinary arts students at Madison Park access to service, technical, and management skills that will prepare them for career and entrepreneurial experiences,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “I thank the Baker-Polito Administration for their shared commitment to increasing opportunities for our young people.” 

The grant to Madison Park is in addition to the first round of the Baker-Polito Administration’s $9.3 million in Workforce Skills Capital Grants previously awarded to 35 high schools, community colleges, and training providers for vocational-technical equipment purchases aimed at connecting Massachusetts students and residents to economic opportunities in high-demand industries.

“Since announcing the first round of awardees in February, I have traveled around the state to visit vocational and technical schools which are making capital equipment upgrades to benefit their students,” Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said. “We feel these investments will be critical to filling the gaps between education and the skills residents need to launch successful careers.”

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.

“Governor Baker and the Workforce Skills Cabinet have been focused on technical schools which can provide the skill sets necessary for young people and residents of Massachusetts,” Secretary Ronald L. Walker, II said. “This grant to Madison Park will position the school to have the capital resources it needs to provide further training and skill-building to students in an economic sector that is one of the fastest growing in the Commonwealth.” 

“The training equipment this grant will provide to Madison Park, including refrigeration and a state-of-the-art food truck, will deliver hands-on training in a real-life work setting that will open up avenues for both employment and entrepreneurship,” Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash said. "We are thankful for the partnership and momentum Mayor Walsh and Superintendent Chang provided to make this a reality.”

“It’s investments like the Workforce Skills Capital Grants which will help our students get access to the latest tools and technology used in the 21st century workforce,” said Education Secretary Jim Peyser. “We are pleased that we have already started to see the positive impact these grants have had on dozens of high schools, community colleges, and training providers across the Commonwealth.”  

“This investment will go a long way towards our work in providing students pathways to college and career success,” said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang. “Access to quality equipment and a specialty food truck will truly help our students to gain the skills they need to thrive in the culinary arts industry. Thank you, Governor Baker, for your continued support.”

“The culinary field is ever-changing, growing, and evolving. A hot and growing part of the industry that many students overlook when thinking of their career/business choice is the food truck. The food truck scene is growing in Boston,” said Aquila Kentish, sous chef/manager of Jamaica Mi Hungry and recent alumni of Madison Park.  “Having students get the experience of running a food truck – understanding the equipment, preparing menus, costing out food, operating expenses, and ensuring that service runs smoothly – will help prepare them to not only go out into the culinary field with entry level skills, but have a solid management foundation that will allow them to go for more lucrative opportunities.” 

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.