Baker-Polito Administration Hits Milestone of Awarding More Than $100 Million in Skills Capital Grants to High Schools, Colleges and Educational Institutions
The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $9.7 million in grants from the Skills Capital Grant Program to 47 educational organizations across the Commonwealth to update equipment and expand student enrollment in programs that provide career education. The awards announced today mark $102 million in total funding provided to high schools, colleges and other educational organizations since the program’s inception in 2015.
Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta and Education Secretary James Peyser visited Peabody Veterans Memorial High School to announce the awards and to tour the high school’s electrical engineering and culinary arts classrooms, which received a $175,000 award last year.
The Skills Capital Grant Program was originally launched in 2015 with the goal of replacing outdated equipment and technology, mainly at vocational technical high schools and community colleges. Since then, the program has evolved into a crucial component of local workforce training efforts by expanding the number of young people and adults trained and experienced with the newest technologies used by local employers. Approximately 40,000 students across the Commonwealth have directly benefitted from these grants.
“The Skills Capital Grants have helped give thousands of young people opportunities in high-demand jobs, and the grants have had a tremendous impact on students, schools and local businesses,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These significant investments made over the past six years in this program with our partners in the Legislature will help train students to adapt to the changing needs of our economy.”
“Massachusetts, like the rest of the country, will face workforce challenges in the next few years, but we are poised to handle them better because of programs like the Skills Capital Grants,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The grants enable schools, colleges and other educational institutions to revamp how students learn and gain crucial experience that serves them and employers well.”
Since 2015, 387 grants totaling more than $102 million have been awarded to 187 different schools and educational institutions across the Commonwealth, with many organizations receiving multiple grants over the years. The state’s investment also helped institutions leverage the grants to gain an additional $25 million in local matching funds.
The competitive grants are awarded to educational institutions that demonstrate partnerships with local businesses, as well as align curriculum and credentials with industry demand to maximize hiring opportunities in each region of the state. The 2018 Economic Development Bill, filed by the Governor and passed by the Legislature, established an additional $75 million in Skills Capital Grant funding over five years.
About two-thirds of the investments made with the grants are directly aligned to reduce skills gaps in high priority industry sectors, including health care, manufacturing, IT and skilled trades. A percentage of the funding, about 5 percent, has been invested in multi-year strategic projects in manufacturing, healthcare and energy training programs which are projected to have significant regional impact.
“As we continue to address economic disparities across the Commonwealth and provide solutions to employment gaps in high-demand industries, the Skills Capital Grants play a significant role in training students of all ages for successful long-lasting careers,” said Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. “The impact of these grant funds on students, educational institutions, and local business partners is incredibly positive and moves us toward a more equitable economy.”
Approximately 68 percent of the funds have been awarded to traditional high schools and vocational technical schools, 24 percent going to colleges, and another 8 percent to community-based organizations. A focus of the more recent grant awards has been the launch and expansion of the Governor’s Career Technical Initiative, which supports vocational-technical schools in expanding their impact by operating programs in the afternoons for local high school students and in the evenings for workers and adult learners.
“These unprecedented and sustained investments to expand training capacity in high-demand industries, and upgrades to the quality of equipment, ensure that our students – both young people and adults – graduate with knowledge and skills that are of immediate value to them as they launch careers and to employers who need skilled workers in today’s rapidly changing economy,” said Education Secretary James Peyser.
“Training a skilled workforce is critical to the Commonwealth’s economic recovery, and the Skills Capital Grants have been a vital component of our efforts to strengthen the talent pipelines for key industries,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “As we continue emerging from the economic damage inflicted by the pandemic, funding this program at this milestone level will significantly increase access to employment opportunities in every region of Massachusetts and accelerate progress toward recovery.”
In January 2020, the Administration began awarding larger multi-year grants, allowing educational institutions to apply for either one or two years of funding. In this round of grants, Massachusetts Bay Community College received a two-year grant totaling $750,000 to purchase new equipment to support students in the nursing and allied health programs. Entities which receive two-year awards require a local matching contribution of $1 to every $3 of state funding.
The Skills Capital Grants are awarded by Governor Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, which was created in 2015 to bring together the Secretariats of Education, Labor and Workforce Development, and Housing and Economic Development to align education, economic development, and workforce policies in order to strategize around how to meet employers’ demand for skilled workers in every region of the Commonwealth.
The following organizations received awards in this round:
Agawam High School, Agawam – $58,188, Manufacturing & Information Technology: The school will use the grant to expand its existing early career programs in manufacturing and information technology.
Atlantis Charter School, Fall River – $75,000, Manufacturing Innovation Pathway: The grant will support the school’s manufacturing early career program by providing students with substantial resources to improve their workforce training. The grant will enable the school to leverage matching grant opportunities from philanthropic donors, local businesses, and higher education institutions.
Attleboro High School, Attleboro – $180,00, Metal fabrication: Attleboro High School will purchase programmable welding robots used by industry partners to provide students experience on the most up-to-date equipment used by employers. The school also plans to launch new adult/evening training programs to meet demand for training.
Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School, Charlton – $250,000, Veterinarian Tech: The school will renovate the veterinary hospital where students train and work alongside veterinary professionals in the fully operational veterinary hospital. The school will eventually offer afterschool and evening programs to adult learners to earn a veterinary assisting certification. Bay Path will partner with Second Chance Animal Services, an organization that provides care to animals.
Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT), Boston – $151,468, Electrical Technology: BFIT’s Engineering Technology program will prepare students for a wide-range of jobs in the technology sector, including robotic assembly technicians, test technicians, automation technicians, solar technicians, solar installation technicians, wind technicians, mechanical technicians, machine tool technicians, and manufacturing technicians. The school will offer stackable certificates and associate degrees in engineering technology.
Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield – $400,000, Culinary and Hospitality: The college will establish the Berkshire Culinary Institute (BCI) to support its redesigned culinary and hospitality program. The former cafeteria will be repurposed into a modern teaching and learning space to give students experience in culinary, hospitality and the food service industries.
Blue Hills Regional Technical School, Canton – $200,000, Engineering Technology: The school will expand its engineering and drafting/CAD programs, and purchase new robotics equipment, a CNC mill, water cutter, and workstations with power. By improving the program, the school will help students meet increasing industry demand for skilled workers in the engineering profession.
Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater – $250,000, Information Technology and Security: The university plans to develop a cyber simulation center to expand course offerings in cyber-criminology, cybersecurity, and digital forensics to meet critical workforce needs. The university is collaborating with state, education, and industry leaders to create a Commonwealth Cybersecurity Consortium.
Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School, Taunton – $228,380, Community Health & Practical Nurse Program: The school will update instructional labs in the community health and practical nurse programs to provide students with hands on experience using modern patient simulation and industry standard equipment.
Cape Cod Community College, West Barnstable – $479,082, Nursing & Allied Health: The college is aiming to expand the nursing program by 50 percent by 2023-2024. With the grant, the college will purchase patient simulation manikins, accompanying AV media tools to capture and stream simulation data, IV infusion pumps, a medication management system, and four hospital beds with full set-up.
Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich – $275,000, Agriculture/Horticulture Program: The high school will purchase equipment to improve the horticulture program, specifically landscaping, groundskeeping and landscape construction. Instructors will be able to optimize the job readiness and employability of young horticulturists, arborists, and agricultural workers by accelerating their progress toward professional licensure and certifications. Cape Cod Regional Technical High School will purchase hydroponics and aquaponics systems equipment to allow new areas of instruction that aligns with economic and business development.
Catholic Charities South, Brockton – $84,127, Certified Nursing Assistant and Home Health Aide: Catholic Charities South (CCS) operates the Brockton certified nursing assistant and home health aide training program and the English Transcultural Center (ETC), which provides adult education programs and classes that include English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes, computer literacy training, and employment assistance and placement. The grant will help increase the adult education programs’ capacity, allowing additional training in day and evening hours, and strengthen the programs’ ability to drive students to Nursing Assistant and Home Health Aide credentials.
Central MA Center for Business & Enterprise, Whitinsville – $111,000, Welding and Metal Fabrication: Funding will support Central MA Center for Business & Enterprise to purchase additional AAR Welding Simulators to increase the learning capacity, and hands on applied learning experiences for adult workforce training and partnering high schools’ students enrolled in Innovation Pathways. The additional welders will support students to have increased hands-on instructional time to demonstrate mastery of additional skill sets required to obtain industry credentials desired by employer partners.
Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, Dighton – $214,000, Advanced Manufacturing: The high school will update equipment and technology in the Advanced Manufacturing program. The grant will expand training for students and adults in the community to meet workforce gaps in the manufacturing sector. The school will purchase CNC lathes, CNC milling machines, 3-D printers, a laser machine.
Diman Regional Vocational, Fall River – $55,938, Metal Fabrication & Joining Technologies Program: The school will train students and unemployed/underemployed adult learners in metal fabrication and joining technologies to meet the need for skilled welders and pipefitters. New VICON fabrication & ViSoft HVAC software equipment will be available during school hours to Diman students, and in the evening for adults in the Career Technical Institute program.
Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School, Hathorne – $121,000, Construction Trades: The school will expand career and technical education opportunities in the construction trades for students in both the day program, afterschool, and adult evening classes.
Fitchburg High School, Fitchburg – $71,762, Manufacturing Innovation Pathway: Students enrolled in the high school’s manufacturing Innovation Pathway program will gain experience in manufacturing, robotics, C.A.D./blueprint reading and engineering.
Gardner High School, Gardner – $75,000, Manufacturing Innovation Pathway: The high school will purchase a new CNC machine and milling and miter equipment to support students enrolled in the manufacturing Innovation Pathway programs in makerspace, technology & engineering, robotics, intro and advanced woodworking that align to the new MACWIC certification course at Gardner High School.
Greater Lawrence Technical School, Andover – $220,000, Advanced Manufacturing and Metal Fabrication: The high school will expand the advanced manufacturing shop and upgrade equipment in the metal fabrication and joining technologies lab. The new equipment will help expand the school’s Career Technical Institute by increasing the number of students enrolled in afternoon and evening programs.
Greenfield Community College, Greenfield – $450,000, Nursing and Emergency Medical Services (EMS): The college will upgrade its clinical patient simulation lab (SIMS Lab) for both its Department of Nursing and Emergency Medical Services Program, replacing outdated low- and hi-fidelity patient simulators and components.
Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston – $150,000, Creative Economy Technicians: The college will update the Creative Economy Technology labs with new equipment and technology, including 3D printers and scanners, laser cutters; downdraft tables, and related support equipment and air systems. The equipment will provide MassArt graduates the skills and training they need to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation in creative occupations related to robotics and animation, engineering technology, information services and networking sectors.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Buzzards Bay – $250,000, Renewable Energy and Advanced Manufacturing: Mass Maritime will create an Advanced Manufacturing and Design Makerspace which will modernize, upgrade, and renovate existing resources that support the Energy Systems Engineering (ESEN) undergraduate program. The Academy will partner with renewable energy companies including offshore wind organizations and secondary school partners to help build out and customize the program. The new makerspace lab will be used to support the Academy’s workforce development initiatives for underemployed adult learners and create pathways for the Academy’s K-12 programs aimed to inspire women and students of color to pursue STEM fields, and vocational and apprentice pathway programs.
Massasoit Community College, Brockton – $213,196, Allied Health: The college will purchase training equipment for its allied health programs to support students learning to become radiologic technicians, medical assistants, medical practice specialists, EMTs, paramedics, community EMS paramedics, EKG technicians, and phlebotomists.
MassBay Community College, Wellesley – $750,000, Nursing and Allied Health Pathways: The college will purchase new equipment to support students in the nursing and medical imagining pathways. Students will have the opportunity to continue to the practical nursing certificate and associate degree in nursing, and then proceed to a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Framingham State University. Students gain clinical training at one of the college’s 45 partnering health care organizations.
Mattapan/Greater Boston Technology Learning Center, Mattapan – $150,000, Computer Network Support Specialist: Mattapan Tech will purchase new technology equipment to continue providing free job training to young people and new immigrants in the most vulnerable communities. The program covers a broad range of computer and network fundamentals for IT careers, based on the latest technology and software development skills.
McCann Technical School, North Adams – $96,430, Metal Fabrication & Welding: Precision manufacturing in Berkshire County is a niche market focused on the aerospace, defense, commercial, medical device, plastics, and mold making markets. Critical to these industries is a workforce of well-trained welders, metal fabricators, and robotic welding technology programmers for both bridge and structural and pre-cast concrete fabrication. The high school will purchase welding and robotics equipment to support students in the metal fabrication program, as well as learners in evening adult training programs.
Medford Vocational Technical High School, Medford – $367,994, Construction and Craft Laborer: The high school will purchase heavy construction machinery to enhance its construction and craft laborer’s (CCL) program, as well as the Construction Academy which includes the carpentry and electrical programs.
Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, Fitchburg – $250,000, Welding/Metal Fabrication: Welding is one of the top three sectors in the central Massachusetts region facing a skills gap that must be addressed. The high school will purchase new welding/metal fabrication equipment to update the existing day program, which will also used by adults in the new evening Career Technical Institute program.
Monument Mountain Regional High School, Great Barrington – $75,000, Manufacturing Innovative Pathway: Students in the manufacturing Innovation Pathway will have opportunities for hands on instruction with several multi-material 3D printers, laser cutters, a welding simulator and automation simulator through Project Lead the Way (PLTW) project-based learning curriculum.
Mount Wachusett Community College, Gardner – $250,000, Dental Hygiene: The college will outfit its dental clinic with a modern sterilization center and upgrade the dental treatment rooms and radiographic equipment to industry standards. The dental clinic is housed within Community Health Connections in Fitchburg, which dental hygiene and assisting students provide patient care. Training provided to students will improve with state-of-the art sterilization and infection control procedures and processes that comply with CDC and OSHA guidelines and align with state licensing requirements.
Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School, Wakefield – $61,000, Allied Health Programs: The school will upgrade and modernize equipment in the health assisting and dental assisting programs, which serves more than 180 students.
Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School, Rochester – $250,000, Electronic Engineering Technology: The school will expand training capacity in the electronics engineering technology program for high school students, and those in adult education programs.
Peabody Public Schools, Peabody – $125,000, Medical Assisting: The school will purchase simulation-based training equipment for medical assistant students to gain hands-on practice and knowledge. The equipment will include patient simulators, electronic thermometers, spirometers, pediatric scales, diagnostic equipment, and vision and hearing screeners.
Quaboag Regional High School, Warren – $75,000, Healthcare Innovation Pathway: Students in the healthcare Innovation Pathway will gain skills for entry level health care positions and receive Certified Nursing Assistant and Certified Medical Assistant certifications. With the grant, the school will purchase EKG machines, blood pressure and phlebotomy training arms, testing/diagnostic machines, CPR manikins with feedback devices as well as Project Lead the Way equipment for the Biomedical Sciences.
Quincy High School, Quincy – $162,400, Carpentry Technology: The high school will enhance the carpentry technology curriculum to strengthen students’ critical carpentry skills. The carpentry program is supported by community partners, including Callahan Construction, City of Quincy Inspectional Services, and A.H. Campbell and Son, Inc. who will work in collaboration with the high school to ensure graduates find gainful internships, apprenticeships, employment opportunities, and/or post-secondary education upon graduation.
Quincy College, Quincy – $333,881, Pharmacy Technician and Medical Laboratory Technician: The college will purchase training equipment and new instructional technology for pharmacy technician and medical laboratory technicians, both occupations that are in demand in the region.
Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester – $231,522, Computer Systems Engineering Technology: The college will enhance its Systems Engineering Technology (CSET) Lab on its Worcester campus to allow more students to enter the fast-growing Information Technology industry as Computer User Support Technicians and Information Security Analysts. As part of their required experiential learning, CSET degree students work with local employers to troubleshoot computer networking infrastructures, manage common third-party applications, design data storage solutions and much more in a structured, paid work environment.
Salem High School, Salem -$116,000, Automotive Technology: Salem High School will modernize its automotive technology program to ensure students have the skills required by local employers. Equipment and technology purchased including modern brake, alignment, tire, and diagnostic training equipment will enable students to prepare for ASE industry standard certifications.
Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, Northampton- $234,000, Automotive Technology: The school will modernize the automotive technology and collision repair programs to prepare students as electric vehicle technology becomes more widespread. The ATECH Classroom Management system includes hands-on training aids in engine performance, electrical, emissions, hybrid, starting and charging brake, and restraint systems.
Somerville High School Somerville, MA – $268,000, Advanced Manufacturing: The high school will upgrade and build upon it advanced manufacturing program by adding industry-standard 3D printing/additive manufacturing equipment. Students working with this new equipment will have new opportunities for industry credentialing.
South Shore Regional Vocational Technical High School, Hanover – $256,000, Allied Health Technology: High school and adult students will gain knowledge and skills in health care to pursue careers as certified nurses’ assistants, licensed practical nurses, blood pathologists, and EKG technicians.
Southeastern Regional School District, South Easton – $380,000, HVAC and Electrical: The school will install new electrical and HVAC equipment to support high school students in the traditional day programs and others enrolled in the and Career Technical Initiative training program. Students will earn education and work experience hours toward apprenticeship and/or licensure, along with other industry-recognized credentials. Electrical students will also graduate as PLC technicians, allowing them to install, program, and repair programmable logic controller systems in a variety of industrial applications.
Swampscott High School, Swampscott – $74,250, Manufacturing Innovation Pathway: Swampscott High School is launching a newly state approved Innovation Pathway program in Advanced Manufacturing in the fall of 2021. Grant funds will help create a manufacturing and fabrication lab that includes hand tools and basic wood and metal working machinery as well as 3-D printers, replicators, a laser cutter and a CNC machine for exposure to more industry-standard manufacturing processes and support students in attaining MACWIC and OSHA certifications, and specific certifications in industry-standard software such as Solidworks.
Taconic High School, Pittsfield – $171,615, Information Support Services and Networking: The high school is launching a new Information Support Services and Networking Program (ISSN) to meet the local workforce demand. New equipment will outfit two new IT computer labs that will provide a learning resource for students to become certified in COMP A++ and Cisco Networking Assistant.
Tantasqua Regional Vocational High School, Fiskdale- $110,511, Culinary Arts and Hospitality: The school will retool the kitchen for the culinary program and student-run restaurant to match current industry standards and prepare students for cooperative education placements, as well as full-time employment in the region. Student’s enrolled in the programs earn their OSHA 10 cards, ServeSafe Alergen, Manager, and Alcohol, in addition to First Aid/CPR credentials.
Waltham High School, Waltham- $152,871, Health Assisting: The school will purchase industry-standard health care equipment including EKGs, Pulse Doppler and Vital Sign machines hospital grade furniture, training models, mobility equipment to support students enrolled in the newly launched Chapter 74 Healthcare Assistant Program to gain Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) industry recognized credential. The healthcare industry is identified as a priority sector in the Greater Boston Regional Blueprint.
Watertown High School, Watertown – $218,073, Medical Assisting: Watertown High School is launching a medical assisting program to meet workforce needs in Greater Boston for more healthcare professionals. New equipment will closely mirror that found in a doctor’s or hospital’s patient examination rooms, labs, and ancillary offices such as exam tables, cabinets, lab tables, centrifuges, microscopes, EKG machines, AED machines, patient simulation mannequins, phlebotomy arms, computers, and software.