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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Baker-Polito Administration Launches Advanced Manufacturing Education Program for Adult Students at Vocational High Schools

Baker-Polito Administration Launches Advanced Manufacturing Education Program for Adult Students at Vocational High Schools
Adults taking evening classes at vocational and technical high schools will be eligible for financial aid

EASTON – Today at Southeastern Vocational Technical High School, Governor Charlie Baker announced a new program for Massachusetts residents interested in careers in advanced manufacturing to take classes at local vocational high schools and be eligible for state and federal financial aid to pay for their training.  

Adults who complete the manufacturing training at one of ten participating vocational high schools will then be eligible for college credit when enrolling at partnering colleges and universities. The certificate they earn during evening classes at the high schools will be worth a specific number of college credits that can be applied toward an associates’ degree. 

The Baker-Polito Administration developed the Advanced Manufacturing Certificate Program as a way to give adults who want to learn new skills in advanced manufacturing an opportunity to enroll in a program with a flexible timetable that would be eligible for financial aid.  Adult students will be eligible for federal Pell grants, state MassGrants, and other scholarships. 

A planning team, made up of vocational school, public and private higher education officials and workforce and industry partners, will work on curriculum, align credential agreements, and develop internships and hiring opportunities.  

“The program provides another opportunity for students to pursue an affordable education in advanced manufacturing to learn a skill set and find a good paying job in this growing industry,” said Governor Baker.  “This unique program leverages state and federal resources and offers much needed flexibility to give people better career options and a path toward a college degree.”    

“Across the Commonwealth there are many adults who are interested in careers in advanced manufacturing, and employers who are looking to hire them, but many people do not have the opportunity for training that is affordable. This new program will make jobs in advanced manufacturing a reality for hundreds of residents this year by opening the door to financial aid, ” Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said. 

“This program will make vocational education more readily accessible to adults and also provides a more affordable path to college for those looking to continue their education by awarding college credit for the vocational certificate,” Education Secretary James Peyser said.  

Students will earn a certificate in advanced manufacturing once they complete three different modules, each consisting of 300 hours of class time. The program is designed to be flexible so adult learners, who are most likely working full-time jobs and raising families, can complete the three course modules at their own pace. The goal is to provide students with a “stackable” credential and an affordable path to continue their education, while also helping to meet the growing workforce needs of the manufacturing industry in Massachusetts.

In developing the new program, the Administration partnered with 10 vocational high schools as well as several local community colleges to develop the vocational certificate that will be eligible for college credit, and to build a pre-apprenticeship strategy in advanced manufacturing.

The high schools include: 
  • Assabet Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School in Marlborough 
  • Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical High School in Taunton 
  • Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Fall River
  • Essex Agricultural and Technical High School in Danvers
  • Greater Lawrence Technical High School in Andover
  • Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School in New Bedford
  • Minuteman Regional Technical Vocational High School in Lexington 
  • Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford
  • Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School in Easton
  • Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in Haverhill
The Baker-Polito administration also worked with Northeastern University to help develop the program. Northeastern recently introduced a new bachelor’s degree in advanced manufacturing in partnership with General Electric. To create new pathways into advanced manufacturing, the same program will also be available for public enrollment at Springfield Tech starting in January 2018. 

“Northeastern University is committed to lifelong learning and to supporting adult learners looking to advance their careers,” said Kemi Jona, associate dean and director of the Lowell Institute School at Northeastern. “We are excited about our partnerships and look forward to expanding opportunities to support advanced manufacturing pathways for employers and learners statewide.”

Students will enroll in vocational classes in September, with expected enrollment in the first year to be between 200 to 300 students. 

While the first year of the program will be focused on advanced manufacturing, state and local education officials plan to eventually expand the strategy into other fields, such as HVAC, auto technicians, and electrical professions.