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Thursday, October 20, 2022

Baker-Polito Administration Announces New STEM Tech Career Academies

 Baker-Polito Administration Announces New STEM Tech Career Academies


High schools, community colleges and employers will work together to create opportunities for students
 
BOSTON –– The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the creation of STEM Tech Career Academies, a new initiative designed to help more young people earn associate degrees and industry certificates in STEM fields. STEM Tech Career Academies will be new six-year programs that enable high school students to earn both a high school diploma and a post-secondary credential at a community college, at no cost to the students.
 
The administration has committed $6.5 million in multi-year grants to cover the costs of planning, implementation, and launch. High schools, community colleges and employers will work together to plan and launch four to six different STEM Tech Career Academies across the Commonwealth. The goal is to enroll between 1,600 and 2,000 students in the programs.
 
STEM Tech Career Academies combine and extend key elements of the highly successful Early College and early career Innovation Pathways programs that were launched several years ago, including technical curriculum, work-based learning experiences, post-secondary courses, and college and career coaching. The administration anticipates that by fall of 2023, more than 75 high schools will have students enrolled in Innovation Pathway programs and 65 high schools will have Early College programs, which can serve as starting points for STEM Tech Career Academies.   
 
The initiative is modeled after P-Tech, a grades 9-14 school model where students earn a high school diploma, an industry-recognized associate degree and gain relevant work experience in a growing field. Students completing a P-Tech program are typically provided with hiring preferences by participating employers.
 
“STEM Tech Career Academies can accomplish several education goals – more high school students enrolling in early college and career pathways, more students earning degrees and credentials and more young people with skills and knowledge in STEM fields to serve them and employers well as they enter the STEM workforce,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This new initiative will build off the success of our administration’s Early College and Innovation Pathway programs to create more intentional links between high schools, community colleges and employers.”  
 
“Across the Commonwealth, we have many STEM jobs that are going unfilled because companies cannot find qualified applicants for careers that require associate degrees and credentials, such as biotechnicians, data analysts, cyber security specialists, health care occupations and many more,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “This new initiative will make it easier for students who start on a college or career pathway to continue on that course and go on to earn degrees or credentials, and eventually land a well-paying job in a STEM field.”
 
STEM Tech Career Academies are an initiative of the Governor’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, which connects the work of three Secretariats - the Executive Office of Education, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development - and seeks to align education, workforce, and economic development strategies across the state. The announcement was made during the 5th annual Massachusetts STEM Week, a week-long celebration highlighting the importance of STEM education in the Commonwealth.
 
“The challenge of getting more people to enroll and earn an associate degree or credentials has existed for many years. We hope the STEM Tech Career Academies will be a way to smooth the transition from high school to college and give more young people added support,” said Education Secretary James Peyser. “The STEM Tech Career Academies will create cohorts of students that move from high school to higher education, which has proven to give students more opportunities for academic success and better outcomes in persisting until they graduate from college.” 
 
The new initiative also aims to address equity and opportunity gaps in STEM industries. Women and minority groups continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields in Massachusetts and across the country. Outside of healthcare, there are roughly three men to every woman in STEM jobs like computer science, mathematics, engineering, and 2020 data estimated that just 27 percent of STEM workers are non-white. In Massachusetts, just 5 percent of the STEM workforce is Black, and just 6 percent Hispanic.
 
"As we strive toward equity in our workforce, the STEM Tech Career Academies will provide access and opportunity to those traditionally underserved in this high-demand sector," said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. "This initiative will have profound impact on both high school students and their future employers as we work together on creating a stronger economy for all."
 
The need for STEM graduates particularly impacts Massachusetts because growth in these jobs will outpace average job growth and is projected to account for 40 percent of total employment increases in Massachusetts. According to 2018-2028 Massachusetts job growth projections, STEM occupations will grow at 7.2 percent versus 3 percent across all occupations.
 
"This is an exciting initiative aimed at providing young people with the education and skills they need to enter our workforce," said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. "At a time when the demand for skilled labor is high, the Baker-Polito Administration is taking action to build career pathways that can support Massachusetts' long-term economic competitiveness."

To watch the webinar with more information about this new program, click here and enter 8rK0.*Q1 as the passcode.

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