2 Fall River schools awarded total of $140K from Massachusetts’ Skills Capital Grant Program | #education | #technology | #training


Two Fall River schools were among 47 educational organizations that recently received grants from the state to update equipment and expand student enrollment in programs that provide career education. 

This week, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded $9.7 million in grants from the Skills Capital Grant Program. Atlantis Charter School and Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School received $75,000 and $55,938, respectively.

The Skills Capital Grant Program launched in 2015 with the goal of replacing outdated equipment and technology, mainly at vocational technical high schools and community colleges.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 state have directly benefited 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 Gov. 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. Gov. 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.” 

The $75,000 grant awarded to Fall River’s Atlantis Charter School will support the school’s manufacturing early career program by providing students with substantial resources to improve their workforce training. The money will enable the school to leverage matching grant opportunities from philanthropic donors, local businesses and higher education institutions.

Diman Regional Voc-Tech will utilize its $55,938 grant to 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 and 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. 

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%, 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% of the funds have been awarded to traditional high schools and vocational technical schools, 24% going to colleges, and another 8% 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.

Other local schools to receive awards include:

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.            

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 



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