FRAMINGHAM — MassBay Community College’s new $58 million learning center that’s being built on Franklin Street has received a boost from the federal government.
A $2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration will go toward buying the latest equipment for the college’s new Simulation Center in its Health Sciences, Early Childhood and Human Services center that’s under construction at 490 Franklin St. The grant is a portion of Massachusetts’ allotment from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan, designed to support infrastructure and workforce development projects.
Earlier:MassBay breaks ground on new $54.5M health sciences building in Framingham
“We need the newest, the best, the most sophisticated technology for the students to train on and the EDA is giving us $2 million to make that happen,” said MassBay President David Podell.
MassBay Community College offers more than 70 programs, both remote and in person, including for associate degrees in cybersecurity, automotive technology and early childhood education, and certificate programs in everything from web design to interior design. It also has pre-college programs for high school students to earn college credits.
MassBay’s main campus is in Wellesley Hills, with the Division of Health and Sciences located on Flagg Drive in Framingham. MassBay also has an automotive technology learning center on Eliot Street in Ashland.
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“In our proposal, we had to explain how this would be transformative for the community of Framingham and surrounding areas and, most importantly, the role of this center in addressing workforce needs,” Podell said, adding that receiving the grant would seem to be a vote of confidence for the work MassBay is doing.
The facility, which when completed will total nearly 70,000 square feet, will be home to degree programs for training nurses, emergency medical technicians and early childhood educators, among other offerings.
The new building is slated to open in early 2024, after construction was delayed by the pandemic; the original plan was to open by fall 2023. Also, the project’s anticipated cost has risen since workers broke ground last September at the 8.3-acre site previously owned by Perini Corp., from $54.5 million to $58 million.
“I’m thrilled about the EDA’s investments in the Commonwealth, which will support training a new generation of students for well-paying jobs at Massachusetts Bay Community College,” said U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in a statement. “I’m grateful for local, state and federal partners who have fought for these American Rescue Plan investments in our communities.”
Podell said he’s grateful for the support from elected officials in the state and beyond to make the new health sciences center possible.
“Community college is really the economic engine for our commonwealth because it’s coming out of community college that leads to great jobs — well-paying, in-demand jobs. And we’re very focused on addressing the workforce needs of the state,” he said.
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The federal grant will provide students with the equipment and resources they’ll be using when they enter the workforce, Podell said, adding that MassBay prioritizes closing gaps in access to training and, by extension, jobs.
The pandemic has strained the health care industry so the need for more training opportunities is critical. People with the training to fill critical jobs like health aides and nurses are in high demand, but short supply.
“All of these careers are in demand and pay good salaries,” Podell said. “It will be transformative for the lives of the students who come through the center.”