Seed money helping technical schools flourish – Lowell Sun | #education | #technology | #training

Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School will soon receive a Career Technical Initiative grant to fund workforce training for the unemployed and underemployed.

The $599,970 award will allow the Fitchburg-based school to further provide adults with career training and placement in high-demand fields.

“This funding marks a huge step forward for both Monty Tech and the region,” state Sen. John Cronin, D-Lunenburg, said in a release. “The programs made possible through this grant will have a substantial impact on people’s lives and help those who are unemployed or underemployed learn the necessary skills to be competitive in today’s job market.”

The funding was made possible by the state Legislature’s $22 million allocation to CTI programs for regionally aligned, career-focused education. The goal is also to help provide funding for adult training, credentialing and placement services through partnerships with Workforce Boards and MassHire Career Centers.

Monty Tech will use this funding to support training and placement for adults pursuing welding, property maintenance, culinary arts, and electrical and computer numerical controlled operator positions.

Monty Tech’s grant partners include Wayne J. Griffin Electric, Interstate Electrical Services, Great Wolf Lodge, Belair Property Management, Fitchburg Welding Co., Tim’s Fabricators Inc. and L.S. Starrett Co.

The CTI grant program complements other state initiatives designed to accomplish similar workforce goals.

The Workforce Skills Cabinet, created by the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker in 2015, brought together the secretaries of Education, Labor and Workforce Development and Housing and Economic Development to form a strategy on how to meet employers’ demand for skilled workers.

From that came the formation of the Skills Capital Grant program, which helps high schools, colleges and other educational institutions invest in the most up-to-date training equipment to give their students and current workers enrolled in eligible schools and vocational programs an advantage when they continue in their chosen field or particular area of study. The Skills Capital Grants cover a broad array of fields, from construction and engineering to health care and hospitality.

To date, the Baker administration has awarded more than $102 million in Skills Capital Grants to 387 programs.

Several area regional technical high schools have benefitted from this program in fiscal 2022 alone.

1. Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, which serves Marlborough, Berlin, Hudson, Maynard, Northborough, Southborough and Westborough, received a $249,762 metal fabrication and welding grant. The school used those funds to upgrade and expand the program to support adults enrolling in the new Career Technical Initiative program to increase enrollment for high-school students.

2. Greater Lowell Technical High School, a district containing Lowell, Dracut, Tyngsborough and Dunstable, received a $200,000 metal fabrication and welding grant used to support its already robust array of night courses to help fill local industry sector jobs.

3. Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School, which includes Acton and Concord, received a $150,000 robotics and automation grant to expand access to the existing Robotics and Automation program.

4. Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School received a $150,000 dental assistant grant to equip each workstation with downdraft technology, which will aid in ventilation for students studying fabrication, impressions, and trim stone modeling.

5. Nashoba Valley Technical High School, which draws students from Ayer, Chelmsford, Groton, Littleton, Pepperell, Shirley, Townsend, and Westford, used its $250,000 plumbing and heating grant to modernize its equipment.

This additional funding pays for itself many times over by creating well-paying opportunities for individuals with the specialized skills required in the 21st-century economy.

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