The goal of the Skills Capital Grants is to help high schools, colleges, and other workforce training organizations invest in the most up-to-date equipment to give their students an advantage when they continue in their chosen field or area of study.
The Baker-Polito Administration announced the awarding of $12 million to 45 high schools, colleges and educational institutions that will use the grant to acquire the newest technologies to educate students and expand career education opportunities.
Schools also can now apply for an additional round of Skills Capital Grants, totaling $15 million that will be awarded this fall.
The goal of the Skills Capital Grants, which range from $50,000 to $500,000, is to help high schools, colleges, and other workforce training organizations invest in the most up-to-date equipment to give their students an advantage when they continue in their chosen field or area of study. These grants cover a broad array of fields, from construction and engineering to healthcare and hospitality.
According to a press release issued by the Governor's Office, the program has awarded more than $65 million to 233 different programs over the past four years. Through Skills Capital Grants, schools have expanded their enrollment capacity in high-demand occupations, enabling more than 12,500 additional students to enroll in these educational programs that are a priority for employers across the Commonwealth. Four of the organizations awarded received Skills Capital Grants for the first time.
Several schools plan to use the grant to launch new career pathway programs, which give students knowledge and skills in a particular industry sector such as health science, information technology, environmental science, engineering or manufacturing. In an effort to close the skills gap in certain industries, the state launched Innovation Pathways, a program to encourage high schools to give students exposure and experience in fields that are rapidly growing in the Commonwealth.
Through Innovation Pathways, high school students take college-level courses in an area of study, receive technical instruction and work at internships with local employers who partner with high schools. The Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education and Higher Education work together to help schools design programs, which must follow certain principles to receive official designation.
Of particular note to the construction industry, the following schools and educational institutions received Skills Capital Grants in this round:
Barnstable High School — $250,000 Environmental Science &Technology Pathway. Students who participate in the Environmental Science and Technology Pathway will be able to gain industry credentials, including Waste Water Certificate/License and Drinking Water Operator. The grant will support the design and construction of a Water Quality Analysis Lab to conduct sampling techniques and analysis using industry specific equipment and demonstrate practices related to municipal waste and drinking water treatment.
Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School — $300,000 Welding Technology Automation. Many workers who possess welding skills are employed in the building and construction trades, as well as emerging wind energy sector. The grant will enable the school to enhance its technology with virtual welding simulators, vertical tilt bandsaws, press break, a hydraulic shear, and CNC Plasma Table.
Massasoit Community College — $250,000 Diesel Technology Program. New diesel engine equipment purchased with the grant will support the college's existing programs, as well as introduce a new Alternative Fuels and Emissions certificate to complement its associate degree program, giving students an option to earn an entry-level credential. In addition, the college has partnered with the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department to pilot a program to train soon-to-be-released inmates to become diesel technicians.
Somerville High School — $186,900 Welding and Metal Fabrication Technician. Somerville High School's Welding Simulation project will use cutting-edge welding technology to enhance the learning experience of students entering the workforce and adult learners looking to reenter the workforce with new skills. Lincoln VRTEX Welding Simulators will be integrated into Somerville High School's metal fabrication and welding program to teach students core welding techniques in a safe, controlled environment where they can work at a steady and personalized pace.
For more information, visit: www.mass.gov/upgrading-technology-with-skills-capital-grants.