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State Announces $9.3 Million in Workforce Skills Capital Grants

BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced $9.3 million in workforce skills equipment grants to 35 high schools, community colleges, and vocational training providers across the Commonwealth for vocational-technical education and training equipment purchases that connect Massachusetts students and residents to economic opportunities in high-demand industries.

“Workforce skills education and training plays an enormous role in economic and personal development by helping residents acquire the skills they need to connect with promising careers,” Baker said. “These vocational-technical education equipment grants will help build stronger communities and a more competitive business environment that ensures more residents have the skills they need to succeed in and support the Commonwealth’s economic future.”

Added Polito, “these workforce-development grants will build bridges between residents seeking careers to build a future on and the employers who need a skilled workforce to grow the state’s economy. Today, too many good-paying jobs are going unfilled because employers are struggling to find skilled employees. This investment in training equipment will enable high schools and community colleges across the Commonwealth to equip students with the skills they need to secure a bright future.”

The Workforce Skills Capital Grant Program is a new initiative of the Governor’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, which seeks to align education, workforce, and economic-development strategies across the state.

Western Mass. recipients of the new round of grants include:

• Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield, $465,119 to upgrade and modernize its manufacturing and engineering program, utilizing new hydraulics, pneumatics, electrical controls, materials testing, CNC, and 3-D printing equipment to train students and adult learners for careers in advanced manufacturing, engineering, and biotechnology;

• Dean Technical High School, Holyoke, $393,156 to transform its existing machine technology shop into an advanced-manufacturing shop that aligns with current industry practices and technologies, in order to connect Holyoke students to career opportunities in the Pioneer Valley’s skilled manufacturing workforce;

• Franklin County Technical School, Montague, $52,500 to revamp its computer programming and web-design programs and expand the programs’ capacity to reach adult learners;

• Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative, West Springfield, $257,100 to expand the capacity of its recently-founded high school Machine Technology Program, and to extend programming to adult learners, including unemployed and underemployed individuals facing barriers to employment;

• McCann Technical School, North Adams, $121,128 to revamp its welding and metal-fabrication equipment to train students for careers in Berkshire County’s aerospace, defense, commercial, medical-device, and power-generation industries, and enable re-training for unemployed workers;

• Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, Springfield, $441,500 to launch a new program to equip students with the skills to enter the construction workforce, including training with heavy equipment; and

• Springfield Technical Community College, $499,785 to enhance training in its Laser Electro-Optics and Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Technology programs by creating an advanced-laser-machining laboratory and a one-year Laser Materials Processing Certificate of Completion, in order to meet the needs of the Commonwealth’s rapidly growing laser-manufacturing industry.

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