BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced $9.7 million in grants from the Skills Capital Grant Program to 47 educational organizations across the Commonwealth to update equipment and expand student enrollment in programs that provide career education. The latest awards mark $102 million in total funding provided to high schools, colleges, and other educational organizations since the program’s inception in 2015.
The Skills Capital Grant Program was originally launched in 2015 with the goal of replacing outdated equipment and technology, mainly at vocational technical high schools and community colleges.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 Commonwealth 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,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “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.”
About two-thirds of the investments made with the grants are directly aligned to reduce skills gaps in high-priority industry sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, IT, and skilled trades. About 5% of the funding has been invested in multi-year strategic projects in manufacturing, healthcare, and energy training programs which are projected to have significant regional impact.
Among the most recent awards in Western Mass. are:
• Agawam High School: $58,188 to expand existing early-career programs in manufacturing and information technology.
• Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield: $400,000 to establish the Berkshire Culinary Institute to support the college’s redesigned culinary and hospitality program. The former cafeteria will be repurposed into a modern teaching and learning space to give students experience in the culinary, hospitality, and food-service industries.
• Greenfield Community College: $450,000 to upgrade its clinical patient-simulation lab for both its department of Nursing and Emergency Medical Services program, replacing outdated low- and high-fidelity patient simulators and components.
• McCann Technical School, North Adams: $96,430 to purchase welding and robotics equipment to support students in the metal-fabrication program, as well as learners in evening adult training programs.
• Monument Mountain Regional High School, Great Barrington: $75,000 to provide students in the manufacturing Innovation Pathway with opportunities for hands-on instruction with several multi-material 3D printers, laser cutters, a welding simulator, and an automation simulator through the Project Lead the Way project-based learning curriculum.
• Quaboag Regional High School, Warren: $75,000 to purchase EKG machines, blood-pressure and phlebotomy training arms, testing/diagnostic machines, CPR manikins with feedback devices, as well as Project Lead the Way equipment for the biomedical sciences.
• Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, Northampton: $234,000 to modernize the automotive-technology and collision-repair programs to prepare students as electric vehicle technology becomes more widespread.
• Taconic High School, Pittsfield: $171,615 to launch a new Information Support Services and Networking program to meet local workforce demand. New equipment will outfit two new IT computer labs that will provide a learning resource for students to become certified in COMP A++ and Cisco Networking Assistant.