Gov. Charlie Baker also brought his cabinet to Lowell.
During a visit to the Merrimack Valley, Gov. Charlie Baker Friday awarded $11.8 million in Workforce Skills Capital Grants to 32 vocational schools, traditional public high schools and community colleges, including $500,000 each to Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School and Northern Essex Community College.
Whitter Vo-Tech will use the money to transform its current Machine and Tool program into an advanced manufacturing program to better support regional workforce needs. Northern Essex will work with Whittier to likewise launch a new advanced manufacturing program in Mechatronics. The college also plans a new culinary arts program with Endicott College.
“These investments have a major impact for the educational institutions training our workforce and the students who stand to benefit from enhanced skills and career paths,” said Baker. “Strengthening relationships between educational institutions and local industry as this program seeks to do is crucial to the success of our communities and Commonwealth as a whole.”
Baker made the announcement at Greater Lowell Technical High School, which also received $466,000 to create an Agile Digital Fabrication/Maker Space where high school and adult education students engage in technological experimentation, hardware development and idea prototyping.
Besides Northern Essex, Whittier also plans to partner with the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium for evening adult programs. With Endicott, Northern Essex also plans to offer a hospitality and culinary arts career pathway.
The Workforce Skills Capital Grants program was created by the Baker-Polito Administration last year to assist educational institutions in demonstrating partnerships with industry and aligning curriculum and credentials with local businesses’ demand, creating job and internship opportunities regionally.
“We are pleased these investments are already benefitting students and adult learners across our Commonwealth,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. “The training students receive on the most up-to-date equipment purchased with these grants makes all the difference to them when they go into the workplace.”
To date, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded more than $24 million in Workforce Skills Capital Grants to 63 different institutions, improving programs that impact more than 7,100 students per year. The economic development bill signed by Governor Baker last year includes $45 million for the awards over the next three years to increase the capacity and quality of vocational educational programs.