Whittier Tech, Northern Essex Win Skills Grants From State Sale of General Electric HQ

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School. (Jay Saulnier photograph for WHAV News)

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School and Northern Essex Community College are among 45 institutions across the state sharing in $12 million to buy the latest technologies to educate students and expand career education opportunities.

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Labor Secretary Rosalin Acosta and other state officials made the announcement yesterday at Worcester Technical High School

“Skills Capital Grants were originally designed to help students in vocational programs learn about the most up-to-date equipment, however, it has since evolved to help a broader population of students be ready for our Commonwealth’s knowledge-based economy,” said Polito.

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School plans to use $409,225 in its Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration program. According to a statement, students will be prepared on residential, commercial and light commercial equipment to gain experience with gas heat, oil burner technologies, rooftop heating and cooling units, ice machines, refrigeration and freezer units, ductless high-efficiency heat pumps and air conditioning systems.

Northern Essex Community College will use $185,136 to launch a new program in Robotics and Automation Technology in collaboration with Greater Lawrence Technical School and Lawrence High School. The partnership supports adult workers as well as high school students enrolled in the engineering and Advanced Manufacturing vocational programs.

Schools can also now apply for an additional round of Skills Capital Grants, totaling $15 million, that will be awarded in the fall.

This round of Skills Capital Grants was paid through money the state received from the sale of General Electric’s headquarters. Last month, the administration also committed $86 million to expand MassHousing’s Workforce Housing Initiative using money from the GE sale.

With today’s announcement, the Baker-Polito Administration 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.

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