Haverhill Promise, the city’s, Campaign for Grade Level Reading, received a $20,000 grant as part of a celebration related to Wednesday’s groundbreaking of Edwards Vacuum’s new manufacturing center.
Edwards Vacuum, in collaboration with Marwick Associates, Equity Industrial Partners and Dacon, ceremoniously broke ground on the new 135,000 square-foot innovation center within Broadway Industrial Park. To mark the event, the development group partnered with Haverhill Promise to help pay for the city’s first STEM literacy program. Beginning next summer, children ages 5-10 will experience 30 events in which they are fed lunch, conduct a science experiment and are given a relevant book to take home.
“Research shows us that if children are not proficient readers by grade three, it can have devastating effects not only in their ability to succeed in school, but also life-long earning potential and overall health and well-being. Our goal is to change that trajectory,” explained Haverhill Promise Program Director Jenny Arndt.
During the school year, children serviced by food pantries and after-school programs will receive book bags with STEM-related experiments to build at home. A total of 850 children will be touched by the program, with the end goal of every child having their own at-home library.
Specializing in technical products that utilize cryogenics for semiconductor manufacturing, chemical, life science, solar and research and development sectors, Edwards is currently hiring 110 employees from mechanical assemblers to engineers and scientists. The architectural design for environmentally sensitive building is centered on four functional domains of manufacturing, labs, executive offices and warehousing. The building is expected to open in the summer of 2022.
An Edwards official cited Haverhill’s unique attributes as reasons to locate in the city.
“Haverhill is an optimal choice for several reasons. Whereas most businesses tend to focus on ROI, Edwards focuses on cultural and human attributes. Haverhill offers diversity in both talent and culture with a strong sense of community,” said General Manager Debbora Ahlgren.
Ahlgren also noted Haverhill Promise is “one of the few, if not only, STEM literacy programs in the state.” She said she hopes it will become the model for other communities.