Local, State, Federal Elected Officials Take Part in Whittier Tech Tour; Hear Pitch for Aid

State Sen. Barry R. Finegold, right, chats with Dental Instructor Latisha Costa, left, during a tour of the Health Assisting program as Principal Chris Laganas looks on. (Courtesy photograph.)

Local, state and federal elected officials were given a tour last week of Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School as well as an update on future building plans.

Superintendent Maureen Lynch, however, told WHAV two days later during a live interview that the school lobbied for more help paying for the school building project.

“All here on Monday to talk about the building project and talk about you know how hard this is to our communities and how important it is that we continue to look at ways to fund our municipal projects because it is a burden on the taxpayer and, I think, if we all work together, we can come up with some solutions for that,” she said during WHAV’s “Win for Breakfast” show.

School officials gave a limited account of what took place in a press release Friday. Those reportedly taking part were U.S. Reps. Seth Moulton and Lori Trahan, state Sens. Barry R. Finegold and Pavel Payano, state Reps. Ryan Hamilton, Kristin Kassner, Adrianne Ramos and Andy X. Vargas, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini and Newburyport Mayor Sean Reardon.

Vocational/Technical Coordinator Paul Moskevitz highlighted programs that prepare graduates to enter high-demand fields such as advanced manufacturing, construction, health assisting, and nursing. Whittier graduates gain industry certifications and experience through co-op job placements that ensure they are sought-after for high-paying jobs upon graduation.

Attendees also toured the Marine Service Technology pathway area, which has been supported by the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association and about three dozen industry groups. The Adult Evening Education program, which trains unemployed or underemployed adults for entry-level jobs, has graduated four classes.

Whittier launched its day program last fall for the incoming first-year class. The marine industry faces an urgent need for technicians, and businesses reach out to Whittier for help.

“Our phone rings off the hook,” Superintendent Maureen Lynch said.

Whittier Tech is working with the Massachusetts School Building Authority in an effort to renovate and/or replace the existing building, built in 1973. “The problem with a tour like this is that we look good,” Lynch told lawmakers. “Behind the walls is a different story.”

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