Whittier Tech, Essex Tech Share in Career Technical Initiative Grants for Job Training

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School and Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School were among schools awarded Career Technical Initiative grants Tuesday to train jobseekers for careers in high-demand occupations within the trades, construction, and manufacturing sectors,

Whittier was awarded $784,000 from the Healey-Driscoll Administration while Essex Tech was given $2 million. Whittier will provide training to 98 participants for welding, advanced manufacturing, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, culinary arts, marine technology, construction laborer, and auto body and collision repair positions. “We are thrilled to be able to support our region’s economy by providing career technical education to underemployed or unemployed adults. These training programs are critical to provide a skilled workforce for our region,” said Whittier Superintendent Maureen Lynch. Whittier will partner with Fairview Machine, Magellan, Aero Manufacturing, Auto Body Builders, Repairs Unlimited, Bradford Towing and Auto Repair, Cale Wood Construction, Pepe Training, M.L. Mazzotta Building and Excavation, Germaine Lawn and Landscape, Premier Builders, , East Coast Welding and Fabrication, Metalcrafters, Momentum Manufacturing Group, A Sweet Affair, Whitson’s Culinary Group, Chococoa Baking Co., Donahue and Son Electric, Sanford Electric, Piquette and Howard Electric Service, American Boat and Yacht Council, Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, Manchester Marine Corporation, T.J. Thistlewood, Bourque Plumbing and Heating and Riverside Plumbing and Heating. Essex Tech will provide training to 250 participants for automotive technology, biolab tech, carpentry, CNC machinist, construction craft laborer, culinary, electrical, electromechanical manufacturing, HVAC, plumbing and welding positions.

Tampa Bay Rays Draft Northern Essex Community College’s Voelker

Northern Essex Community College sophomore right hander Jayden Voelker has been drafted in the eighth round of the 2024 Major League Baseball Draft. Selected by the Tampa Bay Rays as the 246th overall pick in draft taking place at the Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas. Voelker becomes the first MLB Draft pick out of Northern Essex since Spencer Brown was drafted in the 39th round in the 2019 draft by the Los Angeles Angels. Steve Bedrosian ‘77, also went on to play major league baseball after Northern Essex and won the National League Cy Young Award in 1987. Players in the 2024 draft were selected from four-year public and private colleges, high schools, and international programs but Voelker is one of just four selected in the first 10 rounds from an American community college.

Former Student-Athlete, Coach and Administrator Becomes UML Athletic Director

Lynn Coutts has worn many jerseys—award-winning student-athlete, inspiring coach and successful higher education administrator—in more than two decades excelling in athletics leadership. Today, she dons one more. UMass Lowell named Coutts the next athletic director at an event on campus last Thursday morning. Lynn Coutts joins UMass Lowell from the Division 1 University of Denver, where she served as associate vice chancellor and deputy director of athletics. A first-generation college graduate, Coutts feels “uniquely equipped to align with the mission and values of UMass Lowell.”

“I am excited for the opportunity to lead a positive, high-energy environment inspiring student athletes, coaches and staff to achieve world class excellence in the classroom, in competition and within the campus community,” she said.

Shaw, Garcia, Burcke and Smalley Join Northern Essex Community College Foundation Board

Northern Essex Community College Foundation is welcoming four new members to its board. They are Gregory Shaw, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Haverhill Bank; Tobit Garcia, a senior tax manager and partner at JBS Tax Corp in Lawrence; John Burcke, president and chief lending officer at Newburyport Bank; and Steven Smalley, government affairs manager for National Grid. Shaw, of Manchester, N.H., says he learned much about Northern Essex from his time coordinating workforce training for a previous employer and found the program to be very beneficial. He is also a board member of Penacook Place and Family Services of the Merrimack Valley. Shaw holds a degree in Economics from the University of Vermont.

UMass Lowell, Mass General Brigham to Train Military, Police, Security on Stress Situations

UMass Lowell and Mass General Brigham said this week they will work together to advance cognitive and decision-making performance for members of the military, law enforcement and security during stressful, complex situations. Together, they said, they will tap the expertise of researchers at each institution to adapt and apply knowledge developed for top athletes to create a library of realistic training scenarios designed to enhance specific aspects of cognition as identified by the U.S. armed services. In addition to the joint research, UMass Lowell Chancellor Julie Chen praised the opportunities created for students for advanced learning through co-ops, internships and hands-on learning. “Working directly with Mass General Brigham gives our students the opportunity to work with a world-class organization and engage in unrivaled learning experiences in kinesiology, exercise physiology, neuroscience and across the life sciences,” Chen said. She also pointed to opportunities for faculty and researchers at both organizations to advance discoveries through UMass Lowell’s Harnessing Emerging Research Opportunities to Empower Soldiers—or HEROES—program and Mass General Brigham’s Center for Sports Performance and Research.

Program Drove Over Age 25 Enrollment at Northern Essex, Other Community Colleges Nearly 45%

The Healey-Driscoll Administration says MassReconnect drove community college enrollment of those over age 25 up nearly 45% and overall enrollment 8% during its first academic year, supporting more than 4,500 students, including Pedro Rentas of Haverhill. The enrollment increase reversed a decade of declines. The state Education Department highlighted Pedro Rentas of Haverhill who began last fall in the business transfer associate degree program at Northern Essex Community College. He is from the Dominican Republic and worked in radio broadcast and banking. “I’m trying to spread the word to other Spanish-speakers in my community, because many people don’t know about the program,” he is quoted as saying.

‘Summer Eats’ Provides Breakfast and Lunch at Various Haverhill Sites

Breakfast and lunch are free to Haverhill students this summer as part of a program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state Department of Transitional Assistance. “Summer Eats,” as it is called, began Friday and continues through Aug. 25 and five city schools, while lunch only is served at two recreation areas and the Haverhill Public Library. Participating schools serving from 7:30-9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. are Haverhill High School, 137 Monument St.; Caleb Dustin Hunking School, 480 S. Main St.; John Greenleaf Whittier School, 256 Concord St.; Dr. Albert B. Consentino School, 685 Washington St.; and Dr. Paul C. Nettle School, 150 Boardman St. Lunch only is served at Swasey Field, 39 Blaisdell St., from noon to 12:30 p.m.; Plug Pond Recreation Area, 119 Mill St., from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Haverhill Public Library, Mondays and Wednesdays only from 11 a.m. to noon.

UMass Lowell’s Makrez Allen Receives Roy Zuckerberg Leadership Award

Heather Makrez Allen, UMass Lowell’s executive director of alumni and donor relations, was recently awarded the 2024 Roy J. Zuckerberg Endowed Leadership Award in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to women’s leadership programming at the university. She was recognized for her continued organization of the annual UMass Lowell Women’s Leadership Conference and Virtual Conversation and plans to promote additional women-centric events. The Roy J. Zuckerberg Endowed Leadership Award was established in 2005 by UMass Lowell alumnus Roy J. Zuckerberg, a former senior director at Goldman Sachs. The Zuckerberg Award is designed to reward leaders of courage, conviction and selflessness who have devoted their time and talent to helping the university accomplish its goals. Presented by the University of Massachusetts President’s Office, the recipient is selected by a committee, which includes representatives from each campus and the president’s office.