NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — McCann Technical High School received a $3,110,000 grant to construct a 5,580 square-foot HVAC building to provide training to an estimated 100 students each year.
Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Education Secretary James Peyser, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, and Labor Secretary Rosalin Acosta visited Essex North Shore Technical High School today to announce the awards.
“We created the Skills Capital Grants to ensure young people and adults in every region of the Commonwealth could learn and gain skills on the most up-to-date technologies and equipment so they would be well-prepared for in-demand careers,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are proud of these investments in vocational technical education and their long-term impacts that will positively affect thousands of Massachusetts residents for decades.”
The Baker-Polito Administration awarded nearly $51 million in Skills Capital Grants to high schools, colleges, and educational institutions. This is more than $200 million total over the past eight years to upgrade technology and lab spaces for students, expand career programs for young people and adults, and increase capacity in workforce training programs across the Commonwealth.
Currently there is no HVAC technician training program in the Berkshire County, and HVAC was identified by the Berkshire County Workforce blueprint as a critical workforce need. The new instructional labs will be used by traditional students as well as adult CTI students after hours.
Industry partners include MassHire Berkshire Workforce Board, Berkshire Career Center, Laureyns United Contractors, and Adams Plumbing and Heating.
The awards announced included two separate rounds of grants. Approximately $39 million was awarded to nine organizations to undertake major building construction projects, funded through An Act Relative to Immediate Covid-19 Recovery Needs, passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, which included $100 million in state resources to provide capital improvement grants to vocational high schools and public schools operating career and technical education programs. The second round of grants totals $11.7 million to 38 organizations for technology equipment upgrades, and is funded through the 2018 Economic Development Bill, which established $75 million in Skills Capital Grant funding over five years.
Approximately 80,000 students across the Commonwealth will directly benefit from all the grants awarded over the past eight years. Investments made through the Skills Capital Grant program helped establish the Career Technical Initiative at 25 vocational-technical schools, as well as early career Innovation Pathways at 60 high schools.
Since 2015, 538 grants totaling $204 million have been awarded through the Skills Capital Grant program.
About two-thirds of the investments made with the grants are directly aligned to reduce skills gaps in high priority industry sectors, including health care, manufacturing, IT, and skilled trades. A percentage of the funding, about 5 percent, has been invested in multi-year strategic projects in manufacturing, healthcare and energy training programs which are projected to have significant regional impact.
The Skills Capital Grants are awarded by Governor Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, which was created in 2015 to bring together the Secretariats of Education, Labor and Workforce Development, and Housing and Economic Development to align education, economic development, and workforce policies in order to strategize around how to meet employers’ demand for skilled workers in every region of the Commonwealth. The competitive grants are awarded to educational institutions that demonstrate partnerships with local businesses, as well as align curriculum and credentials with industry demand to maximize hiring opportunities in each region of the state.
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