Minuteman High School is one of 10 vocational-technical high schools that will be participating in a new educational initiative designed to train adults for high-wage, skill-intensive careers in advanced manufacturing.
The certificate program was announced by Gov. Charlie Baker at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School in Easton on Dec. 14.
"This is one of the best investments in human opportunity and capability we can all make," he said in a Dec. 20 news release. "We're very excited about this."
Jobs are available in this burgeoning field for two factors that make employers uneasy -- an aging workforce with retirement looming and a skills gap that translates into a scarcity of qualified employees to replace them. The program unveiled by Gov. Baker is intended to prepare men and women to join the advanced-manufacturing workforce to keep propelling the industry forward.
Postsecondary learners will be able to attend evening classes in advanced manufacturing at any of the participating vocational-technical high schools beginning next September. When they complete three modules requiring a total of 900 hours of class time, they become eligible to earn a certificate in advanced manufacturing. That credential will enable them to receive credits at specific community colleges which can be applied toward an associate's degree.
The program can be completed on a flexible timetable to accommodate the schedules of people who are employed. Students will be eligible for financial assistance such as state MassGrants, federal Pell grants and scholarships.
About 200 to 300 students are expected to enroll during the first year of the program.
The vocational-technical high schools taking part in addition to Minuteman are Assabet Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School in Marlborough, Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical High School in Taunton, Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Fall River, Essex Agricultural and Technical High School in Danvers, Greater Lawrence Technical High School in Andover, Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School in New Bedford, Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford, Southeastern Regional and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in Haverhill.
Secretary of Education James A. Peyser, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta and Michael Tamasi, president and CEO of AccuRounds Inc., a precision machining company based in Avon, also addressed the audience at Southeastern Regional, which included officials from Minuteman and educators statewide.
Representatives from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators attended. The dignitaries included state Rep. William C. Galvin.
Representing Minuteman were Dr. Edward A. Bouquillon, superintendent, and several members of the Advanced Manufacturing Program Advisory Committee: Mark Lyons, senior client representative at 3HTi; Dr. Glenn J. Sundberg, director of engineering technology at UMass. Lowell; John Mulligan, mechanical designer/professor at UMass. Lowell; and Matthew McSwain, senior technical program manager at UMass. Lowell.
Minuteman launched its own four-year program in advanced manufacturing last September with two state skills capital grants totaling $995,000. Those grants helped the school purchase state-of-the-art technology including 11 industry-standard Haas lathes and mini mills, 15 training simulators, advanced measurement equipment for quality control and several 3-D printers to teach additive manufacturing.
According to a news release from MAVA, "Minuteman is working to develop an articulation agreement with the UMass. Lowell College of Engineering to enable students to earn at least six college credits by completing the advanced manufacturing program. Minuteman is also planning to offer advanced manufacturing as a postsecondary program for high school graduates."
Bouquillon said in the release: "I am encouraged by the consistent efforts of this Administration and Legislature to invest in high-quality career and technical education. Governor Baker and the Workforce Skills Cabinet recognize the long-standing commitment of our business and industry partners in preparing young people for careers that are in high demand. Regional manufacturing, robotics, and engineering industries need creative and innovative young people.
"Our students graduate with purpose. These initiatives insure we will continue to equip our students with technical and professional skills that make them career-ready and college-ready. The governor's support of this postsecondary partnership will allow Minuteman’s Advanced Manufacturing program to serve more adults seeking to enter this lucrative and vital career pathway."
This news announcement was published Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017.