With Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito present, Minuteman High School celebrated the opening of its new advanced-manufacturing lab.
Outfitted with the latest state-of-the-art equipment courtesy of $995,000 in state grants, the new lab is designed to train high school students and adults in high-wage, high-demands jobs in advanced manufacturing.
Polito joined Minuteman staff, area business leaders and a host of dignitaries on Wednesday, Feb. 15, in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, marking the start of the new program. She praised school officials for establishing the new program. "This is essential for Massachusetts," she said. "We're known as the number one innovation economy in the country. You are on the cutting edge of something really amazing."
Minuteman's new advanced-manufacturing program is being launched with the help of two major state grants from the Baker-Polito Administration. Minuteman has received competitive grants totaling $995,000 through the Governor's Workforce Skills Cabinet to purchase state-of-the-art CNC lathes, milling machines, sophisticated measuring equipment, a laser engraver and 3D printers.
A small group of ninth-grade Minuteman students started training in advanced manufacturing earlier this month. They will major in the program for the next 3½ years. Additional classes will be added over the next few years, bringing total enrollment in the high school day program to more than 50 students.
"Skills Capital Grants help strengthen relationships between schools and local industry and provide students with experience, knowledge and opportunities before they graduate high school," Polito said in a Feb. 16 news release. "Our administration is pleased to have invested nearly one million dollars in Skills Capital Grant funding in Minuteman Tech and we remain committed to ensuring students are equipped with the proper tools for success."
State Sen. Richard Ross, Republican of Wrentham, and Rep. Denise Garlick, Democrat of Needham, presented Superintendent Edward Bouquillon with an official citation from the state Legislature. Bouquillon presented Polito with a drinking glass engraved with Minuteman's logo.
Several Minuteman School Committee members attended the ribbon-cutting, including chair David Horton of Lexington, Alice DeLuca of Stow and Ford Spalding of Dover. Also attending were Robert LePage, assistant secretary of career education; Kevin Farr, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators; and several members of Minuteman's Program Advisory Committee for Advanced Manufacturing, including chair Mark Lyons.
Earlier in the day, Rep. Jay Kaufman, Democrat of Lexington, and Rep. Kate Hogan, Democrat of Stow, toured the new lab.
Rep. Kaufman spoke to a group of business leaders, faculty members, and students celebrating the new program. "Minuteman has a well-deserved reputation for being ahead of the curve," he said, praising the school for creating new programs to meet the ever-changing needs of the workplace. "Minuteman stands out as a really exceptional place."
Bouquillon thanked state officials for providing the funds to start advanced manufacturing. "Money does make a difference, especially in vocational education, where our students need to learn on the latest equipment so they have the skills employers are looking for," he said.
He said Minuteman soon would be applying for more grants, to modernize additional programs.
In collaboration with the UMass Lowell School of Engineering, Minuteman will also be offering after-school advanced-manufacturing courses for adults.
Minuteman has an active Advanced Manufacturing Program Advisory Committee consisting of business people, educators, and representatives of the community. The Advisory Committee meets at least twice annually and gives the school advice on curriculum, textbooks, technology, equipment and the latest industry trends.
This news announcement was published Friday, Feb. 16, 2018.