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Minuteman lands $500K grant to help launch new career, tech effort

Quote bar, red"Securing this highly-competitive state grant helps reduce costs to local taxpayers."
Dr. Edward A. Bouquillon

With the help of a $500,000 state grant, Minuteman High School will launch a new Advanced Manufacturing & Metal Fabrication program to train high school students and adults for high-wage, high-demand jobs in the field of advanced manufacturing in the MetroWest region.

The competitive grant was announced by Governor Charles D. Baker during ceremonies at the State House on Feb. 24. The governor announced grants totaling $9.3 million from the new Massachusetts Skills Capital Grant Program. He was joined at the event by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald Walker II, Education Secretary James Peyser and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash.

Some 68 schools and training programs applied for grants. Only 35 were successful.

"This is terrific news for our school and for our region," said Dr. Edward A. Bouquillon, superintendent at Minuteman High School, in a news release "We are grateful to Governor Baker and his Workforce Skills Cabinet for making this investment in high-quality vocational-technical education."

Minuteman received $500,000, the largest grant possible under the program. Only one other school received the maximum award.

With the grant, Minuteman will purchase 10 industry-standard machines and 15 ancillary training simulators. The equipment will include five Mini Mills, four CNC Tool Room Lathes, and one CNC Lathe with Y Axis.
The equipment will help Minuteman serve vocational high school students, academic high school students, unemployed and underemployed adults, and incumbent workers seeking to earn industry credentials.

"Securing this highly-competitive state grant helps reduce costs to local taxpayers," Bouquillon said. "Minuteman will continue to aggressively pursue opportunities like this one to get grants."

Instruction will be delivered at Minuteman High School by Chapter 74 state-licensed teachers and will follow state curriculum frameworks and guidelines from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills. The new program will be guided by a program advisory committee of business, education and community leaders that will review curriculum, equipment, instruction, and industry trends.

Bouquillon noted that nine companies or agencies wrote letters supporting Minuteman’s grant application. These include the Boston Tooling & Machining Association; Vaccon Vacuum Products; Mach Machine; Lexington Public Schools; Wentworth Institute of Technology College of Professional and Continuing Education; Partnerships for a Skilled Workforce; North Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board; Metro North Regional Employment Board; and the Minuteman Futures Foundation.

Several business people and educators have already agreed to serve on the Program Advisory Committee for the new program.

According to Michelle Roche, director of career and technical education at Minuteman, the school will be ordering and installing equipment and designing the new program over the next several months. The school is hoping to have initial course offerings in the fall.

Minuteman officials are planning a new 628-student high school consisting of two Career Academies supporting a total of 16 high-quality career and technical education programs. Advanced Manufacturing will be part of the new school’s Engineering, Construction and Trades Academy.

This announcement was published Thursday, March 3, 2016.

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