The Baker Administration last week took a first step toward addressing the shortage of skilled workers in Massachusetts by unveiling a program that allows residents interested in advanced manufacturing careers to take classes at local vocation schools.
The Advanced Manufacturing Certificate Program will train adults at 10 Massachusetts vocational schools during the evenings and on week-ends, when equipment would typically not be in use.
Adults who complete the manufacturing training will be eligible for college credit when enrolling at partnering colleges and universities. The certificate they earn during evening classes at the high schools will be worth a specific number of college credits that can be applied toward an associates’ degree.
A planning team, made up of vocational school, public and private higher education officials and workforce and industry partners, will work on curriculum, align credential agreements, and develop internships and hiring opportunities.
“The program provides another opportunity for students to pursue an affordable education in advanced manufacturing to learn a skill set and find a good paying job in this growing industry,” said Governor Baker. “This unique program leverages state and federal resources and offers much needed flexibility to give people better career options and a path toward a college degree.”
Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, said the initiative address one of the most pressing impediments to growth faced by employers.
“The AIM Blueprint for the Next Century economic growth plan identifies the shortage of skilled workers as a real issue across manufacturing and many other industries. The Advanced Manufacturing Certificate Program will give people valuable skills using resources that already exist,” Lord said.
Participating schools include:
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
Minuteman Regional Technical Vocational High School in Lexington
Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford
Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School in Easton
Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in Haverhill
Students will enroll in vocational classes in September, with expected enrollment in the first year to be between 200 to 300 students.
While the first year of the program will be focused on advanced manufacturing, state and local education officials plan to eventually expand the strategy into other fields, such as HVAC, auto technicians, and electrical professions.