Administration has awarded more than $78 million to high schools, colleges and other educational institutions to ensure students learn on industry-standard equipment
GLOUCESTER – Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito visited the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute (GMGI) today to announce $14.6 million in Skills Capital Grant awards to 54 educational institutions to update equipment and expand student enrollment in programs that provide career education. The Governor and Lt. Governor were joined by Education Secretary James Peyser, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy to tour GMGI, one of four institutions that received a multi-year grant.
This is the first time that the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded multi-year Skills Capital Grants, and high schools, colleges and other educational institutions applying for this round of grants were able to apply for either one or two years of funding. Four institutions – Bristol Community College, Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute’s Biotechnology Academy, Blackstone Valley Vocational Regional School District and Worcester Technical High School – received two-year awards, which require a local matching funding contribution of $1 to every $3 of state resources.
“Skills Capital Grants help preserve the Commonwealth’s talent pipeline by funding expanded enrollment and equipment upgrades at educational institutions to provide more students with in-demand skills sought by employers,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The inaugural multi-year grants offered this round will also increase flexibility and support for institutions launching new programs, allowing more students to develop important technical skills.”
“The Massachusetts economy is firing on all cylinders, yet there remains a tight job market when it comes to skilled jobs, and Skills Capital Grants have enabled thousands of students across the Commonwealth to gain knowledge and skills in order to be competitive in the job market,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Through this funding, the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute will double the number of students who can be trained for high-demand biotech careers.”
GMGI received $940,569 to establish a new biomanufacturing training facility, and its new teaching lab will expand its existing training program by doubling its enrollment capacity from 20 to 40 students. The new biomanufacturing center will include a laboratory and classroom with specialized equipment that will simulate the environments found in state-of-the-art biomanufacturing facilities.
“Throughout our economic development planning process last year, we heard repeatedly from business owners about job openings that remain unfilled due to the lack of skilled workers, and today’s Skills Capital Grants paired with the administration’s Career Tech Initiative will have a significant impact on the Commonwealth’s talent pipeline,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy. “It is exciting to make this announcement at the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute, where they are effectively weaving together a strategy that includes groundbreaking biotech research, education and workforce efforts which will continue to benefit this entire region.”
“Over a 10-year period, Massachusetts is expected to add around 600 biological technicians who will make an average of $61,000 per year. Programs like the Gloucester Biotechnology Academy, which align education and training offerings to specific workforce needs, are vital to ensuring the future economic health of Massachusetts,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta.
“Several of these grants awarded in this round will support the expansion of after-school and evening vocational programs, aligned to the Governor’s new Career Technical Initiative in order to give more people opportunities for education and training in the trades,” said Secretary of Education James Peyser. “The Skills Capital Grants given to educational institutions over the last five years laid the groundwork for this new workforce initiative.”
“This award from the Baker-Polito Administration is a great endorsement of our workforce training program and what we’ve accomplished since Gloucester Biotechnology Academy was launched,” said John Doyle, Education Director of Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute. “The addition of biomanufacturing to our proprietary curriculum may add a month to our academic year, but it brings a whole new, in demand skill set to our future graduates.”
To date, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded more than $78 million in Skills Capital Grants to 280 different programs. Through Skills Capital Grants, schools have expanded their enrollment capacity in high-demand occupations, enabling more than 14,500 additional students to enroll in educational programs that are a priority for employers across Massachusetts.
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. The 2018 Economic Development Bill, filed by the Governor and passed by the Legislature, established an additional $75 million in Skills Capital Grant funding.