New High Schools Expand Program by 30% As Part of Effort to Reimagine High School, Pathways Now Offered at Nearly 1 in 5 Public High Schools in Massachusetts
Chelmsford – Governor Maura T. Healey today announced that her administration is awarding new Innovation Career Pathway designations to 27 high schools across the state, expanding the program by more than 30 percent to reach a total of 78 high schools in the state.
Innovation Career Pathways are designed to give students hands-on coursework and work-based learning experiences in a specific high-demand industry, such as Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology, Environmental and Life Sciences, Health Care and Social Assistance, and Business and Finance, which are the five Innovation Career Pathways that Massachusetts currently offers. Today’s announcement launches 35 new Innovation Career Pathways across those 27 high schools.
With these new programs, nearly one in five public high schools in Massachusetts will be offering Innovation Career Pathways. Governor Healey made the announcement today at Chelmsford High School, which currently offers students pathways in the fields of Business & Finance, Information Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, and Life Sciences, and is a model of what a successful Innovation Career Pathway program can look like.
“It was exciting to see the technical hands-on training that Chelmsford High School is able to offer through their Innovation Career Pathways program and hear from students about how much they value the opportunity to participate in industry credential programs and internships,” said Governor Maura Healey. “When it comes to our students, we want to give them a leg up in preparation for key industries—like health care, computer science, manufacturing and engineering—which is exactly what Innovation Career Pathways achieve. That’s why we’re thrilled to expand this program and award 27 schools new Innovation Career Pathways across the Commonwealth, and why we’ve proposed a $14.4 million increase in our FY24 budget for Innovation Career Pathways and Early College for further expansion next year.”
“These early career programs provide students with opportunities for future success in and out of the classroom, allow them to forge partnerships with local employers, and prepare students with the knowledge and tools to succeed in rapidly growing STEM fields across the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “As co-chair of the STEM Advisory Council, it is inspiring to see what students are capable of in fields that are vital to our state’s growth and success. Today’s expansion of Innovation Career Pathways is the first announcement of many as we look to increase career and college readiness opportunities for every student in Massachusetts.”
The Healey-Driscoll Administration predicts that in Fall 2023, over 820 additional students will be enrolled in these 35 new Innovation Career Pathways programs, with total enrollment across the state projected to exceed 6,500 students. 19 of the high schools earning designations this year will be offering Innovation Career Pathways for the first time, or 70% of awardees.
With these new designations, the total number of Innovation Career Pathways programs will now increase to 183 pathways at 78 schools across the Commonwealth. Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll’s FY24 budget proposal includes nearly $47 million for Early College and Innovation Career Pathways, a $14.4 million increase from FY23, to continue expanding college and career readiness options for students across the Commonwealth.
“Expanding Innovation Career Pathways is one way we are helping transform the traditional high school experience. As we reimagine high school in the Commonwealth, we are focused on increasing student engagement and creating new opportunities to access the tools and learn the skills that students need for their future career or college plans,” said Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler. “Today I had the opportunity to hear from school leaders, students, and workforce partners who all agree that Innovation Career Pathways are having an impact, opening doors for students and industry employers alike.”
“Innovation Career Pathways are creating opportunities for many students across the Commonwealth, helping students find out sooner and without any cost to them if what they are learning is something they want to pursue as a career,” said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley. “It’s great to see such a successful program expand to so many new schools across Massachusetts.”
“We were honored to give Governor Healey a tour of our Innovation Pathways program at Chelmsford High School today. This program is providing students incredible opportunities to explore firsthand specific industries of interest – including Information Technology, Business and Finance, Manufacturing, and the Life Sciences – and empowering them with the skills and tools they need to succeed as they plan for their future career or college education. It is exciting to see this program expand to other school districts and high schools in Massachusetts,” said Chelmsford Superintendent Dr. Jay Lang.
Innovation career pathways give high school students the opportunity to take courses focused on a particular field, while allowing them to enroll in post-secondary courses to earn industry-recognized credentials at no cost to them, as well as allowing them to serve in internships in that field. A key component of Innovation Career Pathways is setting up partnerships with industry partners and local MassHire boards to foster these work-based learning experiences for students—this year’s 27 pathway schools will be partnering with 13 of the 16 local MassHire boards across the Commonwealth. This enables students to gain work experience and insight about whether the field is something they would like to pursue in college or a career after high school.
“Participating in Innovation Pathways has made a huge difference in my experience here at Chelmsford High School and in planning my future,” said Chelmsford High School student Pranav Abburi. “I’m interested in Business & Finance, so I’ve been able to get hands-on classwork, take higher education courses, and even pursue an internship in that field. It’s been a great opportunity to learn more about myself and my abilities, and ultimately confirm my choice of career in Financial Management.”
“All public water systems are operated by licensed professionals and in Massachusetts more than half of our licensed operators are over the age of 50. We see the Innovations Pathway Program as a way to get students basic knowledge about our sector, while also exposing them to these great careers.” said Todd Melanson, Environmental Compliance Manager at the Chelmsford Water District, a workforce partner to Chelmsford High School’s Innovation Pathways program. “The Chelmsford Water District thanks the Healey/Driscoll Administration for supporting Innovation Career Pathways and we look forward to continuing to provide students with opportunities to explore these important careers.”
Innovation Career Pathways differs from its sister program – Early College – in that students focus on a specific industry sector, with greater emphasis on career exploration, technical courses, work-based learning experiences and industry-recognized credentials, rather than attaining college credits. Last month, the Healey-Driscoll administration announced nine new Early College Programs, which is another tenet of the administrations’ goal of transforming high school to offer more career and college readiness opportunities, with a specific focus on expanding equity.
Today’s announcement of new designations is in connection with the 2023 Massachusetts STEM Summit on May 4 that will promote the cutting-edge STEM work occurring across the Commonwealth’s education and employer partnerships, with a common goal of “Reimagining High School.” The Summit will feature student voices from current Innovation Career Pathways students who are taking advantage of the programs’ STEM opportunities. Sign up to attend the STEM Summit Livestream here.
- New Schools Launching Innovation Career Pathways
- Amherst High School – Manufacturing
- Athol High School – Manufacturing
- Douglas High School – Manufacturing
- Hoosac Valley Regional High School – Environmental and Life Sciences; Healthcare and Social Assistance
- Leicester High School – Manufacturing
- MAP Academy Charter School – Manufacturing; Healthcare and Social Assistance
- Marblehead High School – Manufacturing
- Nipmuc Regional High School – Information Technology
- Middleboro High School – Manufacturing
- Millbury High School – Manufacturing; Information Technology
- Norton High School – Manufacturing
- Randolph High School – Information Technology
- Reading High School – Information Technology; Manufacturing
- CityLab Innovation School – Environmental and Life Sciences
- Mt. Everett High School – Information Technology; Manufacturing
- Southwick Regional School – Healthcare and Social Assistance; Information Technology
- Wachusett Regional High School – Manufacturing
- Wayland High School – Business and Finance; Manufacturing
- Whitman-Hanson Regional High School – Business and Finance; Healthcare and Social Assistance
- Schools Adding Innovation Career Pathways to Existing Programs
- Monument Mountain Regional High School – Business and Finance
- Bourne High School – Healthcare and Social Assistance
- Turners Falls High School – Environmental and Life Sciences
- Lawrence High School – Information Technology
- Medway High School – Information Technology
- Quabbin Regional High School – Business and Finance
- Quaboag Regional High School – Information Technology
- Swampscott High School – Business and Finance.