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  ·   By Judy Bass, Lexington Patch   ·  Link to Article

Minuteman to join Advanced Manufacturing program for adults

EASTON – Minuteman High School is one of ten vocational-technical high schools that will be participating in a new educational initiative designed to train adults for high-wage, skill-intensive careers in Advanced Manufacturing.

The Advanced Manufacturing certificate program was announced by Gov. Charlie Baker at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School in Easton on December 14.

"This is one of the best investments in human opportunity and capability we can all make," he said. "We're very excited about this."

Jobs are available in this burgeoning field due to two factors that make employers uneasy - an aging workforce with retirement looming and a skills gap that translates into a scarcity of qualified employees to replace them. The program unveiled by Gov. Baker is intended to prepare men and women to join the Advanced Manufacturing workforce and thus keep propelling the industry forward.

Post-secondary learners will be able to attend evening classes in Advanced Manufacturing at any of the participating vocational-technical high schools beginning in September 2018. When they complete three different modules requiring a total of 900 hours of class time, they become eligible to earn a certificate in Advanced Manufacturing. That credential will enable them to receive credits at specific community colleges which can be applied toward an associate's degree.

The program can be completed on a flexible timetable to accommodate the schedules of people who are employed. Students will be eligible for financial assistance such as state MassGrants, federal Pell grants and scholarships.

Approximately 200 to 300 students are expected to enroll during the first year of the program.

The vocational-technical high schools taking part in addition to Minuteman are 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, Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford, Southeastern Regional and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in Haverhill.

Secretary of Education James A. Peyser, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta, and Michael Tamasi, president and CEO of AccuRounds, Inc., a precision machining company based in Avon, also addressed the audience at Southeastern Regional, which included officials from Minuteman and educators from across the state.

Representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators attended as well. The dignitaries included State Rep. William C. Galvin.

Representing Minuteman were Dr. Edward A. Bouquillon, Superintendent; and several members of the Advanced Manufacturing Program Advisory Committee: Mark Lyons, Senior Client Representative at 3HTi, LLC; Dr. Glenn J. Sundberg, Director of Engineering Technology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell; John Mulligan, Mechanical Designer/Professor at UMass Lowell; and Matthew McSwain, Senior Technical Program Manager at UMass Lowell.

Minuteman launched its own four-year program in Advanced Manufacturing in September of 2017 with two Massachusetts Skills Capital Grants totaling $995,000. Those grants helped the school purchase state-of-the-art technology including eleven industry-standard Haas lathes and mini mills, fifteen training simulators, advanced measurement equipment for quality control and several 3-D printers to teach additive manufacturing.

According to a news release from MAVA, "Minuteman is working to develop an articulation agreement with the UMass Lowell College of Engineering to enable students to earn at least six college credits by completing the Advanced Manufacturing program. Minuteman is also planning to offer Advanced Manufacturing as a post-secondary program for high school graduates."

"I am encouraged by the consistent efforts of this Administration and Legislature to invest in high-quality career and technical education," said Dr. Bouquillon. "Governor Baker and the Workforce Skills Cabinet recognize the long-standing commitment of our business and industry partners in preparing young people for careers that are in high demand. Regional manufacturing, robotics, and engineering industries need creative and innovative young people."

"Our students graduate with purpose," Dr. Bouquillon continued. "These initiatives insure we will continue to equip our students with technical and professional skills that make them career-ready and college-ready. The Governor's support of this post-secondary partnership will allow Minuteman's Advanced Manufacturing program to serve more adults seeking to enter this lucrative and vital career pathway."

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