MASSACHUSETTS — The following is a statement from Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) Executive Director Kevin Farr regarding a recent discussion on admissions practices in career and technical education (CTE) schools statewide.
“As the Executive Director of MAVA, I first and foremost wish to reaffirm the sincere dedication of our members to creating a school atmosphere and program that’s welcoming to students of all backgrounds.
“Career and technical education has always sought to open doors and provide opportunities to young people, and to meet the needs of the community. This means training and educating students equitably.
“Ensuring admissions practices are inclusive and fair is imperative, and we welcome this opportunity to collaborate with the state to make improvements to our process that will ultimately benefit students throughout the Commonwealth.
“The Baker-Polito Administration and Department of Secondary and Elementary Education have been tremendously supportive of vocational schools in recent years, and we’re very grateful for their continued commitment to career and technical education. Their funding and support allows our schools to expand programming and provide vocational education to more young people.
“Unfortunately, wait lists to our schools make it very clear that there is more work to be done to meet the demand among our students for this type of education, as well as the demand for skilled labor within the industries our schools prepare students to enter upon graduation.
“We’ve all been working hard to discern how we can provide more vocational education opportunities to meet this demand.
“It’s exciting, and we’re making strides. Even over the past couple of years, some of our schools have begun implementing creative programs thanks to the support of the Baker-Polito administration, allowing for additional seats in our schools, resulting in increased access to quality Chapter 74 vocational education. We have students taking their academic classes during the day and attending vocational classes later in the day, which allows more young people to graduate prepared to enter into careers in high demand, well-paying industries.
“Solutions like that can change lives. We also hope to expand and deepen our partnerships with sending districts to make sure young people have as much information as possible about the options before them as it relates to vocational education.
“We would love to expand vocational programming opportunities, through a variety of avenues, and look forward to being an engaged part of the conversation going forward.”