TURNERS FALLS 一 Superintendent Richard Martin is pleased to announce that Franklin County Technical School has been awarded a significant grant from the Baker-Polito Administration as part of the administration’s ongoing Skills Capital Grant program.
Franklin County Tech was awarded $4,158,000 as part of the latest round of funding, which was announced at an event at Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School in Danvers on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
The funding will allow the school to construct a 12,000-square-foot instructional lab and launch a new Aviation Maintenance Technician program, which will directly benefit 100 traditional day and adult students each year. The program will produce graduates who will meet Federal Aviation Administration criteria for certification as Airplane Maintenance Technicians.
The program is a partnership among Franklin County Tech, the Turners Falls Airport Commission and the Gulfstream Corporation. The program will also partner with Bridgewater State University’s Aviation Science Program as well as the new UMass Aviation and Research center.
“This is huge for us,” Martin said.”We will be able to create a different dynamic than other technical schools by offering an aviation program. We could not have received this grant without the cooperation with our neighbors at Turner’s Falls Municipal Airport.”
School Committee Member and Airport Manager Bryan Camden said, “This grant is important because it will allow Franklin County Tech to expand into an entirely new trade program.”
Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito were joined at Essex Tech for the announcement by current and former members of the Workforce Skills Cabinet.
Approximately $39 million was awarded to nine organizations to undertake major building construction projects, funded through An Act Relative to Immediate Covid-19 Recovery Needs, passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Baker, which included $100 million in state resources to provide capital improvement grants to vocational high schools and public schools operating career and technical education programs. The second round of grants totals $11.7 million to 38 organizations for technology equipment upgrades, and is funded through the 2018 Economic Development Bill, which established $75 million in Skills Capital Grant funding over five years.
The programs receiving grants as part of this latest round of funding will make strategic investments during the next two years to grow their career technical education programs to provide more learning opportunities for both traditional high school students and adult learners, with several schools expanding their Career Technical Initiative (CTI) programs to offer more learning opportunities in the late-afternoon and evening. Over the next five years, these grant awards will directly impact approximately 10,000 students across 38 programs.
Since 2015, 538 Skills Capital Grants totaling more than $200 million have been awarded to schools and educational institutions across the Commonwealth, with many organizations receiving multiple grants over the years. 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.
“We put $200 million to work, and it has truly been a transformational partnership with the educational institutions, and it is something we are enormously proud of,” Gov. Baker said.
Before the grant announcement, the group spoke with Essex Tech students and toured the ongoing Catherine Larkin Memorial Cottage project. The space will feature historic artifacts from the school’s history and a functioning kitchen to support events. The new building will include an agricultural museum, learning center, and community function space.
Construction trade students are working alongside union tradespeople, gaining valuable real-world experience in their chosen career path.
“To have this experiential learning, to not just read about it, study about it, take a test, but to get up in the trees, to nail those nails into the wood, it’s transformational and eye-opening,” said Rosalin Acosta, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development.
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 to strategize around how to meet employers’ demand for skilled workers in every region of the Commonwealth.
For more information on the Skills Capital Grant program, click here.