ANDOVER — Gov. Charlie Baker announced last week the launch of a statewide effort to expand career technical opportunities expanding on a model already successfully in place at Greater Lawrence Technical School (GLTS).
Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and approximately 150 guests gathered at GLTS for the announcement by the Administration about the Career Technical Initiative, an effort to expand career technical education opportunities statewide to allow more people to access vocational education throughout the day. The Career Technical Initiative will aim to train 20,000 people in skilled trades over the next four years, and the Baker-Polito Administration has proposed the allocation of $15 million in the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget to support those efforts.
“This is in many ways a great opportunity to create real gains for young people and adults through a proven set of programs where there is already credentialing in place, where everybody knows exactly what you need to do to get the certificate and the credential to be qualified to do the work, and where once you have the work, there is an in-service opportunity to grow and to work your way up,” Gov. Baker said.
Through the Career Technical Initiative, schools will offer programming to day students as well as afternoon programming for area high school students looking to access vocational education. Schools will also expand adult career technical programming. As a result of the Career Technical Initiative, vocational schools will offer programs in three shifts throughout the day to day students, area high school students and adults.
Gov. Baker lauded the opportunities for both high school and adult students to access programs in advanced manufacturing and HVAC at GLTS. Last school year, GLTS launched a pilot “after dark” program to allow Lawrence High School students to take their core academic courses at Lawrence High from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and then travel to GLTS to take Machine Tool Technology/Advanced Manufacturing courses from 2:30-5:30 p.m. This school year, GLTS expanded their “after dark” program to offer training in HVAC as well, and the school was awarded $100,000 by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education this October to support that programming further.
GLTS also launched an adult advanced manufacturing certificate program in 2018, and is continuing to expand that programming thanks to a $60,000 grant from the Baker-Polito Administration awarded this December.
Career technical education is in high demand statewide, and approximately 1,000 students apply to GLTS annually, with about 400 being accepted.
“We’ve worked incredibly hard here at GLTS to provide opportunities for more people to access career technical education, so that they can hone skills to get well paying, reliable jobs with local companies that are actively seeking skilled workers,” said GLTS Superintendent John Lavoie. “The Baker-Polito Administration has been immensely supportive, and we’re thankful they have recognized the need to expand these opportunities not only here at GLTS, but statewide.”
Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito were joined at Thursday’s event by Secretary of Education James Peyser, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta and Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, as well as municipal leaders from Andover, North Andover, Lawrence and Methuen and representatives from other vocational schools in Massachusetts.
“The reason why we are here is that you have it all together. As the Governor said, you are a place that gets it,” Lt. Gov. Polito said of GLTS. “You not only get it, you have the means to be able to take these funds and get the job done.”
Lt. Gov Polito also stated that Career Technical Initiative programs have significant potential to break down barriers statewide for those looking to enter in-demand fields. ◊