Baker-Polito Administration Awards Essex Tech $1.7 Million in Skills Capital Grant Funding

Gov. Charlie Baker, right, and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, left, presented Essex Tech with a grant totaling more than $1.7 million Tuesday as part of the Skills Capital Grant program. Receiving the award from Essex Tech were Animal Science instructor Rebecca Smith, Superintendent Heidi Riccio, Grant Writer Maryellen Rancourt, CTAE Director Donald Ducharme, and Culinary Arts instructor Elaine Chirichiello (Courtesy Photo Essex Tech)

We are pleased to announce that Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School has been awarded a significant grant from the Baker-Polito Administration as part of the administration’s ongoing Skills Capital Grant program.
Essex Tech was awarded $1,725,000 as part of the latest round of funding, which was announced at an event at Westfield Technical Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
The funding will provide the school with the opportunity to modernize and expand Culinary Arts and Animal Sciences instructional labs, impacting more than 500 students and CTI adult students through afternoon training programs.
“The need for vocational education seats in the Commonwealth continues to grow. I believe that it is the balance between academic coursework and solving real world problems through technical education that makes our school desirable,” Superintendent Riccio said. “This grant funding will help support an expansion of the Animal Science program, which is our largest program, and the Culinary Arts and Hospitality program, where the travel and tourism industry is thriving on the North Shore.”
“Training our future workforce in high demand occupations is our mission,” Superintendent Riccio added. “It is what we do every day. We will continue to seek funding to support our expansion efforts as we have a significant waitlist to enter Essex North Shore. This waitlist is a reflection of what we do every day, which is to bring learning alive.”
The Baker-Polito Administration awarded $24 million in Skills Capital Grants to 14 different high schools as part of the funding. Each school received awards between $1 million and $2.5 million, which will enable the schools to modernize labs and significantly expand student enrollment in programs that provide career education.
“I am eager for the opportunity to expand the Animal Sciences programs here at Essex North Shore Agricultural Technical School,” Veterinary Science Instructor Jennifer DeForge said. “Specifically, the Veterinary Science and Companion Animal concentrations will be able to collaborate and bring much-needed veterinary physical rehabilitation services to career and technical education.”
“Our Culinary Arts and Hospitality program feels honored to be a recipient of this grant,” CTAE Director Jill Sawyer said. “The funds will provide us an opportunity to expand our program into event planning and execution. We are excited to continue our mission of preparing our students for high demand career pathways on the North Shore.”
Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito were joined Tuesday by Education Secretary James Peyser in announcing the grants to each school. In addition, Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito toured Westfield Academy and visited with students exploring advanced manufacturing and culinary arts programs to see firsthand the ways in which career technical education is shaping the next generation of skilled workers.
The high schools receiving grants as part of this latest round of funding will make strategic investments over the next two years to grow their career 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 different programs.
The funding for this round of grants was included in An Act Relative to Immediate Covid-19 Recovery Needs, passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, 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.
“Since taking office, our administration has made significant investments through the Skills Capital Grant program to help more young people and adults gain the education, training and skills necessary for successful careers in rapidly growing industry sectors,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “We are proud of the impact these grants have had on both students’ educations and their futures in the Massachusetts workforce.”
“As a result of the Skills Capital Grants, high schools, colleges and other educational institutions have modernized how students learn and provided crucial experiential learning that serves students and employers well,” added Lt. Gov. Polito. “We appreciate the continued support of our partners in the Legislature, and we look forward to the continued growth and expansion of hands-on, career technical education programs made possible by Skills Capital Grants.”
Since 2015, 491 Skills Capital Grants totaling more than $153 million have been awarded to different 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.
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.
Essex Tech Superintendent Heidi Riccio, right, is congratulated by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on receiving grant funding as part of the latest round of Skills Capital Grants. (Courtesy Photo Essex Tech)
Gov. Charlie Baker speaks to career technical administrators at the presentation of the latest round of Skills Capital Grants. (Courtesy Photo Essex Tech)
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito speaks Tuesday on the administration’s work support career technical education. (Courtesy Photo Essex Tech)

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