In the wake of our release of the Massachusetts’ Forgotten Middle Skill Jobs report, many people have asked if we can tell them more about middle-skill jobs in the Commonwealth, especially where these jobs are growing and where training is available.
As we launch into the new academic year, I thought it would be fitting to highlight a new middle-skill training program being developed at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT) in Boston’s South End.
Recently, The National Science Foundation awarded BFIT a grant of more than $360,000 to expand its Automotive Technology program to include a two-year program in Alternative Fuel Vehicle Operations and Maintenance. The program trains students to work as technicians in the growing hybrid vehicle industry.
The hybrid vehicle industry is a prime example of where middle skill jobs–those that require more than a high schools diploma but less than a four year degree–will boom in the years to come. This industry is expected to flourish as more drivers choose eco-friendly and “green” cars. Yet, most auto shops do not have certified hybrid technicians and are not ready for hybrid vehicles.
This new program at BFIT has the potential to be a concrete example of the types of partnerships, pathways, and proportionate investment that the Skills2Compete MA campaign recommends:
• Partnerships with employers are informing the curriculum and program design;
• Investment, from the NSF in this case, will assist in developing the curriculum;
• The Skills2Compete campaign would just encourage the development of Pathways as part of this program in order to ensure that traditionally under-represented populations, the unemployed, and lower-skilled and lower-income workers have the opportunity and support necessary to complete the training and obtain middle-skill employment.
Click here to learn more about the new BFIT alternative fuel vehicle operations and maintenance program.