March 2, 2018: A broad, statewide coalition of business, education, and community groups, including SkillWorks and advocacy partners with the Workforce Solutions Group, convened at the State House on Friday to urge the Governor and Legislature to redouble their efforts to expand access and boost funding for career and technical education (CTE) in Massachusetts.
AVTE collaborative members were also joined by featured speakers including Lt. Governor Polito, Treasurer Goldberg, Secretary of Education Peyser, as well as AVTE co-chairs Tim Murray, President and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Julie Hackett, Superintendent of Taunton Public Schools and Chair of Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, James Quaglia, Chair of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators, students, business leaders and educators – all speaking to our state’s excellent yet undervalued CTE schools, and the critical need to expand access and increase funding if we are to keep up with economic demands.
On the funding front, attendees were pleased to hear from the Lt. Governor that a new round of Capital Skills grant funds will be included in the Governor’s next Economic Development bill, which increase the capacity and quality of vocational training and education by providing funds to eligible schools and institutions for the purchase/installation of capital equipment.
The event also featured students from Essex Technical High School, who took the podium to talk about their hands on lab experiences in biotechnology and veterinary science pathways which have led to paid internships and college acceptance.
Accompanying this exciting event, the Alliance for Vocational Technical Education (AVTE) released an important new white paper – “High Quality Career Technical Education in Massachusetts: A Critical Investment in our State’s Future” – which analyzes the value of vocational technical education, highlights the need to cut waiting lists, and sets out a series of policy and budget recommendations.
Career and technical education is a big, but not well-known, success in Massachusetts. However, there’s work to be done when well over 3,200 students are on waiting lists, when concerns are raised about diversifying student enrollment, and when employers have many vacancies for which they need these vocational school graduates. Through events and dissemination of reports like this, and good old fashioned advocacy and political activism, The AVTE and our supporters are committed to raising awareness of these needs and advocating for the funding that is necessary to address these challenges.
The AVTE is a coalition of key educators (MA Association of Vocational Administrators, MA Association of School Superintendents), business groups (MA Competitive Partnership, MA Business Alliance for Education, MA Business Roundtable, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce), and community organizations (SkillWorks, MCAN, Workforce Solutions Group, EdVestors). It was formed in 2015 to develop solutions to the problem of many thousands on waiting lists to attend these schools, especially in Gateway Cities across the state.
For detailed information on the AVTE and the new report, visit http://allianceforvoceducation.org/