Tuesday, June 28 2022

HAVERHILL — Whittier Regional Technical High School announced it received a $181,778 state skills capital grant to expand its daytime and evening offerings, in an effort to create a new career path in marine services technology for high school students.

Whittier has been offering marine service technology since last year through its evening adult education program, supported by Yamaha and the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association. The program trained three classes of unemployed or underemployed workers for entry-level jobs in a high-demand field, school officials said.

Whittier Superintendent Maureen Lynch said the new skills grant will allow her school to purchase a Parker-branded boat, a Yamaha-branded Wave Runner, a Sea-Doo GTR for student learning, engines Yamaha outboard for student training and a new system to properly ventilate engine fumes.

Whittier Tech has applied to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for approval to create the Marine Services Technology pathway in the day program, Lynch said.

If approved, Maritime Services Technology will be offered as an exploratory class for ninth graders starting next fall, Lynch said.

Marine Services Technology would be Whittier Tech’s 23rd pathway, among the most offered by any vocational technical school in the state, Lynch said.

“By expanding our pathways, students will have a greater opportunity to discover their passion and pursue a career in a high-demand and high-paying field,” said Professional Director Amanda Crosby.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association estimates that Massachusetts’ marine industry employs more than 20,000 workers and has an economic impact of $4.4 billion. The industry, however, faces a shortage of workers in the state and nationwide, school officials said.

Evening classes in Maritime Services Technology will continue this fall with funding from the Career Technical Initiative, or CTI, grant. The training would be available free of charge to anyone who qualifies as underemployed or unemployed, Lynch said.

“The Baker-Polito administration has been incredibly supportive of vocational technical education, and the Whittier Tech community has benefited,” Lynch said. “The Maritime Services Technology Overnight program has been a great success and we are excited about the opportunity to expand it to even more students.”

Skills Capital Grants are awarded to educational institutions that feature partnerships with local businesses and whose curriculum and degrees aim to meet the demand of the state’s growing industries.

More than 300 educational programs have received financial support from the Skills Capital Grant initiative, which has awarded approximately $92 million and is overseen by Governor Charlie Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet.

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