April 18—HAVERHILL — Whittier Regional Technical High School announced it had received a $181,778 state skills grant to expand daytime and evening offerings, with the goal of creating a new course career paths in marine services technology for high school students.
Whittier has offered marine services technology as part of its evening adult education program since last year, 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 daytime curriculum, Lynch said, adding that if approved, services technology maritimes will be offered as an exploratory class for incoming ninth graders in the 2022-2023 school year.
Marine Service Technology would be Whitter Tech’s 23rd pathway, among the most offered by any career 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, 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. However, the industry faces a shortage of workers in the state and nationwide, school officials said.
Maritime Services Technology evening classes will continue this fall with funding from the Career Technical Initiative (CTI) grant. The training will be available at no cost to those who qualify 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 Night program has been a great success and we are delighted to have 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.
Through its Skills Capital Grants, the Baker-Polito administration has worked to increase the number of students enrolled in programs where they can learn and train for trades in high-demand careers. 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 Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet.