As part of the second annual Massachusetts STEM Week, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced $320,000 in funding to Greater Lawrence Technical High School and Stacks + Joules to support clean energy curriculum development and workforce training for Massachusetts high school students. The grants, totaling $160,000 each, will fund hands-on learning and academic training programs that prepare students to pursue clean energy and STEM higher education majors and careers.
“It is vital that we give Massachusetts students every opportunity to learn and engage in STEM education, including clean energy,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “While supporting these unique educational opportunities through the Learn and Earn program, we are also investing in the future of the Massachusetts workforce by training the students that will one day help us grow this important sector of the Commonwealth’s innovation economy.”
“Hands-on programs like Learn and Earn allow students to gain exposure to new technologies and engage with STEM education in a meaningful way beyond the classroom setting,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The Baker-Polito administration is committed to helping students explore career and academic interests within STEM fields and is pleased to partner with our schools to advance forward-thinking educational experiences.”
The Learn and Earn program provides grants to schools where students can experience learning opportunities and careers in clean energy and STEM fields. Selected applicants will design and deliver a training program to high school students that provides career exploration, work readiness training, paid work-based learning that focuses on clean energy and dual enrollment that provides credit from a high education institution.
“Learn and Earn offers a unique educational experience for these students and reinforces the state’s commitment to addressing climate change,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “By engaging the next generation of Massachusetts workers in growing fields such as clean energy, we are building upon the Commonwealth’s robust innovation sector.”
“By working closely with local high schools and organizations we are able to offer Massachusetts students an extraordinary opportunity to gain valuable work experience while supporting the state’s efforts to expand STEM education,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “As the clean energy economy continues to grow and evolve in the Commonwealth, a highly-skilled workforce will be critical to its success, and the Learn and Earn program is focused on helping these students take advantage of job opportunities in the future.”
Since the Learn and Earn program launched in 2014, over 380 high school students have participated and received employment during the summer as well as academic training focusing on clean energy during the school year.
MassCEC awarded $160,000 to each of the following institutions:
Greater Lawrence Technical School: Students will participate in a year-long program that focuses on creating a Carbon-Free Community, with special focus on solar and wind technology. The program includes a project in which students will design, construct, and implement a miniature wind turbine and solar array in their school and community.
Stacks + Joules: A Massachusetts non-profit provides training to marginalized high school students in a three-credit Building Automation course. Additionally, the program offers work experience with Boston University Facilities Department, which manages over 300 commercial and residential buildings, and works with Albireo Energy to implement smart building solutions.
According to MassCEC’s 2018 Clean Energy Industry Report, employers would benefit from an educational development in clean energy and STEM topics, as nearly three-quarters of employers reported hiring difficulty over the last year, with 65 percent of employers reporting it was at least ‘somewhat difficult’ to find qualified candidates for open positions. One of the greatest challenges facing Massachusetts’ rapidly growing innovation economy is the gap between available jobs in STEM fields and qualified workers to perform them.
“I’m thrilled that this funding will be made available to students in my district,” said State Senator Barry Finegold (D-Andover). “We are facing a climate crisis and need to prepare our students for clean energy careers. This year-long program focused on solar and wind technology will give students valuable hands-on experience. Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center for providing this opportunity to our young people.”
“Greater Lawrence Technical School is constantly on the cutting edge of science and technology, and this funding from MassCEC will further encourage students there to push themselves academically in pursuit of the solutions to the challenges of both today and tomorrow,” said State Representative Frank Moran (D-Andover). “Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and MassCEC for this tremendous gift to our students.”