The financing was awarded on June 3 as part of the Patrick Administration’s Vocational Opportunity Challenge grant program. Utilizing the one-time funding, vocational technical schools can purchase equipment for new and expanding vocational programs, with the ultimate goal of preparing the next generation of skilled workers.
“The VOC program demonstrates the Patrick Administration’s commitment to investing in the future of the Commonwealth,” Secretary for Administration and Finance Glen Shor stated in the grant announcement. “Through this program we are providing students with skills and tools to succeed academically and in the workplace.”
Blackstone Valley Tech’s portion of the $1.3 million in VOC grants will be invested in technological upgrades in its Manufacturing and Engineering Technology program. Through the purchase and installation of equipment including CNC/Manual toolroom lathes, simulator models, and academic bundles, the VOC grant will enable Valley Tech to become the Commonwealth’s first vocational technical school to house a fully-automated machine shop capable of preparing students to work with the advanced precision tools of the future.
“The relentless pursuit of additional revenue and industry support is a vital part of any vocational technical school’s success,” said Valley Tech Superintendent-Director Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick. “Each year, area taxpayers do their part in financing their vocational technical system. As a fiscally diligent partner of our member communities, it is up to us to seek and secure the additional funding necessary to maximize the return on their local investment.”
The grant financed equipment purchases will be matched by several of Valley Tech’s industry partners, including discounts from Haas Automation, CAM software licenses from Siemens, and continued training and support from the Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Innovation Collaborative (MACWIC).
Fitzpatrick noted that as a result of Valley Tech’s aggressive pursuit of outside sources of revenue and industry support, the District was able to complement local assessments in fiscal year 2014 by roughly $1.9 million.