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Education & Workforce Development

$2 Million US Department of Labor Grant Awarded for Mid-Massachusetts Science-Based Manufacturing Pathways Center

Forty nine partners in education, workforce development, and industry came together to develop a multi-faceted project around science-based manufacturing. The Central Mass. Regional Employment Board took the lead role in partnership with MassMEP, North Central MA Workforce Investment Board, and Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board for an exciting regional effort that kicked off in January 2009. The program focuses on expanded training and coordination of current STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities and resources at One-Stop Career Centers. Through the Centers, participants will have access to STEM coaches and mentors who will link program participants to employers, and offer advice and guidance on entering STEM fields. "Career blueprints" will outline career paths for individual participants. An online Virtual Center for Excellence will also provide participants with access to learning via courses delivered online, a mentor’s online community center, and an online career coach’s center.

A key program component is working with industry. The program is seeking any size company to assist in attracting skilled students and workers to enter this growing and competitive field. Industry opportunities include the Advisory Council, Mentor Program, and STEM Speaker’s Bureau. Industry participation provides insight and direction for the changing aspects of the industry and the resulting differences in workforce needs and requirements. Industry participation will also help shape education pathways – certificate programs, Associates Degrees, and Bachelors Degrees – for those seeking careers in the field. This allows industry to have a direct channel into shaping future employees and provides access to a well-trained labor pool.

STEM Project Director, Lisa Derby Oden, oversees the grant and has her office at Worcester Technical High School. For more information or to get involved, call her at 508-751-7575 or email [email protected].

Middle School Science & Engineering Fair
Career interests often start at an early age. The Massachusetts Middle School Science & Engineering Fair is a forum for students in grades 6-8 to explore through actual hands-on experience the many exciting and emerging fields of science and technology today. The first Fair was held in 1999, and since that time, participation has been on the rise. At the 2008 Fair, a total of 260 students from across the state presented 226 individual and team projects.

Worcester Technical High School, One Skyline Drive, is the official host site of the 2009 Fair to be held on June 6, 2009, and University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester provides administrative facilities and services. Cabot Corporation, the Boston based global specialty chemicals company, is the official sponsor of the statewide middle school fair. In addition to the student projects on display, the Central MA STEM Network hosts a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Expo to showcase the work of Massachusetts STEM companies.

It is open to the public at 1:00PM and concludes with an Award Ceremony at 4:00PM in the school’s auditorium.  For more information, contact Sandy Mayrand at [email protected].

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