Congressman Kennedy Visits Tri-County VOC/TECH to Celebrate Grants From Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

January 17, 2014

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Grants to fund new equipment for life sciences training and supplies at vocational schools, high schools across the state

FRANKLIN, MA – Friday, January 17, 2014 - Congressman Joseph Kennedy joined the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) and local political and educational leaders today at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School in Franklin to celebrate the Center’s recently awarded round of grants for life sciences training and supplies at high schools across the state. Through the program Tri-County received a grant of nearly $100,000. Congressman Kennedy currently serves as Chair of Governor Patrick’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Advisory Council.

Governor Patrick and the MLSC last month announced more than $3.27 million in grants to support the purchase of life sciences training equipment and supplies for 35 public high schools and training programs throughout Massachusetts. Grant recipients include vocational technical schools, public high schools in Gateway Cities, Title 1, Part A high schools, high schools implementing innovative STEM curriculum, and workforce training organizations that support such high schools. Since its inception, the program has awarded nearly $8.5 million through three rounds of funding.

“Through investments in STEM education the Patrick Administration is preparing the workforce of tomorrow,” said Congressman Kennedy. “The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center’s grant program is ensuring that students across the state have access to the advanced equipment and supplies that are needed to prepare for careers in the life sciences.”

“Continuing to invest in STEM education in our schools will create new jobs and opportunities for the next generation of students and leaders in our economy,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “By partnering with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, these investments will allow students to gain more hands-on experience in the classroom, further engaging them in STEM fields that will get them excited about future careers in our innovative industries."

Awardees provide an array of training ranging from general STEM education curricula to biotechnology. The student population that will benefit from these equipment grants represents a diverse workforce.

The grant program seeks to further the development of the state’s life sciences workforce by providing funding of up to $250,000 per institution for life sciences equipment and supplies. To be eligible for an award of greater than $100,000, applicants must have secured matching funds or in-kind donations from an industry partner that supports the training program for which the equipment and supplies are needed. Industry sponsors have contributed nearly $300,000 in matching funds and in-kind donations as part of this year’s program.

“Training students to enter the life sciences workforce is a critical part of the Center’s mission,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC. “We want to make those opportunities available to all students across the state, which is why we have focused resources in this round of grant awards on our voc/tech schools, and public high schools in our gateway cities. These investments will both strengthen and diversify our life sciences workforce in Massachusetts.”

“At Tri-County we are very excited to host this celebratory event sponsored by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center in collaboration with Congressman Joseph Kennedy” said Stephen Dockray, Superintendent at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical School District. “This grant award of just under $100,000 will allow us to add a Biotechnical Engineering component to our already successful Chapter 74 Engineering Technology Program and give our students the skills and experiences needed to succeed in the life sciences work force.”

"The funding for equipment and supplies provided by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center assists the vocational technical and agricultural schools across the Commonwealth in remaining "state of the art" in STEM education,” said David Ferreira, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators. “This partnership with MLSC assists our schools in remaining leaders in the country in preparing graduates for postsecondary education and the workforce of the future."

“Thanks to this grant, students in our community will now be able to further benefit from critical training in the life sciences and STEM fields,” said State Senator Karen Spilka. “These types of high-quality educational resources not only prepare our children for success in higher education and in the 21st century workforce, but also help Massachusetts businesses to meet their hiring needs.”

“It’s exciting to see this opportunity for Tri-County to enhance the life sciences program at the school,” said Representative Jeffrey N. Roy (D–Franklin). “We are delighted that vocational education is being recognized in this way, and we appreciate Rep. Kennedy’s leadership and advocacy on behalf of Tri-County. Our students will be well-served by these enhancements to the program.”

The 35 schools and programs that are receiving awards, the city or town in which they are located, and the amount of their grant can be found here.

About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an investment agency that supports life sciences innovation, research, development and commercialization. The MLSC is charged with implementing a 10-year, $1-billion, state-funded investment initiative. These investments create jobs and support advances that improve health and well-being. The MLSC offers the nation’s most comprehensive set of incentives and collaborative programs targeted to the life sciences ecosystem. These programs propel the growth that has made Massachusetts the global leader in life sciences. The MLSC creates new models for collaboration and partners with organizations, both public and private, around the world to promote innovation in the life sciences. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.

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