Governor Deval Patrick today met with students and faculty at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) to discuss the importance of investments in education to expand opportunity and growth in the Commonwealth.
"Our Innovation Economy relies on a high-knowledge, well-skilled workforce, and in order for Massachusetts to remain competitive in the 21st century global economy, our commitment to excellence and opportunity for all of our students must start earlier, run deeper, and be sustained longer," said Governor Patrick.
The Governor has proposed bold investments at all levels of the Commonwealth's education system including higher education, quadrupling the amount of direct financial aid to students through the MASSGrant program and increasing support to our public campuses to enhance student services and help make college more affordable for students and families in Massachusetts.
"By investing in education, we are thereby investing in our students, their future and the Commonwealth's future," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "The Governor's education plan proposes to increase access for all students from early education through higher education, opening more doors for opportunity to compete with innovative skills like science, technology, engineering and math and to become valuable assets for our growing economy."
During the visit, the Governor met with students in the Machinist Training Program within the Mechanical Engineering Technology Program at STCC, which provides students with a unique combination of theoretical and practical knowledge of today's design and manufacturing industries. The Machinist Training Program is part of the Precision Machine Regional Alliance Project, funded by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and includes partners from STCC, the local workforce board, local vocational-technical schools and over 60 manufacturing employers. Graduates of the Mechanical Engineering Technology Program have found successful employment at several local precision manufacturing companies including Ben Franklin Design and Manufacturing, Berkshire Industries, EBTEC Corp., Hayden Corp., Hoppe Tool, Inc., Mitchell Machine, Peerless Precision, Inc., Tell Tool, Inc., and Smith and Wesson.
Several students the Governor met with today are also being served by the MASSGrant program, a need-based financial assistance program awarded to undergraduate students who live in Massachusetts and are enrolled in an approved college or university. The Governor's education proposal would quadruple the amount of funding for the MASSGrant program by investing an additional $112 million in MASSGrant in FY14. The Governor's proposal also includes $20 million in new funding to our community colleges to allow them to expand programs like the Machinist Training program at STCC, and accelerate their efforts to provide students with the knowledge and skill training needed to succeed in the workplace.
"We know that success in today's 21st century global economy means some level of post-secondary education for all students," said Education Secretary Matthew Malone. "This investment proposal will help us create clearer, more affordable pathways to college and career so that all students are prepared to compete and succeed."
"Our advanced manufacturing industry is positioned to grow after embracing innovation and global competition," said Greg Bialecki, the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development. "With an anticipated 100,000 jobs to fill in manufacturing over the next decade, we need to ensure young adults are aware of the strong jobs and careers the industry offers, and make sure available workers have the skills required to thrive in the industry."
"We are overjoyed that Governor Patrick is proposing new funds for community colleges and public higher education in general that will help students complete their education and secure jobs in Massachusetts," said Springfield Technical Community College President Ira H. Rubenzahl. "It's a win-win for the Commonwealth. Students will obtain better paying jobs and employers' needs will be met with a well-educated workforce."