Governor Baker visited Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School in Franklin, MA to see the interdisciplinary collaboration happening during STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Week. Baker attended a special presentation earlier in the month at Thermo Fisher Scientific, where Graphic Communications students from Tri-County were being recognized for their submissions to the smART creative science art Contest. Their artwork was prominently displayed at the company’s new manufacturing facility. After seeing their impressive work, Governor Baker reached out to Tri-County to see what other innovative projects the students were working on. Students and staff toured Governor Baker through several of the school’s classrooms and programs to showcase the vital work our students are conducting. “The Governor made me feel proud to be pursuing a non-traditional career path of HVAC&R and gave me great motivational advice,” said Emmaline Lafleur, Grade 12 HVAC&R student from Seekonk.
A few of the Career Programs Governor Baker requested to visit during his tour were Metal Fabrication, Engineering & Advanced Manufacturing, and HVAC&R to witness the updates and modifications that the Skills Capital Grant have awarded these career programs. “The Governor was surprisingly funny and made us feel comfortable. He shared fascinating stories and showed a great interest in Tri-County and its students,” said Michel Emile, Grade 12 Engineering student from North Attleboro. The Skills Gap Grant was launched in 2015 with the goal of replacing outdated equipment and technology, mainly at vocational technical high schools and community colleges. Since its inception, the program has evolved into a crucial component of local workforce training by expanding the number of young people and adults that are trained and experienced with the newest technology used by local employers. “The governor’s visit was eye-opening for the both of us, we were excited and impressed to have him interested in what we do, and he seemed impressed to see what we do every day,” said Lorcan Bergeron, Grade 12 Engineering student from Medway.
“Due to Governor Baker’s leadership, the State of Massachusetts allocated over 160 million dollars for program improvements in vocational schools. Tri-County has been fortunate to be the recipient of a portion of these funds, which were used to upgrade equipment and add new programs- such as medical assisting,” said Dr. Karen Maguire, Superintendent-Director of Tri-County RVTHS. Tri-County has been awarded over $1 million since 2016 from the Skills Gap Grant. These funds allow Tri-County to modernize labs to continue providing students with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced knowledge to support high school and adult education classes as well as provide training and placement for underemployed individuals.
Governor Baker was presented with an official citation commemorating October 20 as Governor Charles Baker Day at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School from Dr. Maguire and the Tri-County School Committee. “We hope that the next Governor, along with our legislature, will pick up where Governor Baker left off and allocate funds to assist our communities with new building projects. This is a concern across the commonwealth as many communities are trying to find ways to rebuild some of our 50-year-old vocational school facilities,” said Dr. Maguire. Tri-County, built in 1977, is moving to the next steps in a proposed building project.