The state has announced the availability of $1.8 million in grants to help high schools develop programs that prepare students for college and careers.
The Baker-Polito Administration also awarded grants to 21 Massachusetts high schools approved to develop Innovation Pathways programs aimed at giving students knowledge and internship experiences in growing industries in the Commonwealth. The grants totaled more than $354,000.
American Student Assistance, a national nonprofit based in Massachusetts that helps students find their path and plan for their future, chose to award the grant to the Governor’s Workforce Skills Cabinet to help fund college and career preparation programs, known as Innovation Pathways. This is the first time the organization has awarded a major grant to support college and career pathways in high schools.
Many of the Innovation Pathways programs at high schools are in STEM-related fields. Launched in 2017, Innovation Pathways give students experience in a specific high-demand industry through coursework and internships at local employers. Students earn college credits, at no cost to them, and gain insight as to whether the field is something they want to pursue in college or as a career. Industry sectors include manufacturing, information technology, environmental and life sciences, health care and social assistance and business and finance.
Across the Commonwealth, 26 high schools have designated Innovation Pathways, totaling 61 different programs. The 21 schools awarded grants today will be eligible for official designation from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Higher Education in spring 2020.
Schools that apply for designation for an Innovation Pathways are required to follow five design principles:
- Equitable access for all students
- Guided academic pathway, which, in the case of Innovation Pathways, must relate to one of five specified broad industry sectors
- Enhanced student supports
- Relevant connections to career
- Deep partnerships between high schools and employers or workforce development boards
The following western Massachusetts schools received Innovation Pathway planning grants:
Hopkins Academy- $15,000
Springfield Conservatory of the Arts- $21,000
Ware High School- $10,000