Massachusetts Schools Add 18 ‘Innovation Pathway’ Programs

Eighteen months after Massachusetts announced a three-year grant program for high schools across the state to develop "Innovation Pathway" career-readiness programs, a total of 49 schools have done so.

Massachusetts GOP Gov. Charlie Baker
Massachusetts GOP Gov. Charlie Baker
(AP/Winslow Townson)
(TNS) — In an effort to further prepare students for careers after high school, the state has recognized 18 schools offering “Innovative Pathway” programs in everything from business and finance to manufacturing and health sciences.

“These early career programs provide students tremendous opportunities for future success in and out of the classroom by building partnerships with local employers to equip students with experience and knowledge in a growing field,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement.

In October 2019, Baker and Lt. Gov. Karen Polito announced the availability of $1.8 million in grants over three years from American Student Assistance, a national nonprofit based in Massachusetts. The grants helped high schools across the state develop programs that prepare students for college and careers.

“We are very excited about this opportunity for our students and the continued expansion of our offerings,” said Patrick Danby, principal of West Springfield High School.

West Springfield High School is one of the schools recognized by the state for its three new programs in business and finance, health care and social assistance, and information technology. The programs will serve 280 students.

“With the expansion of our Innovation Pathways program we’ll focus on bolstering our new career pathways,” Danby said. “The pathways are designed to create strong partnerships with employers in order to expose students to career options and help them develop knowledge and skills related to their chosen field of study before they graduate high school.”

Other selected schools will incorporate the following programs:

  • Turners Falls High School in Montague is launching an additional program in manufacturing that will serve 20 students.
  • Atlantis Charter School in Fall River is launching a program in information technology that will serve 50 students.
  • Bartlett High School in Webster is adding programs in health care and social assistance and manufacturing that will serve 120 students.
  • Carver Middle-High School offers a program in manufacturing that will serve 75 students.
  • Chelmsford High School is launching two programs in business and finance and information technology that will serve 40 students.
  • Dearborn STEM Academy in Roxbury is launching a program in health care and social assistance that will serve 120 students.
  • Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School is launching a program in health care and social assistance that will serve 40 students.
  • Excel High School in South Boston is launching a program in information technology that will serve 150 students.
  • Swampscott High School is launching a program in manufacturing.
  • Uxbridge High School is launching a program in business and finance that will serve 100 students.
  • Worcester Public Schools is launching a program in environmental and life sciences at its six comprehensive high schools that will serve 45 students.
Schools that apply for an Innovation Pathway designation are required to follow five design principles including equitable access for all students; guided academic pathways relating to one of five broad industry sectors; enhanced student supports; relevant connections to careers; and partnerships between high schools, employers, and workforce development boards.

Schools that apply for an Innovation Pathway designation are required to follow five design principles including equitable access for all students; guided academic pathways relating to one of five broad industry sectors; enhanced student supports; relevant connections to careers; and partnerships between high schools, employers, and workforce development boards.

“It is a testament to the success and importance of these programs that despite the challenges of the last year, high schools moved forward with creating more early career opportunities for students,” said state Education Secretary James Peyser. “These programs give students relevant and valuable experience that helps them think about their future career paths, something that may have been sidetracked during the health crisis.”

More than 600 students are expected to enroll in the programs. With these new designations, there are now 49 high schools in Massachusetts with Innovation Pathway programs, with a total of 121 pathways. More than 4,000 students are projected to be enrolled in an Innovation Pathway program by the fall of 2021.

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