BOSTON — Agawam, Atlantis Charter School in Fall River, Brockton and Burlington high schools will launch new Innovation Pathway programs this fall to give students skills and experience in particular industries through college courses and internships after recently receiving official designation status from the Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education and Higher Education, the Baker-Polito Administration announced today.
More than 1,000 students are expected to be enrolled in these college and career pathways when the new programs are fully enrolled. Twenty-five high schools in the Commonwealth now have Innovation Pathway programs designated by the state.
Launched in 2017, Innovation Pathways give students experience in a specific high-demand industry, such as information technology, engineering, healthcare, life sciences and advanced manufacturing, through coursework and internships at local area 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.
“Innovation Pathways provide students with important additional knowledge and direction so they are prepared to pursue careers in high-demand industries in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our administration is very thankful to the high school administrators who are doing the hard work to launch these new career pathways so students in the Commonwealth are better prepared for success after graduation.”
“Innovation Pathways also create strong partnerships with employers 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,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “Governor Baker and I hope exposure to STEM subjects through these newly named programs will inspire students to further their studies and move toward growing careers in Massachusetts.”
The Governor’s education funding legislation, An Act to Promote Equity and Excellence in Education, proposed a new enrollment category that will provide additional funding for high schools that implement Early College and Career Pathway programs. The bill - still under consideration by the Legislature - would create a dependable revenue stream as part of a school district’s Chapter 70 aid for every student enrolled. Currently there are approximately 2,400 students enrolled in early college and career pathway programs.
“These new pathways will help address one of the Commonwealth’s biggest challenges in education – making sure students are prepared for college and careers,” Education Secretary James Peyser said. “Innovation Pathways, and its sister program early college, give students real experience in college and the workplace while they are still in high school, which is critical to ensure their future success.”
“I am happy to see more schools offer students the chance to explore subjects first-hand both in internships and through college courses,” Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley said. “These opportunities put students on a solid path to future possibilities.”
“I see this as an excellent opportunity for experiential learning,” said Carlos E. Santiago, Massachusetts Commissioner of High Education. “We know that training and retraining will be part of students’ futures and an ongoing part of their adult lives, so the more opportunities they have to ‘learn how to learn’ in both academic and work-based settings, the better.”
Four high schools received official designation for new Innovation Pathway programs:
Agawam High School – Agawam, MA
Agawam High School is launching an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Pathway that will serve 466 students when fully enrolled. The school is partnering with the MassHire Hampden County Workforce Board and multiple employer partners, including the Western Mass. Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association, Peerless Precision, Governor's America Corporation, Mechanical Plastics, OMG Roofing Products, Ben Franklin Manufacturing, EBTEC Corporation, and DFF Corporation. Students will take courses at Springfield Technical Community College.
Atlantis Charter School – Fall River, MA
Atlantis Charter School is launching three Innovation Pathways, including Advanced Manufacturing, Business & Finance, and Healthcare & Social Assistance that will serve 368 students when fully enrolled. The school is partnering with the MIT Integrated Design and management Program - SLOAN, the Southcoast Autism Center, and the Centre for Business and Entrepreneurship. Students will study Advanced Placement courses as well as have opportunities for job shadow, internships, and externships.
Brockton High School – Brockton, MA
Brockton High School is launching an Innovation Pathway in Healthcare that will serve 193 students when fully enrolled. The school is partnering with the MassHire Greater Brockton Workforce Board, area employers, and the Forsyth Institute Student Scholars Program. Students will take courses at Massasoit Community College, Bay State College, and Bridgewater State University.
Burlington High School – Burlington, MA
Burlington High School is launching an Innovation Pathway in Information, with a computer science focus, that will serve 88 students when fully enrolled. The school is partnering with the MassHire Metro North Workforce Board, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, Amazon Web Services, The MITRE Corporation, and Microsoft, among a number of other area employers.