Local and state officials discussed the importance of career and technical education in today’s workforce development and how this relates to Minuteman Career and Technical High School’s reconstruction plans at a Legislators Breakfast last Friday morning at the school.
Minuteman, and schools like it throughout the state, provide workforce-ready workers, according to Rebekah Lashman, senior vice president of Commonwealth Corp., a “quasi-public” corporation that focuses on workforce development in the state.
“Minuteman is a shining example of what our resources can do to help meet our workforce development needs," Lashman said at the breakfast, which was attended by about 30 people, including local legislators, school committee members from the school’s member districts and other local officials.
She said there is a high demand for “middle-skill” workers, or those who have achieved a high school diploma but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree. Schools like Minuteman also provide career and technical training to adults, which is vitally important to the state’s economy, she said, as adults can either advance their skills or learn new skills to better their careers.
As Minuteman officials work on a new regional agreement with their 16 member towns in order to move forward with their reconstruction plans, they said changing the school to replicate modern work environments is essential to its success. They also said a reconstruction would be necessary to attract students to the school.
“Minuteman is a school of choice,” said Alice DeLuca, Minuteman’s school committee chairwoman, “And students will not choose to come to a dilapidated school – especially as their own communities go through their own renovations and have brand new high schools.”
All 16 member towns would have to agree individually on any proposed capital project for it to be approved.
The school’s superintendent, Edward Bouquillon, also talked about the importance of a reconstruction project.
“We can’t let this wane,” he said of the school’s plans. “We have to be as diligent today as we were four years ago, [when we first discussed the plans].”
State Rep. Alice Hanlon-Peisch, a Democrat representing Wellesley, Weston and Natick, said school officials, and those from member districts, should contact their local legislators as questions about the process arise.
In addition to the discussion of a reconstruction, state Sen. Ken Donnelly, a Democrat from the Fourth Middlesex District, said he is the chief sponsor of the Middle-Skills Solutions Act, an amendment to the casino bill that would help strengthen ties between career and technical high schools, community and technical colleges and employers by establishing a regional council.