September 9, 2022

Baker-Polito Administration Announces $14.6 Million to Support Life Sciences Workforce Development and STEM Education

39 awards will support new and expanded STEM curricula at 40 schools and enhance and expand industry-aligned training programs at 22 institutions; 25,000+ students will receive enhanced training and education opportunities that will better prepare them for exciting careers in the life sciences and other STEM fields

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced 39 grants totaling more than $14.6 million through two programs administered by the MLSC: the STEM Equipment and Professional Development Grant program and its Workforce Development Capital Grant program. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito made the announcement during a visit to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, an awardee of the MLSC Workforce Development Capital Grant program.

“By making investments in STEM workforce and educational opportunities, we can sustain and strengthen Massachusetts’ leadership in the life sciences and other STEM industries,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are grateful to partners across the Commonwealth for working with our administration to create more career pathways for students in these growing fields.”

“Today’s awards are representative of the type of commitment our administration has demonstrated to our STEM workforce and innovation economy,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “By investing in training and educational opportunities in regions across Massachusetts, including here on the Cape and Islands, we are preparing students for meaningful careers and positioning the entire state to leverage the growth of the life sciences and other STEM industries.”  

“The Baker-Polito Administration continues to invest in students, educators, and employers in order to further grow and support our advanced STEM workforce,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as MLSC Board Co-Chair. “We’re grateful for the work Massachusetts Life Sciences Center does administering resources for workforce training and educational programming that help Massachusetts maintain our competitive edge.”

“The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to investing in STEM education and career opportunities in the life sciences that will expand the talent pipeline employers need to grow,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan, who also serves as MLSC Board Co-Chair. “Through strategic investment and collaboration, we can build a strong pool of learners and future members of the Commonwealth’s thriving life sciences industry.”

The funding will support new and expanded STEM curricula at 40 schools and enhance and expand industry-aligned training programs at 22 institutions. More than 25,000 students will receive enhanced training and education opportunities that will better prepare them for exciting careers in the life sciences and in other STEM fields.

“From Boston to the Berkshires, the life sciences can offer transformational educational and careers opportunities to people throughout our Commonwealth,” said MLSC President and CEO Kenn Turner. “I am proud that under my tenure we launched a new effort to strengthen and diversify the Massachusetts life sciences talent pipeline by investing in robust and industry-aligned training programs. At the same, we are more bullish than ever that investment in our middle schools and high schools will continue to increase educational and regional equity for Massachusetts students.”

The MLSC Board of Directors approved $12.5 million in capital funding supporting 19 projects through the Center’s Workforce Development Capital Grant program. The funding is anticipated to serve more than 8,000 students. The program seeks to further the development and expansion of life sciences education and training programs offered by post-secondary academic institutions and non-profit organizations through capital investment in industry-aligned certificate and degree programs.

“We’re thrilled to enter into this partnership with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center to expand workforce development, specifically within the life sciences field,” said Rear Admiral Francis X. McDonald, USMS, President of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. “As we have seen, this area is vital to our daily lives, and also offers great career opportunities for people with a range of specialties, as well as immense growth.  We are excited to do our part in helping to train the workforce of tomorrow for jobs that will add so much to the betterment of the world.”

Mass Maritime is receiving $750,000 in MLSC funding to create and outfit a Phase I Instrumentation, Operation and Controls (IOC) engineering laboratory which will modernize, upgrade, and renovate existing resources specifically supporting each of Mass Maritime’s three undergraduate engineering degrees. The IOC will help close the skills gap ensuring students are well prepared to work successfully in plant and facility management, including those that support the growing life sciences industry and have demonstrated knowledge and skills in these specialized areas. The lab will also contribute to the Academy’s adult continuing and professional workforce development programs and supplement middle and high school career exploration programming.

“Cape Cod Community College is grateful for the support of the Commonwealth and the MLSC Board. This capital funding enables our faculty to expand educational opportunities through a new Biotechnology Certificate program and enhanced Biology and Health Sciences degree concentrations,” 4Cs’ President John Cox continued. “This is particularly beneficial for students preparing for regional opportunities as biotech and lab technicians, in research and development support, and allied health fields. This investment also leverages the College’s new lab and teaching facilities in the Frank and Maureen Wilkens Science and Engineering Center that opened this month for our students and community. This is a great moment for the life sciences across Massachusetts.”

“The grant program perfectly aligns with our district’s overarching mission of ensuring that all students have access to high-quality academic opportunities through real-world, hands-on education,” said Dr. Kerri Anne Quinlan-Zhou, Superintendent of Bourne Public Schools. “Furthermore, it compliments our new high school Innovation Pathway in Environmental/Life Sciences as well as our recent Pre-AP biology curriculum. With this funding our incredible educators will have more professional development to provide more authentic learning experiences in the life sciences that align with future college and career aspirations.”

The MLSC Board of Directors also approved $2 million in capital funding and teacher professional development funding supporting 20 projects through the Center’s STEM Equipment and Teacher Professional Development Grant program. The funding is anticipated to serve more than 17,000 students at 40 schools. Nearly 250 teachers will receive professional development opportunities through this funding round. The program seeks to prepare students for life sciences careers by enabling schools to purchase lab equipment, materials, supplies, and technology, as well as provide teacher professional development that supports implementation of advanced curricula and standards alignment.

Since its inception, the MLSC has awarded more than $21.7 million to nearly 250 high schools and middle schools. Funding has served schools in all 14 Massachusetts counties, all 26 Gateway Cities, and nearly 30 percent of all public middle and high school students. This funding has leveraged more than $2.5 million in cash and in-kind matching funds. On the workforce development capital front, the Center previously awarded more than $167 million to 34 colleges and universities to support the construction, renovation, and/or outfitting of life sciences laboratories and training facilities.

Full List of Workforce Development Capital Grant Awardees:

Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology $749,936
Bristol Community College $543,363
Cape Cod Community College $221,670
Framingham State University $20,600
Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute $578,824
Jewish Vocational Service, Inc. (JVS) $607,983
Just A Start $740,970
Lasell University $703,896
Life Sciences Consortium of the North Shore (Salem State; Endicott College; Gordon College; North Shore Community College) $1,657,837
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts $253,542
Massachusetts Maritime Academy $750,000
MassBay Community College $750,000
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences $630,600
Middlesex Community College $750,000
Quincy College $750,000
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth $749,966
University of Massachusetts Lowell $729,414
Worcester Polytechnic Institute $750,000
Worcester State University $658,071

Full List of STEM Equipment & Teacher Professional Development Grant Awardees:

Blackstone Valley Vocational Regional School District$73,268
Boston Collegiate Charter School$57,400
Bourne Public Schools$120,597
Gardner Public Schools$80,528
Global Learning Charter Public School$22,516
Gloucester Public Schools$54,137
Leicester Public Schools$30,992
Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation$77,395
McCann Technical School$24,350
Medford Vocational Technical High School$119,757
Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School$109,734
Norfolk County Agricultural High School$119,841
Quincy Public Schools$183,700
Somerville Public Schools$98,103
South Middlesex Regional Technical School District$36,873
TEC Connections Academy (TECCA)$189,814
Veritas Preparatory Charter School$135,206
Waltham Public Schools$64,877
Woburn Public Schools$240,000
Worcester Public Schools$220,810