Cape Ann’s Model for Success

Last week, in his State of the Commonwealth address, Governor Baker announced the inclusion of the “Career Technical Institute Initiative” in his FY2021 budget proposal. This initiative would transform vocational schools in order to provide classes in shifts, allowing for greater use of these technical resources, just as we have done on Cape Ann with our partnership between Gloucester High School, Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School, and Craft Laborers Local 22.

In 2018, an MOU was signed between the Craft Laborers Local 22, Essex North Shore, and Gloucester High School. The agreement allows Gloucester High School students that were not accepted into the regional vocational school in their freshman year to enroll in a pre-apprenticeship program with Local 22 during their junior year. Gloucester High School students remain Gloucester Public Schools students, attending required courses for graduation at GHS in the morning and boarding a bus to Essex North Shore to study in a building trades pre-apprenticeship program with Craft Laborer instructors in the afternoon. Funding for bus transportation in the first year of the program was generously provided by Gloucester residents John and Mollie Byrnes.

This collaboration between Gloucester Public Schools, Essex North Shore, and Local 22 has allowed more students interested in the trades to enroll in a program based on a technical education and career path. Students that complete the program are guaranteed a job in Local 22 post-graduation. For these students, a career path is available with credited trade experience for profitable employment or it can serve as a path to help pay their way through college. Whichever path they decide to pursue, students are gaining invaluable life skills and are preparing themselves for the next chapter in their lives.

I am glad the Baker-Polito Administration has learned from the example and success of the Gloucester High School Craft Laborers Program and that our collaborative effort to create new educational and employment opportunities for our students is serving as a model for use throughout the Commonwealth.