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NEW: MA Expands STEM Programs to Support Workforce Development

Thursday, December 13, 2012

 

Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray announced on Thursday that five designated Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs will expand across the state to support the Commonwealth’s goals of improving workforce development and increasing student retention among college graduates in Massachusetts.

Murray, Chair of the STEM Advisory Council, also announced that in addition to approximately $428,000 awarded through the state’s STEM Pipeline Fund, these expanded programs have identified matching funds at the targeted 3:1 ratio totaling more than $1.3 million from participating corporations, private foundations, and federal government sources to enhance state assistance.

Known as the @Scale Initiative, the STEM Advisory Council has collaborated with government, academia, and the private sector to “scale up” existing programs in Massachusetts, replicating models and best practices to reach more students and adults studying and pursuing STEM education and careers. Now in its second phase, @Scale II is focusing on two new goals of the statewide STEM Plan released by Lieutenant Governor Murray in 2010: improving STEM workforce development and increasing graduation rates of students in STEM college majors in Massachusetts.

“Following the release of the Commonwealth’s first statewide STEM Plan in 2010, the STEM Advisory Council is proactively working towards fulfilling critical goals to enhance and support STEM initiatives across the state,” said Murray. “By expanding these five programs today, we are partnering with stakeholders in the public and private sectors to help more students and workers achieve opportunities in STEM education, jobs, and workforce development.”

Of the five programs announced today, Murray provided a brief overview of the Broadening Advanced Technological Education Connections (BATEC) initiative, based out of the University of Massachusetts Boston, to help close the skills gap and fill Big Data and middle skills jobs within the Information Technology (IT) sector, a priority of the Patrick-Murray Administration. Receiving just over $89,000 in state funding through the STEM Pipeline Fund, the BATEC proposal is also receiving $275,000 through the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), in-kind donations, and from Massachusetts-based companies including EMC Corporation, IBM, and Oracle to expand this IT initiative to community colleges.

"Talent is the number one issue our companies are facing when it comes to growth. MassTLC is excited to be partnering with BATEC on this grant and other important initiatives that will help the next generation of workers understand and prepare for the skills that will provide them meaningful jobs in the dynamic, accelerating Big Data sector," said Tom Hopcroft, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC).

As a result of this partnership, BATEC will start working with Bunker Hill Community College and plans to soon scale up to three other community colleges to address workforce gaps specifically within data and analytics. Through targeted training and education programs, this initiative will assist current students as well as displaced and/or incumbent workers with a Fast Track Certificate Program in Data Management beginning in the fall of 2013. 

 

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