BOSTON – A group of Blackstone Valley legislators are encouraging the Baker Administration to release $4 million in funding to support the expansion of Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School (BVT). The funding was authorized as part of a bond bill passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor last year.
The funding would enable BVT to maximize capacity in existing career technical programs by adding academic classrooms needed to complement available space in vocational technical shops. In addition to addressing waitlist issues, the building expansion would also allow for the addition of two new vocational programs.
“As the economy in the Heart of the Commonwealth continues to grow, the influx of new employers and job opportunities into our region means we must be prepared to support a strong, skilled workforce that meets the needs of the labor market,” said Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury). “It’s counterintuitive to invest in expanded economic development initiatives in the region while simultaneously limiting access to educational opportunities to support these high-demand employment areas.”
“Blackstone Regional Vocational Technical High School District, with its documented return on investment, annually earns unanimous support of its thirteen member communities for its operational budget,” said BVT Superintendent-Director Michael Fitzpatrick. “However, limited revenues of its municipalities do not allow or provide capital funding. The school district aggressively pursues competitive grants and donations and even self-funds roof repair projects; and Valley Tech has been recognized by the Massachusetts School Building Authority for its cost-effective approaches.”
“It is crucial that we invest in our youth as they are our future leaders,” said Representative David K. Muradian, Jr. (R-Grafton). “Education has always been a top priority of mine, and I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow colleagues and the Administration to release these funds.”
“Manufacturing and the trades continue to grow at an increased rate in Central Massachusetts,” said Senator Ryan C. Fattman (R-Sutton). “The commitment of these funds to Blackstone Valley Tech and our district will help create opportunities for students and the future of Worcester County. It also helps send a signal that we are willing to do our part and keep a pledge that we’ve made to our towns and the school.”
Blackstone Valley Regional Technical High School receives between 800 to 1,000 in-district applications for the 300 available seats in the freshman class. The school district is widely known to have the longest waitlist for enrollment out of any of the secondary school vocational technical programs in the Commonwealth. Currently, there are more than 500 candidates on the freshmen waitlist for the next school year.
BVT is one of the leading vocational training schools in Massachusetts. The school was recognized this year by the American Association of School Administrators as one of the top twenty-five high schools in the United States. Recently, BVT was also named as the only school in New England to earn distinguished system designation by the Project Lead the Way professional organization.