A group of Massachusetts manufacturing companies is reporting significant progress in efforts to ensure that vocational high schools are teaching students the skills that employers need.
This spring, 14 of the 30 Massachusetts vocational schools offering machining technology accepted an invitation from the Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Initiative Collaborative (MACWIC) to test the proficiency of students enrolled in their machining programs.
Results of the testing are to be announced Monday in Northampton. By passing the Applied Manufacturing Technology Pathway Certification exam, students will earn a Level 1 MACWIC certificate in Basic Manufacturing Skills.
MACWIC designed the Applied Manufacturing Technology Pathway Certification to create a standard instruction and evaluation process to help employers evaluate the skills of a job applicant. The first of the five levels of instruction includes shop math, blueprint reading, metrology and quality inspection, safety and work readiness.
Completion of levels one and two of the Pathway can lead to a pre-apprentice certificate, while completion of all five levels can lead to an associate’s degree in manufacturing technology.
The ultimate objective is for vocational schools to adopt all or a portion of the MACWIC machining curriculum. The Pathway is also designed for use in incumbent and dislocated worker training programs.
The Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP) and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) are giving Massachusetts vocational high schools that validate their Machine Tool Technology programs against the MAWIC credential access to the Pathway curriculum and online programing to support certificate instruction. The total value of the grant is $2.5 million.
The MACWIC program has been endorsed by AIM and received the association’s Gould Education & Workforce Development Award in 2013.
Massachusetts Vocational Schools with Machine Tool Technology Programs participating in the curriculum, testing, and online programing include:
- Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, Marlborough
- Bay Path Regional Vocational School, Charlton
- Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School, Upton
- C.H. McCann Regional Technology School, North Adams
- Franklin County Regional Technical High School, Montague
- Greater Lowell Regional Technical High School, Tyngsboro
- Essex (North Shore Regional) Technical High School, Middleton
- Putnam Vocational Technical High School, Springfield
- Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School, Billerica
- Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School, Northampton
- Somerville High School, Somerville
- Taconic High School, Pittsfield
- Whittier Regional Vocational High School, Haverhill
- Worcester Technical High School, Worcester
Several AIM member companies will assist MACWIC during the next year in efforts to secure participation in the certificate program by the remaining 16 vocational and technical schools that offer machining technology.