College and Career Readiness

More Schools Pursue 'Innovation Pathways'

Four schools have received approval in Massachusetts to launch new "Innovation Pathway" programs this year and next. The goal of the programs will be to give students experience in specific industry through a combination of college courses and internships. That brings to 25 the number of schools in the state that run the same kind of programs, all of whom are expected to have an employer or workforce partner.

The pathways approach was launched in the state in 2017, to give students exposure to "high-demand industries" for their areas. Participants earn college credits at no cost and get the kind of experiences and courses that will help them decide whether to continue pursuing the field in college or as a career. The program is funded through a state grant.

Agawam High School will launch an advanced manufacturing program, that will serve 466 students when it's fully enrolled. Students will take courses at Springfield Technical Community College. The program includes support from a number of organizations, including the MassHire Hampden County Workforce Board and the regional chapter of the National Tooling & Machining Association as well numerous local companies.

Burlington High School is introducing a pathway in information, with a computer science focus, serving about 88 students. Help is coming from the MassHire Metro North Workforce Board, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and other area employers.

Atlantis Charter School will pursue three pathways, including advanced manufacturing, business and finance and healthcare and social assistance. Those students will tackle advanced placement courses and participate in internships, externships and job shadowing. Help for that program will come from MIT's Integrated Design & Management program, among other organizations.

The fourth school, Brockton High, is pursuing a pathway in healthcare, which will send students to Massasoit Community College, Bay State College, and Bridgewater State University for courses.

"Innovation Pathways provide students with important additional knowledge and direction so they are prepared to pursue careers in high-demand industries in the Commonwealth," said Governor Charlie Baker in a statement. "Our administration is very thankful to the high school administrators who are doing the hard work to launch these new career pathways so students in the Commonwealth are better prepared for success after graduation."

"I see this as an excellent opportunity for experiential learning," added Carlos Santiago, the state's commissioner of higher education. "We know that training and retraining will be part of students' futures and an ongoing part of their adult lives, so the more opportunities they have to 'learn how to learn' in both academic and work-based settings, the better."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.