Nashoba Valley Technical High School received $125,000 in the latest round of Skills Capital Grants, announced Feb. 25 by Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.
The award is part of $14.6 million in awards to 54 educational institutions to update equipment and expand student enrollment in programs that provide career education.
Nashoba Tech will use the award to purchase equipment for the Culinary Arts and Hospitality programs, to be used after school and evenings, as well as during the regular school day.
According to the grant submission Nashoba Tech’s “plan is to modernize this area into a 21st-century work space. We will be purchasing new walk-in coolers and freezers and combi-ovens to train students on the latest kitchen technology. A new point-of sales-system and updated server stations will train students to expedite food service. The equipment will be used to train students in our existing high-school and postgraduate programs, as well as future post-secondary pathways and our summer programs for students in grades 4-8.”
Those summer programs for middle-schoolers are part of Nashoba Tech’s Summer Experience, four weeklong opportunities for middle-school students to receive hands-on training in several technical areas. Also, during the school year, Nashoba Tech hosts after-school Mini-Exploratory programs for middle-schoolers to receive hands-on training.
Chef-Instructor Carley Capraro said several new mixers have already been purchased with the grant money, helping to streamline operations in the bakery.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Bussiere, chef-instructor for the Hospitality program, said Nashoba Tech’s award-winning in-school restaurant, The Elegant Chef, will undergo some upgrades over April school break to “create a more modern atmosphere for the students, the public and the instructors.”
“More and more restaurants are using these combi-ovens,” Bussiere added, “so it will give the students an opportunity to work with more modern equipment that they’ll be working on after they graduate,”
In announcing the Skills Capital Grants, Gov. Baker said they’ll “help preserve the commonwealth’s talent pipeline by funding expanded enrollment and equipment upgrades at educational institutions to provide more students with in-demand skills sought by employers.”
Polito added: “The Massachusetts economy is firing on all cylinders, yet there remains a tight job market when it comes to skilled jobs, and Skills Capital Grants have enabled thousands of students across the commonwealth to gain knowledge and skills in order to be competitive in the job market.”
Nashoba Tech Superintendent Denise Pigeon said the district, which includes Ayer, Chelmsford, Groton, Littleton, Pepperell, Shirley, Townsend and Westford, is “thankful for the continued support of the Baker-Polito administration.
“We are grateful to receive another competitive Skills Capital Grant award that will support Nashoba’s ‘technical education reimagined’ initiative as we continue to modernize and upgrade our technical programs,” Pigeon said. “It will allow us to expand offerings in the evening as well as after school.
To date, the Baker administration has awarded more than $78 million in Skills Capital Grants to 280 different programs. Through Skills Capital Grants, schools have expanded their enrollment capacity in high-demand occupations, enabling more than 14,500 additional students to enroll in educational programs that are a priority for employers across Massachusetts.
Article caption: Joseph Mason, a Culinary Arts junior from Townsend, uses one of the new mixers in the kitchen of the in-school restaurant, The Elegant Chef. Nashoba Tech has received a Skills Capital Grant for $125,000 for upgrades to the kitchen and restaurant.
Jack Harrington, a Culinary Arts junior from Groton, uses one of the new mixers in the kitchen of the in-school restaurant, The Elegant Chef. Nashoba Tech has received a Skills Capital Grant for $125,000 for upgrades to the kitchen and restaurant.