Gateway Cities and the Grossman Plan for CVTE
Treasurer Grossman’s campaign released a plan for investing in career/vocational technical education last week. The plan hit upon a fundamental theme in the Gateway Cities Vision for Dynamic Community Learning Systems. “Dynamic” is included in the title of this education agenda — which Gateway City leaders built working collaboratively over the better part of 2013 — to highlight the fundamental need for learning systems that can respond more rapidly to the needs of employers in a changing economy.
One way to do this is through stronger vocational education. The Grossman plan focuses heavily on investment in vocational schools. Gateway Cities have been hungry for resources to upgrade the equipment in these facilities. Treasurer Grossman would continue the pace for modernizing equipment that Governor Patrick established in his most recent capital plan (~$1 million/year). Gateway Cities have also been frustrated by the long waiting lists that keep many of their students from enrolling in vocational schools. While the plan doesn’t provide a dollar figure, it pledges to increase funding for vocational schools to cut down on waitlists with “an emphasis on Gateway City regions.”A second component of the Grossman plan is creating more internships and co-ops for students in public colleges and universities. The plan suggests this will be accomplished by rallying private sector leaders and creating a website to capture internship opportunities. While this aligns with the Vision, Gateway City leaders are eager to increase exposure to work-based learning much earlier. Having contact with employers in middle and high school will help students, particularly disadvantaged youth, understand how their academic choices align with career choices while they are making critical decisions about coursework and degree programs. For this reason, the Gateway Cities Vision, like the Taskforce on College and Career Readiness, underscores the need for investment in programs like Connecting Activities.
– Ben Forman