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QCC Plays Key Role in Vocational Adult Learning

February, 2020
  • QCC HVAC students Jason Laraia (L) and Brian Mele (R) with Governor Charlie Baker.
    QCC HVAC students Jason Laraia (L) and Brian Mele (R) with Governor Charlie Baker.
  • QCC students show Governor Baker the HVAC lab at WTHS.
    QCC students show Governor Baker the HVAC lab at WTHS.
  • Lt. Governor Polito listens to QCC students explain the project he is working on in the HVAC lab.
    Lt. Governor Polito listens to QCC students explain the project he is working on in the HVAC lab.
  • Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito with students from QCC's HVAC program and WTHS's plumbing and welding programs.
    Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito with students from QCC's HVAC program and WTHS's plumbing and welding programs.
  • President Pedraja with Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito
    President Pedraja with Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito
  • A Governor's roundtable discussion on vocational learning held at WTHS.
    A Governor's roundtable discussion on vocational learning held at WTHS.

Quinsigamond Community College President Dr. Luis Pedraja was part of a roundtable discussion with Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, and other state and local legislators to discuss the Governor’s new Career Technical Initiative. Held at Worcester Technical High School (WTHS), the event addressed the need for more adult programs at vocational high schools on February 12. In addition to Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Polito and President Pedraja, other state and local officials who took part in the roundtable discussion included:

  • Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Rosalin Acosta
  • Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Mike Kennealy
  • Senator Michael Moore
  • Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty
  • Worcester Superintendent of Schools, Maureen Binienda
  • Executive Director of the MassHire Central Region Workforce Board, Jeffrey Turgeon
  • WTHS Principal Kyle Brenner
  • Director of WTHS Night Life, Liz Tiley

The distinguished group toured the HVAC and plumbing programs that are held at WTHS and spoke with six students during the roundtable discussion who are in the HVAC, plumbing and welding programs.

QCC HVAC students Brian Mele, of Rutland, and Jason Laraia, of Sutton, described what it was like to be an adult learner taking part in the HVAC program in order to change careers. Mr. Laraia, currently a land surveyor, said he initially got into the program at the encouragement of his mother, who is also a QCC student. Both said they are enjoying the program and expect to use this to change and advance their careers.

QCC’s HVAC program, a partnership with WTHS and funded by a $431,900 Skills Capital Grant, was one such program that was highlighted during the roundtable discussion. The College’s HVAC program is also held at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School through a similar partnership.

“We are very excited about this partnership with WTHS,” President Pedraja told Governor Baker, noting the partnership QCC has with other schools such as Burncoat High School, which hosts the College’s automotive technology program.

“We are now trying to see how to articulate our programs into early college,” Dr. Pedraja added.

The Career Technical Initiative is designed to train 20,000 skilled trades workers over the next four years and the governor has included $15 million in his fiscal 2021 budget for this initiative.

“There’s a lot of people who want to be able to expand their career options,” President Pedraja said.

“The bottom line is that every single business you can think of is going to be playing in the STEM space,” Governor Baker said. “This is gratifying work we’ve done, but we have a long way to go.” 

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