Bristol Community College has received $1 million, from the Baker-Polito Administration’s awarding of $5 million to five organizations in support of new STEM Tech Career Academies, designed to help more young people earn associate degrees and industry certificates in STEM fields.

The innovative STEM Tech Career Academies will launch as six-year programs that enable high school students to earn both a high school diploma and a post-secondary credential at a community college, at no cost to the students. The new initiative also aims to address equity and opportunity gaps in STEM industries.

The hybrid pathway focuses on partnerships between the community college, STEM employer and school district. Bristol will partner with neighboring B.M.C. Durfee High School, Somerset Berkley High School, Westport High School, Taunton High School and Attleboro High School to launch a STEM Tech Career Academy focusing on environmental & life sciences careers. The partnership will leverage Early College programs and includes Associates of Cape Cod, Celldex Therapeutics, and Waters Corporation as industry partners.

“Bristol Community College is grateful for the Baker-Politio Administration’s support for providing life-changing opportunities to explore lucrative STEM fields and careers, said Dr. Katie Ruggieri, Interim Dean of STEM, Bristol Community College. “This grant requires open equitable access to enrollment with a focus on under-represented students. This means that students can earn their high school diploma and Associate Degree in a seamless model. The cost-free post-secondary credential encompasses workplace learning, including mentoring worksite visits, speakers, project days and paid internships.”

STEM Tech Career Academies combine and extend key elements of the highly successful Early College and early career Innovation Pathways programs that were launched several years ago. The administration anticipates that by fall of 2023, more than 75 high schools will have students enrolled in Innovation Pathway programs and 65 high schools will have Early College programs, serving as starting points for STEM Tech Career Academies. The goal is to eventually enroll between 1,600 and 2,000 students in programs in the next few years.

In addition to Bristol Community College, Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology, MassBay Community College, Northern Essex Community College and Springfield Technical Community College, also received $1 million grants to launch STEM Career Tech Academies. 

“This new initiative will build off the success of our administration’s Early College and Innovation Pathway programs to create more intentional links between high schools, community colleges and employers,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “STEM Tech Career Academies will enable more high school students to earn degrees and credentials and provide more young people with skills and knowledge in STEM fields.”

For more information, view the official announcement from the Baker-Polito Administration, here.