Few Options at Area Vocational Schools, Watertown to Work with Students to Find Best Solution

Medford High School and Vocational Technical High SchoolOne of the options for Watertown students seeking a vocational education is in Medford. The options for Watertown students looking for a trade or vocational training program have shrunk recently, but local school officials will work with them to try to find a place for them at Watertown High School or in surrounding districts. The School Committee heard the report from the Vocational, Technical, and Career Education Options Ad Hoc Committee on March 27, and unanimously adopted the recommendations. The study of vocational programs in Watertown and at other schools in the area found that spots are difficult to find these days, especially for incoming ninth-graders in the fall of 2023. School Committee member David Stokes, the chair of the ad hoc committee, said that many of the schools in the area have been undergoing changes in leadership, have recent or ongoing construction projects, or both.

Vocational Committee’s Draft Recommendations Urge Students to Apply to Medford

Medford High School and Vocational Technical High School

A committee looking at vocational education options for Watertown students recently created a set of draft recommendations, including that Watertown students apply to Medford’s vocational program and to continue to examine whether the City should join the Minuteman Vocational High School district. The Ad Hoc Career, Vocational, and Technical Education (CVTE) Committee has been meeting for months, and the chair, School Committee member David Stokes, presented the draft report to the School Committee on Dec. 5. The draft report, and the recommendations, will be discussed at the CVTE Committee meeting on Monday, Dec. 12.

Watertown Student Completes Evening Workforce Skills Course Aimed at Adults

Minuteman High SchoolPictured here are adult students who completed the MTI Automotive Technology program in the spring of 2022: (from left) Anthony Luca of Arlington, Declan Gallagher of Watertown, Brandon Perry of Peabody, instructor William O’Neill, Andrew Caron of Bedford, Armand Pishdochian of Waltham, and Samuel Cluett of Acton. The following information was provided by Minuteman High School:

Twenty-three adult students from the Greater Boston area recently completed evening courses in automotive technology, carpentry, cosmetology, and electricity at Minuteman Technical Institute in Lexington. These students have gained critical knowledge in trades with high demand for skilled workers and that provide long-lasting, economically sustainable careers. Minuteman Technical Institute (MTI) – the adult evening division of the Minuteman Regional Technical School District – offers 10-month and 15-week career technical education programs throughout the year. The 15-week programs are tuition-free for most applicants due to support from the Massachusetts Workforce Skills Cabinet.MTI is accepting registration for tuition-free 15-week programs that begin in September: CNC Machine Operator, Carpentry Pre-Apprentice, Facilities Manager, Robotic Technician, and Welding.

Watertown Exploring Variety of Options for Vocational Education

The group exploring vocational and technical education options for Watertown students has found a variety of possibilities, but the ad hoc committee has not come up with recommendations yet. Watertown could look to join a vocational high school district, join into an agreement with another community that has a vocational program, expand the number of offerings at WHS, or use a combination of those options, said School Committee member David Stokes, who chairs the Vocational Technical Ad Hoc Committee. “It seems like we haven’t gotten very far, but we have done a whole lot,” Stokes said. “We are farther along than a lot of people think, because we haven’t produced anything yet, but it is coming shortly.” The committee was formed after students seeking vocational or technical education programs struggled to get into Minuteman High School in Lexington.

Minuteman Student from Watertown Earns SkillsUSA Medal

Minuteman High School vocational technical school in Lexington. The following announcement was provided by Minuteman High School:

Seven Minuteman High School students recently received gold medals at the 2022 SkillsUSA Massachusetts Awards Ceremony and will head to the national competition in Atlanta this fall. In total, 16 students from Minuteman received medals at the state competition. SkillsUSA is a national organization that strives to teach workplace, personal, and technical skills to high school and post-secondary students. Minuteman and numerous other career technical education high schools participate in the statewide competition each year. Students often present projects they have completed that demonstrate the core SkillsUSA framework, which includes workplace skills, personal skills, and technical skills that are grounded in academics.

Committee to Study Vocational Education Finalized, Will Get Help from Consultant

The ad hoc committee that will study vocational and career education available to Watertown students will have four members of the public, and a consultant will assist members. The Vocational, Technical, and Career Education Options Ad Hoc Committee will have a total of nine members, and will meet monthly from February to June. Ultimately, it will come up with recommendations to the School Committee. The committee was formed after access to Minuteman High School was reduced for Watertown students after the vocational school opened its new campus in September 2019. Watertown is not a member district, but instead pays tuition for students to attend the school located in Lexington.