Massachusetts: Investing In The Future

Across Massachusetts, new funding for higher education and STEM programs throughout grade levels will support the next generation workforce.

By BF Staff
From the May/June 2022 Issue

In April, Governor Charlie Baker announced along with Lt. Governor Karyn Polito planned investments totaling more than $120 million into four public colleges and universities in the state of Massachusetts. The focus is to renovate and expand campus facilities that further students’ skills in STEM fields, and the recipient institutions are Salem State University, Massasoit Community College, Springfield Technical Community College, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Each will each receive $30 million for major capital projects that will modernize campus facilities to support STEM instruction and expand the number of skilled workers in key STEM occupations. The improvements will increase enrollment capacity in these programs by about 2,000 students.

Also announced by the Administration in April is a $165 million program to make critical infrastructure upgrades at higher education campuses over the next five years. The first four awards of the new Critical Building Infrastructure Program, totaling over $60 million, will support projects at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Northern Essex Community College, Berkshire Community College, and Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Massachusetts STEM
The city of Marlborough is ranked by MassBio as a Platinum Level Bio-Ready community, suited for life science, bio-manufacturing, and R&D industries. (Photo: Marlborough Economic Development Corporation)

Supporting the life sciences industry in the state is MassBio (Massachusetts Biotechnology Council), a group with a mission to grow the industry, add value to the healthcare system, and improve patient lives. Founded in 1985, MassBio works to advance policy and promote education, while providing member programs, events, industry information, and services for the state’s life sciences cluster—#1 in the world.

MassBio has developed a rating system to determine a municipality’s readiness to host biotechnology facilities based on the community’s zoning practices and infrastructure capacity. BioReady® rates communities in four tiers from Bronze up to Platinum. Through these ratings, MassBio seeks to provide cities and towns a platform to tell their stories that will ultimately help biotechnology companies find the most favorable destinations to locate. There are currently 90 BioReady communities across the Commonwealth.

City Of Marlborough: Strong Support Systems

The City of Marlborough and the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) are well positioned for continued success in the years to come. Since 2012, employers in Marlborough, MA, have added thousands of new jobs to the city and filled more than two million square feet of commercial real estate space. At the end of 2021, the city’s unemployment rate was 3%, below both Massachusetts and national levels.

Executive Director, Meredith Harris, noted that MEDC works creatively with employers to help find the talent they need through their school-to-business initiative. She said by working with administrators at Marlborough Public Schools (MPS) they can facilitate business connections, in which students are given opportunities for work-based learning and hands on training with companies in the community that will help them achieve future success in their careers.

MEDC’s livestreamed events include guests from Quest Diagnostics, Cytiva, UMass Memorial – Marlborough Hospital, as well as representatives from the state and city to highlight available job opportunities and connect students and residents with live and interactive conversations, some of which are included in school curriculums.

“From supporting the professional development of teachers to building a new, innovatively designed elementary school, the city focuses on the importance of education,” said Harris. She noted that Marlborough High School has a nationally recognized STEM and early college high school program affiliated with Harvard. Marlborough is also home to Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, a dynamic vocational school and Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School, which ranks as one of the top best high schools in Massachusetts.

Launched in 2019, the Marlborough STEM Council is a first-time collaboration between the local high schools, MEDC, MassHire Career Centers, Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce, and representatives from local life science and biotech companies. The council’s goal is to create working relationships between the schools’ STEM programs, allowing students to cross-collaborate and benefit from the variety of resources available at each institution. The group also aims to give students exposure to local STEM companies and the kind of jobs they offer.

The City of Marlborough is a leader for its economic development planning, policies, and accomplishments in both the MetroWest region as well as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The city maintains its ranking by MassBio as a Platinum Level Bio-Ready community allowing the life science, bio-manufacturing, and R&D industries to continue to grow and be welcomed in the city.

The city has an existing cluster of top-tier companies, such as Boston Scientific, GE Healthcare, Hologic, Quest Diagnostics and Sunovion proving that Marlborough is an attractive hub for this type of growth. In recent years, companies such as Cytiva, Repligen, Allegro MicroSystems, and StageBio, have made Marlborough their home. In 2021, Resilience, Aspen Aerogels, and BJ’s Wholesale Club announced expansion plans and moves to Marlborough which will result in 1,000 plus new jobs to the city.

The city is widely known as a community that encourages growth and is a willing partner for businesses looking to expand or relocate their operations, which is why increasingly more companies are making Marlborough their regional, national, and global headquarters.

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