A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Commemorating the Opening of Our Biotechnology Program as Industry Grows in Massachusetts – January 13, 2022
While the biotech industry in Massachusetts continues to grow, so does the need for talented employees. With a history of providing our students with in-demand skills through vocational training, we officially commemorated the opening of our Biotechnology program with a ribbon cutting ceremony on December 8th.
Held in the bright new shop, the ceremony began with a warm welcome from Principal Anthony Steele. "It's a pretty special day to have a ceremony and open a new shop. It doesn't happen every day," said Steele. "It's a complex process to start a Chapter 74-approved vocational-technical education program, and it takes a village to bring this all together. It's an honor to welcome our first incoming Biotechnology class. Forever in our school history, these 16 students will hold this title."
Principal Steele mentioned that the renovation was primarily an in-house project recognizing the contributions and hard work of the Facilities team, who helped transform and wire the vocational space at a cost-savings for the district with the help of students.
The ceremony included remarks from Superintendent Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick. "This is an incredibly joyous day to see the expansion of new opportunities, said Fitzpatrick." Frankly, each of our 19 vocational programs upgrades every year and changes the skills sets we call competencies. So, in reality, we're opening new programs, curriculum, training, and expertise in every program every year, and the same is true for our academic programs. While we are eager to expand new programs, we have to do so in moderation while working with our legislators to compliment available dollars and reasonably pursue grants."
The ceremony continued with guest speaker, State Senator Michael Moore. "The beauty of vocational schools is how they've evolved with the economy," said Moore. "We have so much need for skilled laborers. This curriculum opens up so many doors – from the businesses that will hopefully be employing you – to the students taking up these skills – there will be many opportunities to advance yourself in the biotech sector. This program is a great achievement for the school."
Principal Steele then introduced Vocational Director Dr. Matthew Connors, who completed the lion's share of the initial planning and spearheaded the project. Dr. Connors explained that from thought to finish, the entire process took two years. He discussed the new technology and equipment in the lab, the future job outlook four years from now available to its students, and thanked everyone who helped make the concept of this shop a reality.
"If ever there was a time to build a Biotechnology facility, it was during the height of the global pandemic where students are interested and have a desire to make a difference," said Dr. Connors. "There is a community need, a student desire, and an apropos time if you will, and we've brought that all together, which is exciting."
To determine which student would help cut the ribbon, Vocational Director Michele Denise pulled a name. Isabelle Kling said, "I was surprised to hear my name called. It was surreal. Since elementary school, I had wanted to go to BVT, but I never thought I would be cutting the ribbon of a new shop."
The ceremony concluded with Principal Steele, Advisory Member Kristin Gothier, Instructor Susan Piraino, Vocational Director Dr. Connors, Superintendent Dr. Fitzpatrick, and Biotechnology freshman Isabelle Kling cutting a beautiful purple ribbon.
After the ceremony, Kallie Allen of Hopedale donned a new lab coat for a quick picture with her dad to remember the moment. She said, "As the first Biotechnology class enrolled at BVT, I am excited to set the blueprint for this program. A big thank you to everyone involved. I wouldn't be in this shop if it weren't for them."
We are proud to continually contribute to a workforce pipeline that benefits employers, students, and communities. More information about our Biotechnology program is available at: www.valleytech.k12.ma.us/biotechnology.