Assabet awarded $67,000 life sciences grant


Art Simas Community Reporter

Marlborough – Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School was one of four schools in central Massachusetts last month to receive grants to purchase lab equipment and train students as part of the state's STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educational initiative from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

Statewide, 32 educational institutions received $3.4 million in grants. According to Superintendent- Director Mary Jo Nawrocki, Assabet will get $67,116. Other central Mass. Schools receiving funds included Worcester Polytechnic Institute ($250,000); Mount Wachusett Community College ($100,000) and Worcester Technical High School ($85,829).

“A major portion of this grant will be used to fund equipment and professional development for an EKG Certification for our seniors in our Health Technologies program,” Nawrocki said. “Marlborough Hospital and the National Health Association are supporting this initiative… A smaller portion of the grant will be used for equipment for Biotechnology and Licensed Practical Nursing.”

She estimated 25-plus students in Health Technologies, and about 40 students in the Biotech and the Licensed Practicing Nursing programs will benefit annually from the grants.

“The plan is to purchase equipment and necessary texts with the grant funds now in order to begin the program in the 2011-2012 school year,” she said.

This is the first year for the program, which is expected to provide up to $250,000 to high schools, colleges and workforce training programs for businesses engaged in lifesciences related work.

Overall, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative includes a $1 billion investment package through 2018, to enhance and strengthen the state's leadership in the life sciences.

In December 2010, the center's Board of Directors awarded $23.9 million in tax incentives to 30 life sciences companies including $942,734 to Sunovian in Marlborough and $480,000 to Valeritas in Shrewsbury. The recipient companies have committed to creating nearly 1,000 new jobs in 2011. Sunovian and Valeritas have pledged to create 35 and 18 jobs, respectively.

“These tax incentives are providing a solid return on our state's investment in both the short and long term, with this year's round of recipients committing to create nearly 1,000 new jobs during the coming year,” said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

“We are utilizing these incentives to encourage the creation of jobs in sectors where Massachusetts is a global leader, and where jobs typically pay more than the average salary in the state. This tax incentive program is already working to stimulate our economy, while holding the companies involved accountable for their job creation commitments,” she said.

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