Grants to boost career pathway programs at Gateway, Hopkins, Granby schools

  • Hopkins Academy in Hadley is one of three Hampshire County school districts to receive grants through the state’s Innovation Career Pathways program. Hopkins plans to offer a career pathway in the clean energy sector. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 10/4/2023 7:53:38 AM
Modified: 10/4/2023 7:52:37 AM

Three Hampshire County school districts have landed state grants to launch new career programs for high school students in the areas of clean energy, manufacturing and health care.

The largest of the Innovation Career Pathways grants will go to Gateway Regional High School in Huntington, which will receive $25,000 to start its first pathways curriculum program focusing on manufacturing and health care.

Hopkins Academy in Hadley will receive $12,000 from the state-funded program to launch a pilot program to get high school students involved with and to become leaders in a future climate workforce.

Meanwhile, Granby High School will receive about $7,900 to plan its first Innovative Career Pathways curriculum, building on its existing class offerings in technology.

The three districts are among 31 high schools statewide getting almost $650,000 to plan new Innovation Career Pathways programs. The schools use the funds to develop and map out curriculum, pursue partnerships with local businesses and higher education institutions, and explore internship possibilities and project opportunities, with the goal of establishing new pathways the following school year, or for the fall of 2024.

Gateway’s plans

Gateway Regional’s Curriculum Director Deanna LeBlanc anticipates developing manufacturing and health care curriculums to fill the needs of local industries. These will be the first pathways added to the Gateway educational program.

LeBlanc also notes that along with the Barr Foundation’s Meeting the Moment grant awarded to the district, the Innovative Career Pathways research is one way Gateway is “rethinking the high school experience as a whole ... to create a more comprehensive experience for students.”

Hopkins Academy

Hopkins is one of six schools in Massachusetts that will be involved in the clean energy pilot, which is expected to help meet the workforce needs of the state’s clean energy economy. Since 2010, the clean energy industry has grown by 73%, accounting for more than 14% of all net jobs created in the state during that period. As of 2022, Massachusetts is one of only nine states with over 100,000 clean energy jobs, according to a report from a national business group.

Hadley Superintendent Annie McKenzie, who informed the School Committee last week about Hopkins being part of the pilot program, called it an exciting opportunity for students.

Committee Chairwoman Humera Fasihuddin said the school’s participation comes at a time where efforts are underway to bring renewable energy to Hopkins and reduce fossil fuel use there.

“What a meaningful thing for our students to be around at a time when we’re going through deep energy retrofit, seeing this transform our own environment and pursuing a clean energy career themselves,” Fasihuddin said.

“That is absolutely excellent, positioning Hadley on the leading edge,” Fasihuddin said.

With this planning expansion, the state anticipates offering career and technical education pathways at nearly 100 schools next year, including enrolling the first class in a pipeline of future climate workforce leaders.

“This new Clean Energy Innovation Career Pathway will open doors for students to discover a future in the renewable energy sector by providing them with applied learning experiences and next level internships right here in Massachusetts,” Gov. Maura Healey said in a statement.

Granby High School

Granby High School has preliminary plans to build its new Innovative Career Pathway based on existing technology classes offered in secondary education. Superintendent Stephen Sullivan said it makes sense to start where the students, teachers and administration are already comfortable.

“The thing that gets us excited is thinking through what it could look like,” Sullivan said. “I think it’s building into a pathway that provides a more cohesive look into what students might have shown an interest in post-secondary.”

Currently, more than 6,500 students are enrolled in one or more of the 183 pathways at 78 schools across the state.

Of the 31 high schools receiving this grant, 13 are hoping to add to existing Innovation Career Pathway offerings and 18 are planning to offer their first Innovation Career program for students.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at Emilee Klein can be reached at


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