Category Archives: General News

It’s Time to Invest in Voc-Tech Education

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Waiting lists are long; employer demand high

THE DEFEAT OF QUESTION 2 to lift the cap on charter schools has left many on both sides of this issue wondering if any common ground can be found to expand student access to high performing public schools. The answer to that question is a resounding “yes.”

There is an immediate opportunity for both sides of this divisive issue to work together in pursuit of student access to the demonstrated educational excellence at the 60-plus vocational, technical, and agricultural schools and programs that exist throughout the state. The strong academic and skills training outcomes of the majority of these schools and programs have students voting with their feet to access these Career, Vocational/Technical Education (CVTE) programs. Currently, the annual statewide waiting list of students hoping to access CVTE programs hovers near 3,500 students. The longest waiting lists are in the Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities.

As a result, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Association of Vocational School Administrators and Massachusetts Community Action Network, formed the Alliance for Vocational/Technical Education (AVTE) to advocate for expanded access to CVTE programs. We believe that expanding access to these schools is one of the best investments the state can make in terms of educational and economic development policy.

Read The Full Article on CommonWealth Magazine

Investing in Vocational/Technical Education

After the divisive debate on the Question 2 ballot question concerning the expansion of charter schools we must now turn to the next chapter concerning K-12 educational priorities now that the voters have spoken on the issue of charter school expansion. In addition to the issue of Chapter 74 funding, expansion of Voke/Tech Ed must be at the top of that list. Read how we can expand access to these schools and address the statewide waiting list.

Canada is Massachusetts’s No. 1 customer

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This is an excerpt from my article, “Your Turn: Canada is Massachusetts’s No. 1 customer” published in Worcester Magazine.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, there has been considerable talk about the equity of international trade deals and whether they help or hinder the U.S. economy. During these conversations, it is critical for all Americans, and the people of Massachusetts, to fully understand the incredibly important economic and trade relationship between the U.S. and Canada.

Speaking in April before a large audience gathered for the Chamber’s Business & Government Forum sponsored by Ventry Associates, David Nathan Alward, Canada’s consul general to New England, offered a fascinating overview of this successful relationship. Prior to Alward’s role as consul general, he served as 32nd premier of New Brunswick, a position comparable to that of governor in the U.S.

French Canadians are one of our region’s largest demographic and played a crucial role in Worcester’s early development. By 1870, nearly 40,000 French- Canadians had settled across Central Mass. What many may not know is, even today, our Canadian ties continue to be a core contributor to successful trade and commerce in Massachusetts, not to mention travel and tourism.

The full article can be found at Worcester Mag here.

New Locomotives Should Bring Express Commuter Train to Worcester

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Did you know that there are about half a dozen brand new locomotives, valued at $6 million each, sitting in Worcester’s railroad yard right now?

These new locomotives, along with 80 new passenger cars, will be coming online soon thanks to the transportation bond bill signed by Governor Patrick and supported by the Massachusetts Legislature.

The deployment of these locomotives and passenger cars could greatly impact the Massachusetts economy by creating a 46-minute non-stop service from Worcester to Boston.

Currently one of the busiest MBTA commuter lines, the Worcester/Framingham line is crucial to the economic synergy between Massachusetts’ two largest cities. The creation of this express commuter train is essential.

read-full-article

Video: Deval Patrick, Tim Murray Reflect on Administration and Partnership

“Tim Murray was an extraordinary partner and a magnificent Lieutenant Governor. As a constitutional matter, the Lieutenant Governor basically has whatever responsibilities the Governor decides to give to him or her. I recognized pretty early that Tim had so much to contribute in terms of his understanding of politics first of all and the back stories behind so much of the politics we were dealing with. He has a deep understanding of municipal government and municipal needs and aspirations; and that is critically important to the tone we were trying to set and frankly the collaboration that we knew we needed to lift the commonwealth as a whole.

Tim Murray has a very personal respect and high regard for people who serve in the military, so having him lead the Governor’s council on veterans affairs was a natural. He’s deeply empathetic, and creative, so having him lead the Governors council on housing and homelessness was also a natural. There are many ways in which Tim took an assignment and just drove it deeper, and as a result of his work – his work – we led the nation on so many fronts. I’m grateful to him.

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When Tim made the decision to step down as Lieutenant Governor and not to run for Governor on this cycle, that was also about putting the interest of his marriage and his family, and therefore his own heart above his political interests and ambitions. I respect that too. I hope that Tim stays involved in public life. He’s a great balance of brainpower and empathy. We need that kind of courageous leadership here in Massachusetts and frankly in the country.”

– Former Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick.

Gateway Cities Innovation Awards and Summit 2014

Gateway Cities and the Gateway Cities agenda is perhaps the most important vehicle in how we can assist in facilitating economic mobility and educational opportunity in every region of the state.

Governor Patrick recently received the Gateway Cities Innovation Award at the annual Gateway Cities summit and had some nice things to say about our work together in pushing and implementing this agenda over the past eight years. I wanted to share his remarks with you in this short video:

Charter TV 3: Higher Ed Business Partnerships

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Great discussion today. The strength and diversity of the Central Mass economy is increasingly driven by partnerships between higher education and the private sector. Our growing innovation economy in the life sciences, robotics, video and digital gaming is fueled in large part from research and development that takes place on our campuses.

Our Chamber Recruit, Retain, Incubate strategy for Central Mass is very much integrated with our Higher Ed community. A major emphasis of the Chamber is to increase internships among our college students with our member employers in an effort to expose them to the range companies of world class companies in the area to get them to stay and live in the area after graduation.

Remembering Tom Menino

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In remembering Mayor Tom Menino two conversations that we had together come to mind which I think really capture who he was and what was important to him.

The first was when as Mayor of Worcester I lead a delegation of Worcester residents and business owners to Boston to learn about Mayor Menino’s Main Streets Program. During that visit I rode with the Mayor in his SUV down Harry Truman Parkway in Boston in the Mayor’s neighborhood. He gleefully shared with me how in the closing months of the Clinton Administration he had secured a few million dollars to resurface Truman Parkway and add brick treatments and decorative lamps. He went on to say that Harry Truman was his political hero because ” Harry Truman was all about hard work and didn’t worry about who got the credit.” Certainly the same will be said about Mayor Menino.

The second conversation with Mayor Menino was years later as Lt. Governor when I visited him at the Parkman House. I was exploring the pros and cons of running for Governor and I went to visit the Mayor to seek his advice. We had a great conversation and he shared with me his experiences as acting Mayor and stories from his first campaign for Mayor. However, the most impactful thing he said was that no matter what my decision was that I needed to take care of my family because “family is what is most important.” Tom Menino always had his priorities right. He and the entire Menino family are in my thoughts and prayers and I will miss “America’s Mayor”.

Welcome to One Commonwealth

One Commonwealth is a place to share ideas, stories, challenges and perspectives on what matters most here in the state we call home.

Massachusetts is a large and diverse state; every region and municipality is equally important as we are all connected in one way or another. So the scope of dialogue on this blog is as wide as our Commonwealth. The rules of the road are simple: be civil, responsible, and be willing to put your name on your words.