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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Presentation on Career/Vocational Technical Education in Massachusetts

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
September 12, 2014


In Massachusetts, high expectations for both technical and academic standards drive career/vocational technical education in order to meet the increase in today's workplace requirements and prepare all students for both postsecondary education and 21st century careers.

The Department approves vocational programs based on the standards established in the Commonwealth's vocational education statute, chapter 74 of the General Laws. The chart at the end of this memorandum lists the nearly 50 different program areas currently in operation.

Chapter 74 programs are offered in a variety of settings:

  • 27 regional vocational technical high schools;
  • 29 municipal school districts and 8 regional school districts, either in a dedicated vocational high school or in a comprehensive high school that also offers traditional academic courses of study;
  • 2 county agricultural schools (Bristol and Norfolk);
  • 1 educational collaborative (Lower Pioneer Valley);
  • 1 independent public school (Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton); and
  • 17 postsecondary institutions.

Approved Chapter 74 programs receive federal funding through the Perkins Act and additional state funding through the Chapter 70 state aid program.

Many other high schools offer career education courses that do not qualify for Chapter 74 approval but are nonetheless a valuable addition to a student's course of study. These programs are also eligible for Perkins funding, but they do not receive additional Chapter 70 funding.

Approximately 20% of all secondary students in the Commonwealth take advantage of the opportunity to enroll in career/vocational technical education programs, a percentage that has been increasing in recent years. Many of the most popular programs are at capacity and cannot accommodate all those who are interested. The cost of building and equipping vocational classrooms is a major challenge as we seek to expand career education opportunities.

At the September 23 meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, staff from the Department's Office for Career/Vocational Technical Education and representatives of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) will provide highlights of current career/vocational technical education activities in Massachusetts, including:

  • a brief overview of the current state of career/vocational technical education in Massachusetts;
  • the alignment of career/vocational technical education to the Department's strategic goal of Success After High School; and
  • statewide key themes and promising practices in various school districts.

Associate Commissioner Pati Gregson and MAVA leaders will be available at the September 23 Board meeting to answer any questions you may have.

List of Chapter 74-Approved Vocational Technical Education Programs

Agriculture & Natural Resources Cluster

Agricultural Mechanics
Animal Science
Environmental Science & Technology

Arts & Communication Services Cluster

Design & Visual Communications
Graphic Communications
Radio & Television Broadcasting

Business & Consumer Services Cluster

Fashion Technology
Business Technology

Construction Cluster

Building & Property Maintenance
Heating-Air Conditioning-Ventilation-Refrigeration
Masonry & Tile Setting
Painting & Design Technologies
Sheet Metal working

Education Cluster

Early Education And Care

Exploratory Programs

Health Services Cluster

Dental Assisting
Health Assisting
Medical Assisting

Hospitality & Tourism Cluster

Culinary Arts Hospitality Management

Information Technology Services Cluster

Programming & Web Development
Information Support Services & Networking

Legal And Protective Services Cluster

Criminal Justice

Manufacturing, Engineering & Technological Cluster

Engineering Technology
Machine Tool Technology
Metal Fabrication & Joining Technologies
Robotics & Automation Technology
Stationary Engineering
Telecommunications - Fiber Optics

Transportation Cluster

Automotive Collision, Repair & Refinishing
Automotive Technology
Diesel Technology
Marine Service Technology
Power Equipment Technology

Last Updated: September 18, 2014
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