UHS - New Innovation Pathways - 4th Designation!

Baker-Polito Administration Awards Designations to High Schools with New Innovation Pathways Programs that Help Students Gain College and Career Experience

The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded designations to 18 high schools for launching new programs, known as Innovation Pathways, that will connect students’ learning to a career pathway by providing work-based learning experiences with rigorous technical coursework. Uxbridge High School is the proud recipient of its fourth designation, this time in business, finance, and logistics.

The school is partnering with MassHire Central ad the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce. Students in this pathway can participate in dual-enrollment coursework which will enable students to transfer credits toward the attainment of a logistics certification, offered through Quinsigamond Community College. Students in their senior year will complete a 100-hour internship or capstone project that will tie together elements of the program.

“We remain committed to ensuring that our students, upon graduation and completion of these programs, are well prepared for their post-secondary experiences, whether they are headed off to college or planning to enter the workforce,” said Uxbridge High School principal Michael Rubin. “We believe firmly in the connection between content mastery and skills, and this newest Pathway will help enhance our already robust programs to meet even more students’ needs and interests.”

These early career programs provide high school students with a coherent course of study focused on a particular field, while also offering them access to college-level courses and internship opportunities to gain work experience and insight about whether the field is something they would like to pursue in college or a career after high school.

“Not only are these programs driven by student and community feedback, but also the commitment of departments and educators to look at school in a different way,” said Uxbridge Superintendent Dr. Frank Tiano. “We have continued to push forward despite the challenges of this past year, and the team at UHS has continued to focus on opportunities that move the needle for our entire district and the community as a whole.”

The Baker-Polito Administration launched these early career programs in 2017 to help students develop knowledge and skills related to a chosen field of study before they graduate high school. Many of the early career programs at high schools are in STEM-related fields, including advanced manufacturing, information technology, environmental and life sciences, health care and social assistance, and business and finance.  UHS now has programs in engineering/manufacturing, biomedical science, digital media and information science, and business and finance.

“These early career programs provide students tremendous opportunities for future success in and out of the classroom by building partnerships with local employers to equip students with experience and knowledge in a growing field,” said Governor Charlie Baker.

“Both students and employers benefit from this experience when students are exposed to careers they might not have been aware of, and employers gain a skilled future workforce,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is committed to closing opportunity, achievement and workforce gaps for students throughout the Commonwealth, and Innovation Pathways offer invaluable, hands-on learning opportunities.”

More than 600 students are expected to enroll in the newly designated pathways announced today. With these new designations, there are now 49 high schools in Massachusetts with Innovation Pathway programs, with a total of 121 different pathways. More than 4,000 students are projected to be enrolled in an Innovation Pathway program by Fall 2021.

“It is a testament to the success and importance of these programs that despite the challenges of the last year, high schools moved forward with creating more early career opportunities for students. These programs give students relevant and valuable experience that helps them think about their future career paths, something that may have been sidetracked during the health crisis,” said Education Secretary James Peyser.

“High school students who have opportunities to explore Innovation Pathways gain valuable experience and knowledge about growing industries, while gaining credentials and credits and insight into whether it is something they would like to pursue in their future. These opportunities are opening doors for many students across the Commonwealth,” said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley.

In October 2019, Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito announced the availability of $1.8 million in grants over three years from American Student Assistance (ASA), a national nonprofit based in Massachusetts. The grants will support high schools across the Commonwealth develop programs that prepare students for college and careers. The ASA grants were awarded to the Governor’s Workforce Skills Cabinet to help fund Innovation Pathway programs at high schools across the Commonwealth, and marked the first time that ASA awarded a major grant to a state to support college and career pathways in high schools.

"American Student Assistance (ASA) is proud to continue our commitment to the Innovation Pathways program and we are thrilled to see another round of schools receive their Innovation Pathways Designation," said American Student Assistance CEO Jean Eddy. "In this time of uncertainty and change, it is more important than ever for students to be able to build skills they need for future success, connect classroom learning to real world experience, and grow the workforce pipeline across the Commonwealth. We applaud the Baker-Polito Administration for their continued commitment to this program and for ensuring all young people in Massachusetts have the skills they need to succeed."

Uxbridge has also partnered with ASA to support middle-level career exploration, with programs already underway in the eighth grade at Uxbridge High School and planned for implementation at Whitin Intermediate School.

Schools that apply for an Innovation Pathway designation are required to follow five design principles:

  • Equitable access for all students
  • Guided academic pathway relating to one of five specified broad industry sectors
  • Enhanced student supports
  • Relevant connections to career
  • Deep partnerships between high schools, employers, and workforce development boards