EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 1, 2014

Job training, open space boosted by millions in state grants

LAWRENCE ­— Gov. Deval Patrick spent much of yesterday afternoon in Lawrence announcing several multi-million dollar grants to help the city grow.

His first stop was at FlowServe Lawrence Pumps where he announced a $1.2 million in advanced manufacturing equipment grants to the Greater Lawrence Vocational Technical High School to support the creation of a new Advanced Manufacturing Academy that will prepare the region’s workforce with the skills for careers in advanced manufacturing. The equipment grant will support a partnership between Greater Lawrence Vocational Technical High School, Northern Essex Community College (NECC) and the manufacturing community.

“Education is important to economic growth,” Patrick said.

He said while Massachusetts’ unemployment rate is much better than the rest of the country, there are still many looking for jobs.

“Businesses tell me there are jobs out there but they can’t find people with the right skills for the job,” he said.

Patrick said he believes this grant will help improve education and students will leave school prepared to go into the workforce.

“This is how we build our future instead of leaving it to chance,” he said.

The $1.2 million grant will add 100 new daytime seats in the next five years at Greater Lawrence Vocational Technical High School. NECC will also expand its night classes to an additional 30 to 45 students. NECC plans to utilize the facility by establishing an associate degree in manufacturing for an additional 15 students.

However, Patrick wasn’t done investing in Lawrence yet.

He later announced a nearly $3 million grant to help create a public park at the former Ferrous site, at the confluence of the Spicket River and the Merrimack. The funding will help the city and the nonprofit organization Groundwork Lawrence to acquire the site and create a park to provide a quiet place residents can enjoy overlooking the Lower Locks waterfall and the riverfront.

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