Whittier to offer dental assisting training

COURTESY PHOTO/Whittier Tech  At rear, from left, Gov. Charlie Baker and Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. Front, from left, Whittier Tech Principal Chris Laganas, Superintendent Maureen Lynch, health occupations teacher Jane Moskevitz and Curriculum Coordinator Kelly Fay at the ceremony on Feb. 16, during which Gov. Baker presented Whittier with a Skills Capital Grant.

HAVERHILL — Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School will use a $420,000 state grant to create a state-of-the art Allied Health Center for dental, medical assisting and health assisting students.

The Baker administration recently awarded $2.3 million in grants to seven high schools, including Whittier Vo-Tech, that will use the funds to purchase new industry-standard equipment in a variety of fields, so that students are better prepared for college and careers.

On Feb. 16, Whittier Tech officials gathered at Lynn Vocational and Technical Institute to receive their grant allocation from Gov. Charlie Baker.

"Skills Capital Grants make an enormous difference in the education and training students receive at schools across the commonwealth," Baker said. "These grants will have a lasting impact by ensuring more residents are able to move into rewarding careers and more companies have the skilled employees they need to grow.”

'The dental assisting vocational program will be new to Whittier Tech, and will launch in the fall following the completion of the new health center. Demolition is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks, and will increase the school's health occupations learning area from 3,500 square feet to 6,000 feet.

The new dental assisting program will feature dental chairs, analog and digital X-ray equipment, sterilization centers, autoclaves, wet model trimmers, polishing and grinding equipment and a denture processing center.

"With our new center, we will be meeting the growing demands of the health care professions,” said vocational coordinator Bev DeSalvo. "Adding the dental assisting program will give our students the opportunity to learn an additional health occupations career path and provide a more state-of-the-art facility for all health occupations students."

Whittier's medical assisting program launched two years ago and trains students for clerical support jobs in the health field. The health assisting pathway is one of the school's original offerings, which prepares students for careers in direct patient care. Graduates of the program leave high school as a Certified Nursing Assistant and can go on to college to become a nurse, school officials said.

Currently, 158 students are enrolled in the health occupations pathway (medical and health assisting). Nearly 100 percent of students every year obtain co-op jobs during their senior year, with many continuing in those jobs following graduation.

The Skills Capital Grant program supports vocational/technical training, upgrades and expansion of career technical education, and training of high-quality career pathway programs that are aligned with regional economic and workforce development priorities for in-demand industries.