BOSTON – âI have an extreme labor shortage. I have nobody. The average age of an electrician is 56 years old. The average age of a plumber is 57 years old. I have no entrepreneur under the age of 50. I don’t even have people of color applying, âsays Nina Haskell, owner of Dream Kitchens.
She says she is losing a 30% increase in turnover because contractors, plumbers and other trades people are in high demand.
Tom Fischer of the Carpenters Training Fund can’t train apprentices fast enough, and he says they come to him with fewer skills.
âFor two carpenters who come back, we have an apprentice who comes into the program,â says Fischer.
In a virtual press conference Thursday, advocates called on the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Governor Baker to change admissions to vocational and technical schools into a lottery scheme claiming that the current criteria discriminate against low income, students of color and the English language. learners.
Currently, students are consulted on their GPA, attendance records, discipline records and sometimes an interview with students.
“We have to make it a lottery because otherwise we will continue to create generational poverty from which we can never get out,” said Gladys Vega of Chelsea’s La Collabortativa.
The Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN) reports that the student acceptance rate in VOC-technology schools is 60% for children of color, compared to over 70% for white children.
58.5% of accepted students are economically disadvantaged, against 75.4% who are not.
âMany black and Latino students and students from low-income families through exclusionary admission policies that are illegal,â says Juan Cofield of the New England Area Conference of the NAACP.
DESE officials declined to comment, but told Boston 25 that the department is analyzing the process and working with community organizations and school districts to increase applications from under-represented students.
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell says he’s frustrated with what he calls âhalf-measuresâ by the state.
âThe process we put in place enabled vocational schools to select their students, create better performing classes and improve their school’s overall test scores,â says Mitchell.
Six VOC tech schools have reportedly been identified by the state for admissions gaps, including students with disabilities, low-income students, students of color and English-language learners.
Commissioner Riley is expected to make a recommendation on admission standards at the school board meeting next month, and then it will go to a vote or public comment.
Cox Media Group