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Massachusetts Community Colleges & Vocational/Technical High Schools Create Transfer Pipelines for the Trades & High-Demand Fields

Medical assisting is one of several new transfer agreements between Massachusetts vocational-technical schools and community colleges.
Medical assisting is one of several new transfer agreements between Massachusetts vocational-technical schools and community colleges.

Massachusetts Community Colleges and the Commonwealth’s Career and Technical High Schools have developed new articulation/transfer agreements aimed at creating seamless pipelines to higher education and reducing the time to completion for vocational high school students entering community colleges.

The seven new transfer agreements were recently signed at the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) annual meeting and will assist with transitioning vocational high school students to community college degree and certificate programs in STEM fields, the trades, health care, business and other high-demand middle skills careers. The seven new statewide agreements were developed this past summer under the leadership of the Massachusetts Community College Executive Office (MCCEO) and built upon a four-year partnership between MCCEO, MAVA, and the Commonwealth’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) that was created in 2010, when the first pipeline agreement was developed in the field/trade of Drafting.

According to Bill Hart, Executive Officer of MCCEO, “The 15 Community Colleges across the state continually partner locally and regionally with high schools on pathways to college programs. However, in this particular partnership with MAVA and DESE, we created a statewide collaborative model that provides clear pathways for motivated students to have access to higher education in disciplines and career fields in which they already know they have an interest and some experience.”

The agreements that are developed through this inclusive process with both community college faculty and vocational high school teachers ensure that articulation and transfer for these programs is done in a uniform and consistent way, Hart said.

“Each year Mount Wachusett Community College awards college credit to incoming students who have completed occupational career pathways at their high schools,” said Dr. Melissa Fama, MWCC Vice President of Academic Affairs. “Students from Monty Tech, Leominster Center for Technical Education Innovation, Murdock High, Fitchburg High and other area high schools benefit each year by transferring credits from high school career programs. The addition of seven new transfer agreements will increase the number of articulated credits available to students and assist them along the way to certificate and degree completion.”

There are now a total of 14 collaborative agreements that allow for vocational high school students in specific programs to be awarded credits at community colleges for work already completed at the vocational high school level.

“This is a win-win situation with vocational technical school graduates being well prepared to continue their education at our quality community colleges in the Commonwealth. We are encouraged that this collaborative articulation model will continue to be expanded to many additional occupational career paths,” said David Ferreira, Executive Director of MAVA.

The seven new agreements are in the high-demand fields of Hospitality Management; Business Technology; Health Assisting; Medical Assisting, Carpentry, Heating, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration; and Machine Tool Technology (Machine Manufacturing).  Previous agreements in addition to the original in Drafting include: Transportation; Arts and Communications; Information Technology; Manufacturing Engineering; Culinary Arts; and Early Childhood Education. For more information on the Massachusetts Community Colleges & Vocational High School articulation agreements visit