Burrillville High School wins $15K Skills USA grant

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BURRILLVILLE – The Skills USA chapter at Burrillville High School recently won a $15,000 lab upgrade grant, funding that will be used to complete several work-based learning projects by Career & Technical Education students.

The chapter was one of just 43 across the country in 22 states to be selected for the grant, provided through a partnership with Lowe’s Home Improvement.

The grants, a new initiative by the nonprofit national education association, provide eligible SkillsUSA chapters with additional programming resources including tools, equipment and construction materials for student projects. The support, provided in the form of gift cards to the local Lowe’s store, can also be used for materials and supplies for local community service projects according to the contest rules.

The intent, the organization notes, is in part to prepare a future skilled workforce through boosts to deserving high school CTE programs.

The Burrillville chapter applied for the grant last fall by creating a three-minute video documenting the impact the funding would have on the high school’s program, along with publication of social media posts and releases on the projects. School-based coordinator Brook Gatchell spearheaded the effort, and winners were announced in January.

In Burrillville, the funding will be used to purchase a new wooden swing set, upgrade the environmental science lab, fix the construction lab’s air compressor and purchase tools and materials for the engineering program. It will fund additional work-based learning projects for the community and more, according to district officials.

Burrillville High School was selected as the only grant recipient in Rhode Island. In neighboring Massachusetts, Assabet Valley Technical High School in Marlborough; Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Harwich; and Lynn Vocational Technical Institute received the award.

Supt. Michael Sollitto acknowledged the win and congratulated the students and instructors on the award at the School Committee meeting on on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all the improvements that grant will provide,” Sollitto said.

SkillsUSA serves more than 333,527 students and instructors annually including middle-school, high-school and college/postsecondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations.

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