Life Science grants awarded to projects in Holyoke

At a press conference at Holyoke Community College, Mayor Alex B. Morse and Governor Patrick announced the award of $9 million in capital grant funds for Western Massachusetts life science projects through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center’s (MLSC) first round of state-wide grants. These grants are part of a $1 billion investment by Commonwealth over the next 10 years in Massachusetts life sciences. The MLSC awarded grants in Holyoke to the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC), Holyoke Community College (HCC),WilliamJ. Dean Technical Vocational High School, and Holyoke High School. Other Western Massachusetts awardees included Springfield Technical Community College and Bay Path College.

“This is not about funding individual institutions. This is about supporting partnerships that will foster the growth of the innovation economy in Holyoke and Western Massachusetts, improve the economic health of the region, and expand the life sciences in Massachusetts,” stated Mayor Morse.

Marcos Marrero, Director of the Office of Planning & Economic Development, added that, “through these grants we will be able to nurture interest in the life sciences and create pathways to college for our high school students while ensuring that our community college has the technology and curriculum needed to equip our students to enter the workforce or seek further education”.

These programs, projects and initiatives build on the momentum of partnerships already underway. For example,William J. Dean Technical Vocational High School, Holyoke Community College and the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center have together established a CISCO Network Academy in Holyoke. Dean students will be able to take foundational courses from the CISCO Network Academy curriculum, leading to a technology studies pathway at HCC. At HCC, Dean students, as well as incumbent workers in the region, will be able to take additional courses that lead to a CISCO Certified Network Associate (CCNA) credential. The CCNA will prepare individuals for technology positions in a number of industry sectors, including (but not limited to) information technology, healthcare, and education.


Grant Breakdown

Holyoke High School received $100,000 that will be used to replace outdated lab equipment, outfit a Marine Biology class, provide science classes with iPads for students to share, with the goal of expanding educational pathways in the sciences, technology, and engineering.


William J. Dean Technical Vocational High School received $100,000 that will be used to fund in-school and after-school robotics labs and related technology, in support of the Career Pathways in Technology project, a collaborative of Holyoke Community College,Dean Technical High School, the Collaborative for Educational Services, and the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC). This funding will support an enhanced focus on STEM during the school day in science and in technical shops, as well as the opportunity to have a robotics club as part of the new after school and summer enrichment activities made possible by a recently awarded 21st Century Learning Centers grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to the Holyoke Public Schools.


Holyoke Community College received $3.8 million to create a Center for Life Sciences, which will allow it to update HCC’s biotechnology transfer degree option, create an associate degree career track option including clean room technology, strengthen articulations with four-year institutions (including a pipeline to Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges that will increase the number of women in STEM related fields) and expand partnerships with William J. Dean Technical Vocational High School, Holyoke High School and other area high schools. It will also enable the college to better partner with the region’s biotechnology and life science companies, such as grant partner Microtest Labs of Agawam, to ensure that the curriculum aligns with the needs of industry and provides a well-defined pathway to jobs for HCC graduates.


Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center

The MHGPCC received $4.5 million over three years to equip the facility with a computer system that will enable new computing techniques and new discoveries in the life sciences. A portion of the MLSC-funded system at the MHGPCC will be dedicated to supporting businesses that are developing new products and services in the life sciences sector. An additional $50,000 is designated for after school and weekend robotics programs to be developed in conjunction with William J. Dean Technical Vocational High School, which recently received funds to enhance its after school programs. The creation of a robotics program and designated work space will enable the MHGPCC to host after school and weekend classes and workshops with area agencies and nonprofits.


For more information, contact Marcos Marrero at (413) 322-5655 or

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