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Violence has no place in our society, schools

Posted by Anthony Benoit on Jun 14, 2016 6:00:00 PM

Tomorrow, friends, family members, classmates, teachers, and school officials will pay their final respects to 17-year old Raekwon Brown, a junior at Jeremiah E. Burke High School, who was shot and killed near the high school on June 8. According to media reports, the outgoing student dreamed of going to college and launching a music career.

Just four days later, in the shadow of this tragedy, we woke up to learn of the murderous rampage at an Orlando nightclub, where 49 innocent people were gunned down and killed in a senseless hail of bullets. Media reports suggest they were targeted for this barbaric end simply because they belonged to the LGBT community. 

In his commencement address to the Jeremiah E. Burke High School Class of 2016, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said, “You’re sad, you’re angry, you’re upset–you have every right to be, because I am as well. It’s sad a young man’s future has been cut short.”

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Topics: Views

Why veterans make great college students

Posted by Tom DeCosta on Jun 7, 2016 2:00:00 PM

In my time at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT), I have been proud to help recruit and educate exceptional college students who are also veterans. As a veteran myself, it fills me with pride to see the young men and women who are exiting today’s military and entering the college ranks.

From my firsthand experience, veterans make excellent college students, and often lead the pack due to the experience they acquired while in the service. From the moment recruits enter basic training, they are shaped into responsible young men and women. This maturity carries on into their service as they face increased responsibilities.

Once enrolled in college, veterans have already developed the maturity and discipline to approach their education – experience that some high school students lack when they enter college. For a veteran, many of these issues have been dealt with already and successfully overcome.

From my firsthand experience, veterans make excellent college students due to the experience they acquire while in the service.

Veteran students have also faced difficult challenges while serving our nation. Some may have even encountered life and death situations. Their experience in overcoming these challenges prepares them to approach difficult times during college. Even when things are rough academically, veteran students seem to possess a certain calm about themselves. 

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Topics: Views

Why opticians are in such high demand

Posted by Blair Wong on May 31, 2016 2:00:00 PM

About 85% of people’s experience of the world is through their sight. Opticians play an important role in helping all kinds of people, young and old, to see better, and feel better about themselves.

Opticians are technicians trained to design, verify and fit eyeglass lenses and frames, contact lenses, and other devices to correct eyesight. They use prescriptions supplied by ophthalmologists or optometrists, but do not test vision or write prescriptions for visual correction. Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston is the only college in Massachusetts to offer degree programs in opticianry.

From my more than 30 years of experience in the industry, I can confidently say there is a tremendous demand for opticians in Massachusetts and across the nation. From working in hospitals to optical chains and independent boutiques, there have never been so many great job opportunities in the opticianry field. Approximately 95% of our opticianry graduates land a job, and most of our students work while studying, which is part of the college's learn and earn model. Between 2014 and 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates 24 percent employment growth in the opticianry field, which translates into 17,800 new jobs.

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Topics: Features, Eye Health Technology

Why we need to train more building trade technicians

Posted by Ryan Hutchins on May 24, 2016 3:47:00 PM

If you have spent time in downtown Boston during the past few years, you’ve surely noticed the towering cranes and scaffolding dotting the skyline.  Notably, residential construction starts in Boston rose 90% in the month of January to $487.8 million in projects, compared to $257.2 million the year prior. Meanwhile, nonresidential construction starts rose 18 percent to $354.5 million in projects, up from $299.4 million the year before.

As Senior Vice President at Gilbane Building Company, I can tell you that building activity trends in Boston will continue on an impressive trajectory for many years to come. However, growth in these areas in 2014 and 2015 has already resulted in labor shortages in the building professions.  Finding skilled workers, sufficiently trained and eager to learn, can be challenging, and without them the growth will not be captured.

Finding skilled workers, sufficiently trained and eager to learn, can be challenging, and without them the growth will not be captured.

According to Gilbane’s most recent Construction Economics Report, this may end up the most active three-year period (2013-16) of growth in construction in more than 20 years.  Construction added one million jobs during 2011-2015, however 800,000 of those jobs were added in just the last three years and construction spending growth for the period 2013-2016 is expected to outpace all previous periods.

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Topics: Views

Skilled workforce pipeline is vital to economy

Posted by Anthony Benoit on May 17, 2016 8:48:00 PM

At this weekend’s 108th Commencement, graduates stepped into a brighter future at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. From BFIT's historic auditorium, the Class of 2016 left the college with degrees, certificates, and valuable job skills in technical fields experiencing strong job growth. Perhaps most importantly, they are entering the workforce with the ability to communicate, to work in teams, to find and evaluate information, and to solve problems. These abilities prepare the graduates for a lifetime of learning and career success.

Student speaker, Ben Alvarez, put it perfectly, “Wherever we go, that degree, that knowledge, those skills, that time spent on our trade or science; these will follow us and be a base, and a rock for us to lean on.”

"Wherever we go, that degree, that knowledge, those skills; these will follow us and be a base, and a rock for us to lean on."

In the next few years, it’s estimated that Massachusetts will have 300,000 jobs available that will require a background in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). Graduates with a certificate or associate degree in STEM fields, like those from BFIT, will certainly play a vital role in meeting this demand. Moreover, the degrees our students earn energize industries and transform lives.

Like a large share of his classmates, Alvarez became the first in his family to graduate from college. He earned an associate degree in Computer Technology and aims to ride the wave of job opportunity in this growing field.

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Topics: News, Computer Technology

Health Information Technology is booming in Boston, the hub of healthcare

Posted by Carl Pett on May 10, 2016 4:42:33 PM

Propelled by federal incentives and regulations, hospitals, private practices, and health networks across eastern Massachusetts are implementing new Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems to improve patient care while controlling costs. Since Health Information Technology (Health IT) professionals serve such a critical role as a link between electronic databases and healthcare professionals, they are in very high demand, with hiring expected to grow by 19% in Massachusetts by 2022.

“There are plenty of jobs in Health IT because interoperability is so important,” said Gerald Elysee, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology’s Health IT programs. “There are so many different EHR vendors and standards. The best way to get the full benefits of this new Health IT wave is to have all of these products, software, and devices talk to each other.”

The fact that the Health IT field is booming in Boston should not come as a surprise. After all, Boston is an international hub of healthcare.

The fact that the Health IT field is booming in Boston should not come as a surprise. After all, Boston is an international hub of healthcare, hosting some of the largest and most prestigious medical centers, teaching hospitals, and health systems. Partners HealthCare – which includes hospitals like Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital – recently launched their own information management system, Partners eCare.

Years of planning and testing were performed to ensure a smooth rollout of the system. Behind this rollout are Health IT professionals responsible for designing the software, performing tests, integrating platforms, and maintaining the live applications. Students from BFIT’s Health IT program had the opportunity to work alongside some of these professionals as they completed an internship with Partners eCare this past semester.

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Topics: Features, Health Information Technology

Free summer courses help students stay on pathway to success

Posted by Mike Bosco on May 3, 2016 4:30:00 PM

Last week, Boston.com reported some sobering news. According to the recently released National Assessment Governing Board’s “Nation’s Report Card," only 37 percent of high school seniors are academically prepared for college-level math and reading course­work.

High school students in Massachusetts do slightly better. In 2013, 12th graders performed nine points higher than the national average on the math test and six points higher on the reading test. Yet, the problem still remains: too often, students enter college unprepared for the academic rigors of higher education. In fact, more than 50% of students entering two-year degree programs require remedial coursework before they can begin to tackle their degree.

More than 50% of students entering two-year degree programs require remedial coursework before they can begin to tackle their degree.

Many of these students come from disadvantaged backgrounds, financially and academically, and immediately fall behind before even getting started on their degree. As the burden becomes too great to overcome, these students begin to drop out before reaching graduation – 62% complete their remediation coursework and then only 22% earn their degree.

Yet, where a challenge exists, so too does opportunity. Through supportive efforts that enhance academic, social and personal growth, we help students overcome these challenges, obtain a degree, and secure a rewarding job. By doing this, they can uplift themselves and their families, and add to the economic vitality of the Commonwealth.

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Meet Jonathan: Staying current with an Electrical Technology career

Posted by Carl Pett on Apr 26, 2016 4:00:00 PM

In his senior year at Tyngsboro High School, Jonathan wasn’t sure what he wanted to do for a career or what college he should attend. He enjoyed physics class and building things, especially working with electrical components. “Why don’t you check out Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology?” his grandfather asked, having graduated from the college’s Civil Engineering program in 1960.

Jonathan had never heard of the college, but upon visiting and speaking with faculty, he realized it was the right place for him. “Teachers said hello to everyone and all the students knew each other,” Jonathan said. “If you go to a big school, it’s not going to be as friendly. At BFIT, everyone is working together.”

"Teachers said hello to everyone and all the students knew each other. At BFIT, everyone is working together."

In his Photovoltaic class, he learned about the science and design behind solar panels. The course incorporated lessons that required students to calculate the potential energy produced by the solar panel based on their position and how to perform the installation process. In the National Electrical Code course, instructors with decades of experience in their field shared their expertise.

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Topics: Features, Electrical Technology

Mechanical Engineering Technology program to meet Massachusetts skills shortage

Posted by Joanna Dowling on Apr 19, 2016 3:41:00 PM

Locally, regionally and nationally, manufacturing is making a comeback. Here in Massachusetts, manufacturing accounts for approximately 250,000 jobs with an average annual salary of $75,000. Yet, there is a lack of engineering and machining talent entering the workforce.  This skills-shortage, according to Michael Tamasi, President & CEO of AccuRounds, is affecting manufacturers throughout the Commonwealth.

“Not only are engineers and CNC machinists needed for manufacturers to grow their operation, they are also needed to replace an aging workforce,” says Tamasi. “Higher education focused on preparing professionals for advanced manufacturing careers is vital to the future of our economy. Business relies on educational institutions to help fill this critical pipeline need.”

"Higher education focused on preparing professionals for advanced manufacturing careers is vital to the future of our economy."

Manufacturing employs 50 percent more workers than all the banks and insurance companies in the state; double the number of workers in wholesale trade; nearly three times as many as in information services; and nearly six times as many as in all of the arts, entertainment, and recreation firms in the Commonwealth. Yet, according to a survey of over 700 manufacturers in the state, advances in manufacturing are being hampered by a lack of skilled craftsmen. (Twenty-five-percent stated it was difficult to recruit research and development technicians.)

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Topics: News, Mechanical Engineering Technology

Women in Automotive Technology on track to become industry leaders

Posted by Ashley Mansfield on Apr 12, 2016 4:17:00 PM

Today, there exists exciting career opportunities for women to enter the growing automotive industry. According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, the country’s automotive repair and maintenance industry is expected to add 237,500 new jobs and will grow by 30% through 2020. 

Yet, women in the automotive industry are significantly underrepresented across all positions in the field. Men hold approximately 75% of all jobs within the industry, and over 95% of all technical positions, including automotive technicians and service advisors.

Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT) currently has 12 women enrolled in our automotive department across our certificate, associate, and bachelor's degree programs, which is about 10% of all students in the Automotive Technology department. This number has remained steady for the past few years. Yet, while we have made strides in recruiting women into this program, more work needs to be done to support them in building a network and gaining self-confidence.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, the country's automotive repair and maintenance industry is expected to add 237,500 new jobs and will grow by 30% through 2020.

Last year, with the help of students, BFIT established the Automotive Women’s Group to serve as a forum for women to network, gain job-ready skills, and share experiences in the automotive field. Since that time, the group has hosted meetings and invited women in the automotive industry to speak about their careers. These activities have already resulted in mentorship opportunities and job offers for some students.

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Topics: News, Automotive Technology

In keeping with Franklin’s tradition as a journalist, we offer the BFIT Blog. Our weekly blog will keep you connected with our students, graduates, faculty, and staff and provide insight on issues related to technology, higher education, workforce development, philanthropy, and diversity.

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