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Grants to Massachusetts School Districts and Charter
Schools for High School Workforce-Preparation Programs

Innovation Pathways Planning Grant

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)

Deadline Date:

09/30/22 5:00 PM ET Receipt


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Grants of up to $25,000 to Massachusetts school districts, charter schools, or educational collaboratives for workforce-preparation and educational programs for high school students. Funding is intended to offer students intensive academic experiences and career development education. The goal of the grant is to plan for programs that provide students with equitable access to a pathway deemed a strong individualized fit, ensure that they graduate with a well-designed post-secondary plan, and offer a robust knowledge of Massachusetts’ workforce opportunities with realities for employment.

Priorities for this grant include, but are not limited to:

  • Supporting applicants in the preparation of their Innovation Pathway designation application materials.
  • Competitive priority will be given to districts and schools in chronically underperforming status.

This grant will prioritize at least 25% of available funds available for schools and districts in chronically underperforming status. If applications are not received from schools in status, funds will be distributed to other applicants.

An applicant will be required to demonstrate that its pathways are rooted in all five of these guiding principles:

  • Guiding Principle 1: Equitable Access 
  • Guiding Principle 2: Guided Academic Pathways
  • Guiding Principle 3: Enhanced Student Support
  • Guiding Principle 4: Connection to Career
  • Guiding Principle 5: Effective Partnerships

For additional information see Page 3 of the Designation Criteria in Supporting Documents, below.

The six core characteristics that are required for designation, and that help fulfill the Guiding Principles described above, are as follows:

  • Career Advising: Career advising supports each student to complete a college and career plan during high school that identifies areas of aptitude and interest, explores career opportunities, and establishes a transition path to college, apprenticeship, and/or employment training. This includes helping students surmount obstacles to completion of their plan.
  • Labor Market Information: The pathway is justified by labor market information related to employer demand and career opportunities.
  • Integrated Instruction: Students participate in a carefully designed sequence of integrated, rigorous instructional courses relevant to their pathway, including both academic and technical subjects.  
  • Work-based Learning: Students participate in structured work readiness activities and work-based learning experiences. 
  • Credential Preparation: The pathway enables students to make progress toward attainment of an industry-recognized credential or college credits toward a Certificate, Associates, or Baccalaureate degree. 
  • Postsecondary Linkages: Students participate in a wide range of college awareness and engagement activities to inform their postsecondary plan, relating to college, apprenticeship and/or training programs.

Allowable funding expenses include: Program administration and coordination; stipends for K12 and higher education faculty; curricular development; engagement with MassHire boards and industry; professional development; instructional-related supplies and materials; high quality college and career advising and MyCAP development embedded in the pathway.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 189753

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

An LEA may submit only one application for a maximum award of $25,000 to prepare Innovation Pathways Designation applications.

Note: $3,000 of the award must be used for staff participation in the College and Career Advising (MyCAP) Professional Development Series in SY2022-23, provided that the school has not competed the series in the past.

Term of Contract:

Project Duration: Upon Approval – 6/30/2023

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants are any Massachusetts school district or charter school that plans to seek Innovation Pathways designation in 2022-2023. Preference may be given to an LEA who has not received Innovation Pathway grants in the past.

Computer hardware, (e.g. laptops) and student stipends may not be funded by this planning grant.

Pre-Application Information:

Date Due:
Friday, September 30, 2022

Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.

Applicants submitting an application for a planning grant agree to submit a Part A application to DESE in fall 2022.

For additional information, see:

Those applicants who have been approved at Part A will be invited to submit Part B Final applications.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Email applications to

Direct questions to:
Jennifer Gwatkin
(781) 338-3954

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts

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