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(Photo Credit: Alastair Pike, Office of Governor Charlie Baker)

(Photo Credit: Alastair Pike, Office of Governor Charlie Baker)

Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito welcome Irish Taoiseach and Ambassador to State House

Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito welcomed Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny to Massachusetts on Monday, March 13th. Taoiseach Kenny, who was accompanied by Irish Ambassador to the United State Anne Anderson, arrived to the sounds of the State Police Pipes and Drums as he walked along a red-carpet path up the State House steps to meet the Governor and Lt. Governor. Renditions of both the Irish and the American national anthems were performed by a Cambridge police officer and Massachusetts State Police trooper respectively.

Governor Baker and Taoiseach Kenny then proceeded into the State House for a meeting where they discussed the relationship between Massachusetts and Ireland. Ireland and the Commonwealth have a particularly important relationship, as the island nation is Massachusetts’ #10 export partner and #5 import partner. The two leaders had a positive meeting just days before Massachusetts was ready to celebrate its Irish history on St. Patrick’s Day.

In Fall River, Governor Baker visits company bolstering the local textile industry

On Wednesday, March 15th, Governor Baker visited Project Repat in Fall River. Project Repat is dedicated to “repatriating” jobs back to the United States. They have partnered with Fall River’s Precision Sportswear to bring textile manufacturing jobs back to Massachusetts. The Project has created a new market for t-shirt blankets; customers can send their old t-shirts to Precision Sportswear, where they are then cut and remade into fashionable blankets. Governor Baker’s trip included a tour of Precision Sportswear’s factory in Fall River by Project Repat founder Nathan Rothstein, and conversations with other employees.

Governor Baker talks solving the skills gap at Greater New Bedford VocTech

Photo Credit: GNB Voc-Tech on Facebook

Photo Credit: GNB Voc-Tech on Facebook

Governor Baker attended the Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical High School Advisory Committee Dinner on Wednesday, March 15th. The GNBVT Advisory Council is a crucial body that makes sure their education meets expectations, ensures that the school’s facilities are up to date, and is a conduit between the school’s students and the co-op programs. Governor Baker is a proud supporter of vocational-technical education for the skills it helps build for a number of needed employers across Massachusetts.

More from the Standard-Times:

Charlie Baker’s term as governor had yet to eclipse 50 days when he traveled to his first National Governors Association meeting in 2015, he told those at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School on Wednesday night.

When he listened to every governor describe the hurdles that prevented their states from achieving economic success, he heard common theme: a lack of skills.

“I said guys, skill building, workforce development, that’s where the action is. We need to do more of it,” Baker told his staff when he returned to the Bay State. “Let’s think of some interesting and unusual ways to chase this.”

From the brainstorming the administration created the Workforce Development Skills Capital Grant program, which focused on funding vocational schools, community colleges and community organizations. According to Baker, $30 million have been spread to about 65 vocational and technical schools throughout the state like the one he spoke at Wednesday in a packed cafeteria.

“The reason we did that was it was pretty clear to us, that skill building is going to be a fundamental part of our ability to succeed,” Baker said.

The governor hopes to build on that, stating he’s budgeted a $10 million increase for the 2018 fiscal year in terms of the workforce development budget. It would push the overall total to a little more than $200 million, he said.

Governor Baker, MBTA recognize swift-thinking T electricians who saved a man’s life

Governor Baker spent some time on St. Patrick’s Day honoring MBTA electricians whose swift-thinking and quick actions saved the life of a man who collapsed at Government Center Station earlier this month. Alongside MBTA Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve, and Local 103 Union Representative Lou Antonellis, the governor presented citations to MBTA Wirepersons Kevin O’Brien, Edward Reynolds, Richard Ryan and MBTA Green Line Inspector Stephen Nadolna. Governor Baker was very impressed with the electricians’ heroic actions, saying “These individuals went above and beyond the call of duty when they utilized quick-thinking and safety skills training to respond and successfully save a man’s life. We are honored to recognize the valiant efforts of these dedicated public servants.”

Massachusetts Army National Guard’s 1-181st Infantry Regiment heads overseas

On Saturday, March 18th, Governor Baker and about 1,000 attendees filled the UMass Amherst Curry Hicks Cage to send off approximately 200 Massachusetts National Guard soldiers as they prepare to deploy to the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, in support of the Multi-National Force and Observers (MFO) Mission. Along with Major General Gary W. Keefe and Lt. Colonel Luis Rodriguez, commander of the 1-181st, the governor offered words of encouragement and gratitude to the departing soldiers in the 1-181 Infantry Regiment.

The Soldiers based out of Worcester, Massachusetts, will deploy overseas for approximately 12 months in support of the MFO Sinai, “Best in the Desert!”, to assist with joint security efforts. The troops in the 181st Infantry Regiment represent one of the oldest and storied units in the U.S. Army and U.S. Military (formed in 1636 as part of the Massachusetts Militia).

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