Superintendent Heidi Riccio recently announced that Essex Tech has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation.

The grant will support the creation of an Advanced Manufacturing program and a Construction and Craft Laborer program to be offered to students at Salem and Peabody high schools beginning this fall.

The programs will allow students at each school to earn hours toward apprenticeship and credentials in either career field. Both advanced manufacturing and construction workers are in high demand for workforce placement in northeastern Massachusetts. Students will begin the two-year program as juniors.

Essex Tech launched its first program of this nature this fall for Gloucester High School students, who now have the opportunity to learn landscaping, masonry and carpentry skills at Essex Tech.

“Essex Tech has a long wait list and we want to work with our communities to increase the access students have to high quality vocational education,” said Riccio. “We are so thankful that the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation has supported our work to provide more students with these opportunities.”

Students in the new programs will attend class each week day at their respective high schools in the morning, and will travel to Essex Tech for vocational and technical education in the afternoons.

“The Smith Family Foundation is pleased to support this innovative partnership that gives students the opportunity to round out their high school experience by developing skills and earning credentials required by employers in today’s high growth industries,” said Lynne Doblin, executive director of the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation. “Essex Tech and its partners are building a model that high schools across the Commonwealth can replicate as they expand access to high quality vocational education.”

The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation was founded in 1970 by Richard and Susan Smith, and today the private group awards approximately $14 million in grants each year to “support positive changes in the Greater Boston area in fields including health, education and economic mobility.”