BOSTON — Area vocational schools will teach advanced manufacturing skills to adults as part of a program aimed at filling workplace shortages, which was unveiled Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday.

Adults who train at one of 10 local vocational schools — including Essex Technical High School in Danvers, Greater Lawrence Technical High School in Andover and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in Haverhill — can earn certificates in advanced manufacturing that also give them credit toward an associate’s degree.

Students can earn a certificate by taking three classes, according to Baker administration officials. The program is designed to be flexible, and participants can complete courses at their own pace.

Baker said the program "leverages state and federal resources and offers much needed flexibility to give people better career options."

"The program provides another opportunity for students to pursue an affordable education in advanced manufacturing to learn a skill set and find a good paying job in this growing industry," he said in a statement.

Students will be able to enroll next September, officials said, with expected enrollment of 200 to 300 students in the first year.

“This program will make vocational education more readily accessible to adults and also provides a more affordable path to college for those looking to continue their education by awarding college credit for the vocational certificate,” Education Secretary James Peyser said.

It's not clear how much the program will cost for students, but they will be eligible for federal and state grants, as well as scholarships.

Workforce development has become a focus of the Baker administration’s strategy to boost the industry. Many manufacturers face a shortage of skilled workers, which has held back growth of many startup companies, officials say.

The skills gap is especially prevalent in so-called gateway cities such as Lawrence and Salem, which once were the backbone of the state's industry.

Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for North of Boston Media Group’s newspapers and websites. Email him at