For Immediate Release - September 27, 2016

Governor Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet Opens $12 Million Workforce Development Grant Round, and Announces $1.45 Million in Advanced Manufacturing Training Awards

Grants will fund workforce training for students, as well as unemployed and underemployed individuals

BOSTON – Today the Baker-Polito Administration’s Workforce Skills Cabinet announced two grant programs aimed to improve economic and job training opportunities for residents across the Commonwealth. The first grant program will support the opening of a $12 million workforce skills capital grant round, to provide workforce training equipment to high schools, community colleges, and community-based nonprofits. The administration also awarded $1.45 million in Advanced Manufacturing Training Program workforce development grants, to eight regional workforce development teams from across the Commonwealth.

“We continue to make the Commonwealth’s manufacturing base more competitive by building a highly-skilled workforce for employers so they can grow their businesses and support the economy,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These workforce development grant programs will equip students and workers in Massachusetts with the skills they need to connect with middle-class career pathways in key industries, including advanced manufacturing.”

“By connecting unemployed individuals to the training needed to succeed in advanced manufacturing, these workforce development grants will give adults the skills to build a career, and a life, on,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The regional partnerships we’re funding today will help open up new economic opportunities, from Pittsfield, to the South Coast and the Merrimack Valley.”

“With a looming skills shortage that will be compounded by retiring baby boomers leaving the labor force, we are finding ways to invest in the skill development of individuals who are unemployed or underemployed, and those who are joining the labor force for the first time,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald L. Walker, II.

“With over $24 million in workforce skills grants which have been made available to high schools, community colleges, and community-based nonprofits this year and last year, we are making a significant investment in our technical education across the Commonwealth,” said Education Secretary Jim Peyser. “The focus of the grants is to allow these institutions to not only expand their capacity, but also to strengthen regional partnerships with other educational entities and the area workforce.”

“These workforce development partnerships will empower residents to fully participate in our state’s economy,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Collaborative solutions that bring educators, employers and workers to the table will help close the skills gap, and provide a foundation for job creation and continued economic growth.”

The Workforce Skills Capital grant program seeks to increase the capacity and quality of vocational training and education by providing funds to eligible schools and institutions for the purchase and installation of vocational-technical equipment. The $12 million grant round the administration opened Tuesday will provide matching funds to allow educational and nonprofit institutions to invest in new vocational technical training equipment. The grants will allow high schools, community colleges and nonprofit organizations to meet employer hiring demands by modernizing and expanding vocational technical program capacity, creating new training programs that respond to industry needs, and increasing the availability of training equipment to mid-career learners.

The new grant round builds on $12.4 million in Workforce Skills Capital grants awarded this year. In August, Governor Baker signed legislation that authorizes the Executive Office of Education to commit up to $45 million in workforce skills capital matching grants. The Executive Office of Education administers the Workforce Skills Capital grant program, on behalf of the Governor’s Workforce Skills Cabinet.

The $1.45 million in advanced manufacturing training grants that the administration awarded will equip unemployed and underemployed individuals with the skills to enter the advanced manufacturing field. Training programming emphasizes outreach to veterans, demographic groups that experience chronically higher rates of unemployment, and groups that are historically underrepresented in the manufacturing sector.

The Advanced Manufacturing Training Program provides training to unemployed and underemployed individuals, including veterans, minorities and women and that support the workforce needs of the Commonwealth’s globally competitive advanced manufacturing cluster. In Fiscal Year 2015, the training grants provided workforce training to 335 individuals. The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development administers the training grant program, on behalf of the Governor’s Workforce Skills Cabinet.

The Baker-Polito Administration’s Workforce Skills Cabinet aims to close the skills gap and connect citizens to jobs by making workforce development efforts more employer-centric, and by identifying and bringing to scale successful training and education models. The Workforce Skills Cabinet is chaired by the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Ronald L. Walker II, and comprised of the Secretary of Education, Jim Peyser, and the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Jay Ash.


2016 Advanced Manufacturing Training Program Workforce Development Grant Award Winners:

Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, Pittsfield

Center for Manufacturing Technology, Woburn

E-Team Machinist Training Program, Lynn

Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, Greenfield

Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board, New Bedford

Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Worcester

Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium, Lawrence

Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, Springfield