1.2   Improve responsiveness of workforce programs for business and workers that will meet the demands of the marketplace (three action items)

Contact: Mary Beth Campbell

1.2.1 Continuously assess the workforce needs of regional employers in a collaborative process that includes all “middle skills” education and workforce training providers, building on the collaborative example of education, economic development and workforce development participants on the North Shore

CY2013 Progress:

  • In July 2013, the announced the release of $4.5 million through the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to improve the skills of job seekers and incumbent employees in Massachusetts. This latest round of Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund grants is designed to address the gap between the skills held by workers and the skills needed by employers for jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than the equivalent of a 4-year degree.  The announcement included 15 grant partnerships, involving more than 100 businesses, to benefit 850 job seekers and incumbent employees.
  • The Commonwealth Corporation issued a statewide Skills Gap report that describes the challenges, opportunities and recommendations based on a 10 year review of the Massachusetts labor force.
  • The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, with funding from the Community College Transformation Agenda, contracted with the Conference Board to provide access to real time labor market information through a tool called Help Wanted Online. All 15 community colleges, 16 workforce boards, career centers, state universities and the UMass system have access to this research and planning tool.
  • During the Second Quarter of 2012, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development conducted a survey of more than 14,500 private employers across the Commonwealth to determine the number of job vacancies. The Massachusetts Job Vacancy Survey is a major information source for tracking labor demand in the Commonwealth.

CY2012 Progress:

  • The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Commonwealth Corporation and the New England Public Policy Center of the Federal Reserve Bank recently issued regional market supply and demand reports for 8 sub-state regions of the state.

1.2.2 Develop and implement education and workforce development programs that are responsive to the workforce needs of regional employers and that build on existing “best practice” models, starting with the health care, life science, technology and advanced manufacturing sectors

CY2013 Progress:

  • Ten Massachusetts community colleges have been awarded the state’s first-ever Rapid Response grants to respond to education and workforce training needs within 90 days of a company’s request.  
  • Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor and Secretary of Education Matthew Malone announced the 25 recipients of $1.1 million in Vocational School Equipment grants to benefit Massachusetts vocational schools. This program provides grant funding to qualifying institutions to purchase necessary equipment to prepare their students for the modern workforce.
  • On March 26, Education Secretary Matthew Malone, Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland, UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley and 100 students to announce the Commonwealth’s new High-Demand scholarships, awarded to students pursuing careers for which the state has an urgent need for skilled talent. The Commonwealth’s knowledge-based economy relies on a high-knowledge, well-skilled workforce for continued growth, and these scholarships will help ensure that Massachusetts has the talent needed to remain competitive in the 21st century.

CY2012 Progress:

  • Developed and implemented a rolling application process for businesses and for consortia applications. This makes the Workforce Training Fund more accessible and flexible for applicants.
  • Performance Incentive Fund – $4 million was awarded to 15 community colleges to increase skill training, workforce alignment and continue to develop a unified and strengthened community college system.
  • Rapid Response Incentive Program – $500,000 was made available through the Department of Higher Education for Rapid Response incentive grants for accelerated degree programs and/or working adults programs to align with workforce.
  • Vocational schools and community colleges are in the process of cross-pollinating their boards in order to coordinate better and response to business needs.
  • Commonwealth Corporation issued new funds for training and partnership developed through the recapitalized Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF).
  • Via the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative:
    • Established new manufacturing consortium in the Northeast based on the Precision Manufacturing Regional Alliance Project (PMRAP) model
    • Initiated similar consortium development work with the Southeast
    • Issued 10 new grants to vocational schools, community colleges and workforce investment boards through AMP It Up campaign to promote awareness and education for careers in manufacturing.

1.2.3 Increase the range of individuals effectively served by education and workforce training programs, particularly among low-skilled workers, unemployed and underemployed populations, new residents to the state, veterans, persons with disabilities, ex-offenders, drop-outs, non-graduating completers, and those seeking ABE/ESL and remedial training

CY2013 Progress:

  • Formation of the Massachusetts Student Veteran Advisory Board, a subcommittee of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veteran Services that is charged to address how  the state can better serve student veterans.
  • State and local officials to announced the New Garden Park, the 501(c)3 entity of the Worcester Business Development Corporation (WBDC), Quinsigamond Community College (QCC), QCC’s expansion to 20 Franklin Street in downtown Worcester. The new downtown location will allow QCC to relocate and expand its Allied Health programs, as well as offer expanded Workforce Development and Training, Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language programs. The new facility will support over 2,000 students and administrators.

CY2012 Progress:

  • In January 2013, the “Virtual Schools” bill expanding online educational opportunities for students across the Commonwealth.  This Bill also secures proper state oversight of virtual schools to ensure that all students receive a high quality education.
  • The Veterans' Access, Livelihood, Opportunity, and Resources (VALOR) law, which streamlines the professional licensure process for active duty military service members, military veterans, and military spouses  increased  support for veteran-owned businesses, provides other benefits for families and greater access to higher education.
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