January 2016 News & Updates!
A Message From Our Executive Director
Friends, Partners, and Funders of SkillWorks,
The new year is already off to a fast and exciting start! Only a month into 2016 so far and we’ve hit the ground running with new grantees, projects, partnerships, reports, and impending funding coming down the pike for Workforce Development across the Commonwealth. And with the ongoing support and strong partnerships with key partners and stakeholders, including Governor Baker’s Administration and his Workforce Skills Cabinet, we’ll be continuing at this pace, working on building partnerships and pathways in the IT/Tech sector, expanding postsecondary and career opportunities for youth and young adults, advocating for increased funding for workforce development efforts in Boston and statewide, and more! Thank you for your support, and please check out the exciting news and updates from this month highlighted below. Looking forward to a packed year ahead!
Marybeth Campbell
Executive Director, SkillWorks

Job Training: Works, Pays and Saves!

January 26, 2016: 

At a well-attended event at the State House, SkillWorks and the Job Training Alliance (JTA) released their impact report on quality job training programs: “Job Training: Works, Pays and Saves.” This report, supported by SkillWorks, contains extremely compelling data proving the significant return on investment on quality job training programs for the participants served, taxpayers, and the economy as a whole. 

Looking at graduates from the 12 non-profit, community based training programs included in the study, some notable outcomes include:

  • 76% Employment rate 
  • 675% Increase in total annual earnings
  • 80% Reduction in TANF (cash assistance)

The report analyzes the social and economic impacts gained from high-functioning training programs which prepare individuals for successful, long-term careers in growing industries.

Speakers at report's launch event included: Senator Ken Donnelly, Representative John Scibak, Ron Walker, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Carmine Guarino, Senior VP of Citizens Bank, Jeff McCue, Commissioner of the Department of Transitional Assistance, John Barros, Chief of Economic Development for the City of Boston, and Trinh Nguyen, Director of the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development and SkillWorks Co-Chair.

Each speaker expressed steadfast support of and commitment to quality community based job training and workforce development programs and more broadly commitment to improving the lives of low-income Bostonians and Massachusetts residents and to ensuring that employers have an accessible pipeline of skilled talent.

READ: Summary  |   Full Report
New Coalition Formed to support Career and Vocational Technical Education in MA

January 22, 2016:

In a packed space at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boson on Friday, January 22nd, members from the business, workforce, education, nonprofit, and government sectors came together to celebrate the launch of the The Alliance for Vocational and Technical Education (AVTE) and to highlight the importance of the Career/Vocational Technical Education (CVTE) system in Massachusetts.

The AVTE outlined how CVTE is essential to economic development across the state, and presented key policy recommendations. Governor Baker and his Workforce Skills Cabinet joined us and shared their support for the Alliance and CVTE across the state, announcing a recommendation for $83.5 M investment in improving Career and Vocational Technical Education.

The program also included highlights of a survey and report commissioned by AVTE that examines public perceptions of CVTE, presented by Barry Bluestone, Director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. Click here to read the full report: The Critical Importance of Vocational Education in the Commonwealth

To learn more about the Alliance for Vocational Technical Education and their policy recommendations, check out their new website and one-pager!

State Funding Highlights
At the Alliance for Vocational Technical Education event earlier this month, Governor Baker and the Workforce Skills Cabinet announced proposals  for $83.5 Million for Career Vocational Technical Education, proposed as part of his FY17 budget proposal and impending Economic Development legislation.

Highlights include:
  • $75 million over five years: new capital authorization to fund grants for equipment to expand and improve career technical education programs, building on a $9.2 million Skills Capital grant program announced this year.technical education programs, building on a $9.2 million Skills Capital grant program announced this year.
  • $7.5 million: work-based learning grants, including nearly doubling support for school-to-career connecting activities to $5.5 million, and doubling support for Dual Enrollment to $2 million, to expand and replicate STEM-focused early college career pathways, including middle school curriculum and workplace experience and learning.

  • $1 million: new Career Technical Partnership Grants, funded through federal Perkins Act grant funding, to strengthen relationships between vocational schools, comprehensive high schools, and employers.  

READ: Press Release

The Baker-Polito Administration also announced this month plans to invest an additional $5 Million Targeting Chronically High Unemployment. This proposal includes:

  • $2 million to create a new Economic Opportunity Fund, investing in community-based organizations who partner with businesses to offer job training and hiring opportunities for people who face employment barriers. The grants will allow organizations to provide a deeper level of engagement to help residents find a job.

  • $2 million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, which invests in training unemployed workers for in-demand jobs. SkillWorks & the Workforce Solutions Group (WSG) successfully advocated for this funding last year. IF the Governor’s recommendation is adopted, it will mark the first time this program has been funded for two consecutive years.

  • $1 million to expand statewide re-entry and job training programming for former criminal offenders re-entering society.

READ: Press Release

    How to Impact State Budget Decisions
      by Lew Finfer, Director of MCAN and Workforce Solutions Group (WSG) E Team member  
    The State Budget Process ~ "Inside the State House"

    1.   Governor Baker made his budget proposals for FY 17 on 1/27/16 in what's called House 2. 

    2.  House of Representatives
    • Legislators meet with the House Ways and Means Chair Brian Dempsey and tell him their budget priorities during February-March... ask them to put your budget item on their list!
    • The House Ways and Means Committee makes it's budget decisions by late March and releases them around April 12.
    • Legislators can file budget amendments to seek to increase budget line items between around April 13-25.
    • The House debates and votes on a budget around the week of April 25.
    3.  State Senate
    • Legislators meet with the Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka, and tell her their budget priorities during February-March.... ask them to put your budget item on their list!
    • The Senate Ways and Means Committee makes it's budget decisions by early May and releases them around May 17.
    • Legislators can file budget amendments to seek to increase budget line items between around May 17-20.
    • The Senate debates and votes on a budget around the week of May 23.
    4.  House-Senate Conference Committee meets in June to negotiate differences in amounts passed for budget line items.
    5.  The Governor can sign or veto each budget line item when he gets the budget in later June and the Legislature can override vetos if they have 2/3 vote. Budget is agreed on before July 1 unless extensions are passed. 
    State Budget Process and Organizing ~ "Outside the State House"
    1.  Organize local meetings with your state representatives and state senators and ask them to commit to make the state programs you care about be one of their budget priorities that they talk about with the Chair of House/Senate Ways and Means when they meet with him/her in February-March and that they will work for during the budget process. Ask them if they will co-sponsor a budget amendment for the needed funding if it's NOT included in the Ways and Means budget. THANK THEM for meeting with you with emails, pictures and messages on social media.   

    2.  Participate in or organize statewide rally/lobby days.

    3.  Organize letters and calls to your state legislators.
    4.  Involve your constituency to take these actions with you---staff, board, people using your programs, allied organizations, local officials, etc.

    5. Get articles in your local newspaper about your state budget priorities and efforts to reach your state legislators.
    For more info on organizing to impact this process, contact Massachusetts Communities Action Network, (617) 822-1499  LewFinfer@gmail.com or Kathie Mainzer at Workforce Solutions Group 617-263-3344 kmainzer@strategygroupinc.com

    Thank you for participating!     
    More News & Updates
    Deadline Extension: CareerSTAT 2016 Frontline Health Care Worker Champion Award
    The nomination period for the 2016 CareerSTAT Frontline Health Care Worker Champion Program has been extended! All application materials are now due Friday, March 4, 2016. 

    With the goal of recognizing oustanding health care employers, the  2016 CareerSTAT Frontline Health Care Worker Champion Program seeks to:
    • Recognize employers who are investing strategically in their frontline workforce;
    • Raise awareness around investments in frontline workers;
    • Identify frontline worker champion employers across the United States;
    • Share best practices with other employers seeking to learn more about how to do this work; and
    • Encourage other health care providers across all service lines to invest in their workers.
    Do you know a frontline employer champion? Please encourage them to apply for recognition from CareerSTAT by  clicking here. All nominations are due by  Friday, March 4, 2016. Decisions and announcements will be made in May 2016. 

    Questions? Please email Elicia Wilson, Senior Program Manager, National Fund for Workforce Solutions at  ewilson@jff.org or call at 857-268-4160.
    Tuesday, May 17, 2016
    Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center

    The Sharing Skills~Building Connections conference provides agencies from across the Commonwealth with the opportunity to improve their workforce programs and practices; build connections across the range of provider systems; share skills and experiences; and equips attendees to better provide employment services to thousands of underemployed and unemployed people moving towards economic success.

    Download Conference Prospectus  here !

    If you are interested in being a presenter, sponsor or exhibitor for the 2016 conference, please contact Dilia Ramirez: 617-727-5944 or  dramirez@cedac.org
    Call for Presentations:

    Crittenton Women's Union (CWU) to Host “Disrupting the Poverty Cycle” conference on Oct. 6-7, 2016 in Boston, MA.

    The conference offers a multiple-day, concurrent session format that creates a self-directed, facilitated learning environment with panels and interactive workshops designed specifically for attendees engaged in disrupting poverty.

    Anyone interested in presenting at the conference must submit a detailed abstract postmarked no later than March 2, 2016. More information can be found in the RFP: 
    SkillWorks: Partners for a Productive Workforce | www.skill-works.org