SkillWorks and WSG were the lead conveners of the successful Skills2Compete-Massachusetts campaign. The coalition sought to raise awareness of the need to train Massachusetts residents for middle-skill jobs, which require more than high school but not a four-year degree. These jobs make up the largest portion of Massachusetts' labor market. In collaboration with local partners, National Skills Coalition helped form the Skills2Compete-Massachusetts campaign.
Primarily active from 2010-2012, the Skills2Compete-Massachusetts campaign successfully advocated for new investments and policies to better prepare Massachusetts’s workforce with the skills for in-demand jobs:
- $5 million for a Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund – a state fund supporting industry-sector partnerships – in the 2012 Jobs and Economic Development Bill.
- Language in the same Jobs bill that required the development and convening of regional skills academies to better align regional education and training resources to meet business and job-seeker need.
- Language in the 2012 state budget directing the use of a new community college trust fund (formed as part of Massachusetts’ casino gambling legislation) to support industry-sector training, similar to the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund. The budget also included language to fund high demand scholarships for residents pursuing credentials and degrees in high demand fields and occupations.
- Preserved state funding for key workforce development line items in the state budget, including supplemental funding for the One Stop Career Centers, subsidized employment for at-risk youth, and School to Career Connecting Activities.
The successful coalition-based advocacy work of Skills2Compete Massachusetts lives on through WSG and SkillWorks even though the campaign itself has officially closed. Below are recent examples of work done by WSG and SkillWorks.
- SkillWorks, the Workforce Solutions Group, and the Youth Jobs Coalition sponsored a Youth Pathways Advocacy Day at the State House on April 10, 2014. Speakers included Senators Dan Wolf, Ken Donnelly, Tom McGee and Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representatives Alice Peisch and Tom Conroy.
- SkillWorks and Massbudget launched the new Jobs and Workforce Budget, an online interactive tool to track state investments in workforce training.
- SkillWorks and WSG sponsored their fourth annual Jobs and Workforce Summit in October 2013. The event featured state policymakers, workforce development practitioners, economic development experts, and business leaders.
Visit the SkillWorks blog for regular updates on news and resources relevant to workforce development in Massachusetts.