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Patrick Administration Announces $2M for State Workforce Grant

Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Suzanne M. Bump recently announced the first round of the new Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF) grants at Massasoit Community College in Brockton. These grants totaling $10M will enable a broad range of residents – including older workers, low-wage workers, low-income individuals, disabled citizens, vulnerable youth, incumbent workers, and the unemployed – to gain access to employment, education, and the skills necessary to move forward along a career path leading to economic self-sufficiency. 

Twenty grants have been awarded in this first round, including 15 implementation grants and five planning grants. Funds, divided among regions, range from $25,000 for planning grants up to $500,000 for implementation grants, and are part of the state's new Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, a sector initiative created by the Workforce Solutions Act of 2006. 

The Fund is designed to support industry-sector projects targeting a particular industry of importance to each region, such as healthcare and travel and tourism.  Critical industries are defined as those that employ large numbers of people within a given region, have high job vacancy rates and have shown growth and/or have a high number of employers.

The Skyline Technical Fund for the Central Massachusetts Institute for Workforce Development will receive a $500,000 grant over a three year period that will train workers for regional manufacturing jobs.

From left to right: Ted Bauer,
MassMEP, Ted Coghlin, Skyline
Technical Fund, Suzanne Bump,
Massachusetts Secretary of Labor
and Workforce Development

Classes will be held at the Alden Design and Engineering Academy at Worcester Technical High School. The Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership will provide basic and advanced classes, and Workforce Central and the Regional Employment Board will provide career evaluation, counseling, and assistance for area residents. The first class will begin in late summer.

"Our vision has always been that the Worcester Technical High School would serve as an economic engine for Central Massachusetts, not only by providing the best academic and technical education to our high-school students, but also by offering the most advanced equipment and training to help adults advance their careers," Edwin B. "Ted" Coghlin Jr., president of Skyline Technical Fund, said in a news release. Skyline Technical Fund is a nonprofit organization created to support the high school.

"Manufacturers report a shortage of skilled workers. We need to build the work force that will help retain and create jobs in our communities, and to compete in today's global economy," said Jack Healy, director of the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

"The Patrick Administration believes that investing in our workforce is a smart investment and important to our future economic vitality," said Bump. "I congratulate Jack Healy, Ted Coghlin, and all those involved in the Skyline Technical Fund for working to help address this key workforce challenge in Central Massachusetts."

Four grants funded include:

Skyline Technical Fund, Inc.
Manufacturers need better-trained workers with higher skills in order to remain competitive. Workers need better skills to get into good jobs and to advance their career paths. The goal of this project is to integrate the Regional Employment Board with the training resource of the technical high schools and try to redefine vocational education to include workforce training. The Central Mass. Institute for Workforce development is designed to reduce barriers to connect the dots between potential and incumbent employees, employers, and technical education and training providers, using the resources of Worcester Technical High School. The program implements successful models such as M.O.S.T. (Machine Operator Skills Training) and builds on existing relationships and strengths to deliver basic workforce education and manufacturing training. Its expected impact will be to improve the economic status of individuals, families, and employers in Central Massachusetts, and to create the Institute to replicate the program to other industries and regions in the Commonwealth.

Regional Employment Board of Hampden County
The primary goal of the Precision Manufacturing Training Project (PMTP) is to provide training in Machine Tool Technology to 40 unemployed/underemployed individuals.  The project also aims to establish 40 training slots per year to provide skills enhancement to 60 incumbent workers. This will increase the industry's capacity to penetrate specific market demands in highly specialized and complementary markets.

Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board
This partnership initiative is designed to meet the workforce needs of the region's manufacturing industry. The proposed project will provide education and training services to minimum of 45 currently unemployed workers and a minimum of 125 currently employed workers. The goal of the project is to work with the regions employers and education providers to develop a career pathway which will meet the stated needs of our industry partners and workers. Course offerings will range from entry level to highly skilled giving employees opportunity for advancement by upgrading skills and companies a more educated market responsive workforce.

Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board
As manufacturers strive for global competitiveness and specialization in niche markets, they look for solutions to bridge traditional skills of their workers to new, more technical skills, and to train-the-trainer. This project focuses on training over 550 incumbent workers in demand-drive, lean manufacturing concepts that support career ladders within local employers. Participants will receive certificates upon course completion. The program will also target 84 potential workers (including DTA clients) to prepare them for an advanced manufacturing environment by embedding lean concepts into work readiness training.

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