House Jobs Bill Released–Support for Middle-Skill Jobs and Training

SkillWorks, the Workforce Solutions Group, and the Skills2Compete MA coalition commend the House for its Jobs Bill, released yesterday at the State House, and thank Speaker DeLeo and Chairman Wagner for their continued focus on job training and job creation.

The bill’s provisions help spur innovation and job growth and invest in training programs, like those supported by the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, that address the skills gap by supporting employers so they can continue to partner with community colleges, voc tech schools, career centers and workforce boards to train unemployed people.  The Competitiveness Trust Fund identifies critical job vacancies and creates training pipelines to ensure our state has the skilled workforce to grow our economy.

The bill also contains the major elements of the Middle-Skills Solutions Act (S2206, H2713), which had the support of 56 co-sponsors in the House and Senate, including:

  • $10M in funding for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund from the consolidated budget surplus for the purpose of filling the middle-skill gap in Massachusetts
  • Allows for WCTF funding to support Regional Centers of Excellence aligned with the state’s economic development agenda
  • Provides for the regular review of local and regional labor market data to development regional workforce development plans
  • Provides for baseline report on middle-skill training completion and credential attainment rates in the Commonwealth

Read the WBUR/State House News Service report on the Jobs bill.

Download the full text of the House Jobs bill.

Download the highlights of the Jobs bill.

Download a section by section summary of the Jobs bill.

A summary of the sections relevant to middle-skill training is copied below.

SECTION 78.

This section would amend section 7 of chapter 23H to require that the Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board undertake an annual review of local and regional labor market information to develop regional workforce development plans, in consultation with EOLWD, EOE, and EOHED.

SECTION 79.

This section would amend section 2WWW of chapter 29 to designate a portion of the WCTF grant program to address the so called, “middle skills gap”. The grants would focus on building relationships and partnerships in geographic clusters of educational institutions, local employers, industry partners, and local workforce investment boards  to create multiple and seamless pathways to employment through enhanced coordination of existing institutions and resources and the development.  It would also allow grants be given to establish regional centers of excellence that are aligned with the state’s economic development agenda. It would further establish a subcommittee to help design the grant sub-program

SECTION 80.

This section would amend the same section of chapter 29 to require that commonwealth corporation develop performance measures and indicators to evaluate grant recipients and that each grant recipient submit an annual report.

SECTION 81.

This section would amend the same section of chapter 29 to require that the director of workforce development assess the effectiveness of the grant program, considering parallel workforce development grant programs, and encourage coordination of existing workforce development initiatives.

SECTION 82.

This section would amend the same section of chapter 29 to include a reference to the Gaming Economic Development fund under a list of eligible funds that the WCTF may receive.

SECTION 83. 

This section would provide $10M in net consolidated surplus funding for the WCTF in fiscal year 2012.

SECTION 84.

This section would require that Commonwealth Corporation file a report on existing workforce development programs by Dec. 31, 2012, which would establish baseline data for middle skills training completion and credential attainment rates, coordinating its report with existing efforts within the department of education and labor and workforce development.

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