Investing in Skills: Senate Bills 169 and 855

SkillWorks and partners are pleased to be able to support two bills currently being heard in committee:  SB 855 and SB 169.  Both bills support ongoing funding for the state’s only industry-sector focused training fund:  the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF).

Although the WCTF has successfully provided training for  nearly 7,000 over the last 7 years and is helping thousands of people go back to work in the Commonwealth, there is no sustained funding source for the Fund, and there are currently no more resources to support training after the current round of grants is finished.

We applaud Senator Donnelly for his leadership in filing these bills and supporting the WCTF as an important training and economic development resource.

Would you take a moment to contact your Senator in support of these bills?

SkillWorks’ testimony in support of these bills is excerpted below:

“The recapitalization of the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund at $5 million in FY12 legislative session was an important victory.  You may know that this appropriation was awarded to 15 industry sector partnerships around the statethis summer and is already at work providing skills training and jobs to more than 800 Massachusetts job seekers and entry level workers. These grants also seeded the creation of several regional spartnerships in sectors ranging from construction to early education and care to healthcare and advanced manufacturing, to better organize training around regional business needs and to create better pathways to middle-skill jobs and the middle class.

The legislature’s support for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund means that this round of funding builds on a successful track record of 6,700 individuals trained since 2006, and $16.5 million in private sector and philanthropic funding leveraged.

Still, the need for skills training and pathways to employment is far greater, and I am encouraged by the committees’ consideration of S.855 and S. 169, which will establish a permanent funding stream for this critical initiative.

As you weigh recommendations about how we might most wisely utilize our resources in the Commonwealth, I respectfully ask for you to consider the following:

Sustained investment in the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, and in training, will generate sustained and growing returns to the Commonwealth.  Two of SkillWorks’ partner agencies recently completed return on investment-type reports on their training programs.  JVS’s report calculated five year returns of between $5.89 and $7.95 per dollar invested in the program. The Hotel Training Center showed a $4.87 return on investment for each dollar invested in training.

I know there are many priorities are competing for your attention and our limited tax dollars, but there are very few investments that can generate over a 400% return to the Commonwealth and to individuals.  And given that we continue to struggle with high unemployment, investing in skills could not be more important or timely to help individuals get back to work.  These investments strengthen our economy, our businesses, and our residents.”

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