SkillWorks 2015: Our Year in Review

Happy New Year!

SkillWorks’s latest newsletter is out and is chock full of SkillWorks and workforce news and updates from 2015! See below for a message from our Executive Director, Marybeth Campbell, and click here to check out the full newsletter!

Dear Friends, Funders and Partners:
 Where did the year go? It feels like just yesterday that I was writing my first newsletter as the new Executive Director of SkillWorks. Time flies when you are having fun. SkillWorks has had a great year with some exciting events, new partnerships and new opportunities. In January, we joined the Alliance for Career Technical Education with partners in business, education and workforce development to increase access to career technical education in the state and support new training capacity for our career technical high schools. We are working closely with Governor Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet and members of the legislature to vet policy recommendations that will yield greater results for more career technical students and employers that are seeking to find qualified workers. In fact, just this week Governor Baker announced $9.2M for new capital equipment grants for vocational schools and community colleges to apply for job training programs.
 We also began to shape our youth and young adult portfolio by partnering with the Opportunity Youth Collaborative and making an investment in Commonwealth Corporation’s Signal Success workforce readiness curriculum that is now reaching 200 new students in the Boston Public Schools this school year.
 Our SkillWorks Coaches group continues to meet regularly to share best practices and we expanded our capacity building efforts further by partnering with the United Way to host joint meetings of our career coaches and theirfinancial coaches to align coaching efforts and share best practices.
 In June, we launched a new funding pool to support our four key focus areas to Drive Demand, Deepen Capacity, Increase Employability for Youth and Young Adults and Target Job Quality. That effort resulted in more than $800,000 in new grants to 11 organizations working on these key areas including organizations within our expanded geography in Somerville and Cambridge. 
 We were also the recipient of a new $200,000, two-year grant from our funding partner JPMorgan Chase that will help us launch a new IT/Technology Industry Partnership in early 2016 with our partners in the City’s Office of Workforce Development and the Boston Private Industry Council.
 As of September 2015, our Phase III investments have reached 358 jobseekers. Of those who have completed training, 72% of people have been placed into jobs, and almost 80% of incumbent workers have seen wage increases. Of all job-seekers and incumbent workers who completed training, 80% earned an education or industry credential of any level. These are just a few highlights from 2015 and we are looking to raise the bar event higher for 2016.
 Most importantly, I want to share my sincere appreciation and respect for all the work you do as our partners and supporters. I am honored to work with all of you each and every day as leaders and innovators. My first year at SkillWorks has been so fun and rewarding, and I look forward to continuing our work together and making 2016 a banner year for us.
 Good tidings and a Happy New Year to all.
 Marybeth Campbell
Executive Director, SkillWorks
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