Boston Selected to Participate in National Job Quality Initiative

Boston will assist local healthcare and food service employers in improving hiring, retention, and engagement of frontline workers.



Boston will assist local healthcare and food service employers in improving hiring, retention, and engagement of frontline workers.

Boston, MA (January 17, 2018) – The National Fund for Workforce Solutions announced that it is awarding $100,000 to Boston- based SkillWorks and Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), to advance job quality strategies in the healthcare and “fast-casual” dining industries. The grants, made possible through The Prudential Foundation, will enable local employers to incorporate new business practices that will improve their competitiveness and result in better jobs for workers. SkillWorks was chosen from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions network of more than 30 communities to lead this innovative program. The selected communities— Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, and Hartford—will develop and share successful approaches to improving the quality of frontline positions.


The National Fund’s Job Quality Initiative is focused on expanding the number of good jobs for American workers by promoting business practices and community investments that support workers and businesses.  National Fund collaboratives will partner with companies to implement new hiring and training strategies that will enhance productivity and growth while improving key conditions for workers such as higher wages, better benefits, improved supervision, incentive bonuses, and opportunities for advancement.

“From our work with thousands of employers, we understand that a ‘good job’ is key for workers, companies and communities to succeed,” said Fred Dedrick, President and CEO of the National Fund. “By effectively hiring, training, engaging and empowering entry-level staff, companies create a competitive advantage. That is why our local partners are working directly with businesses to help them understand what ‘makes a good job’ and how to institute practices that sustain them.”

SkillWorks is partnering with JVS to help businesses in the healthcare and fast-casual dining industries more effectively hire and retain frontline workers. The project will focus on securing fair and equitable wages, creating career pathways to higher paying jobs, providing peer mentoring and access to academic and career coaching, and a series of process changes including job redesign and cross-training.

SkillWorks will also use this grant opportunity, and lessons from its previous investments, to shape a more deliberate and disciplined job quality strategy in concert with training and employer partners.

Job quality is a strategic priority for JVS, and they have been an effective implementer of job quality practices in partnership with employers. “JVS and SkillWorks are long-standing collaborators in bringing workers the skills that employers need, and we are excited to deepen our work with our employer partners,” said Jerry Rubin, President & CEO of JVS. “This is a great opportunity for Boston at an important moment of high income inequality combined with low unemployment. In this tight labor market, we have a real opportunity to improve job quality for workers while helping businesses address challenges in hiring, retention, and workforce development.”

SkillWorks and JVS will work in concert with employer partners to shape and test elements of a more deliberate and disciplined job quality strategy, applying lessons learned via capacity building efforts and across industry-led consortia and with new employer partners. “With a competitive employment economy, we are continually testing innovative ways to hire and retain excellent staff, particularly in entry-level positions such as Certified Nursing Assistants,” said Colleen Moran, Director of Workforce Development at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. “Working with JVS and community-based organizations has helped us create quality jobs for our employees at Spaulding, and we are able to maintain a world-class level of service to our patients and their families.”

A total of seven cities will be participating in the initiative. An additional three cities will be announced in late spring.  Each collaborative will be developing strategies tailored to their labor market, workforce system, employer partners and unique challenges.

Atlanta CareerRise, in partnership with the Construction Ready Program, is addressing job quality issues impacting the retention and advancement of new hires within Georgia’s construction industry.

Pathways to Work, the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, and the DFW Hospital Council Foundation will work with members of the Dallas Healthcare Learning Consortium to solve a shared workforce challenge: improving job quality of the Patient Care Technician (PCT) position.

The Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford is partnering with the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technologies to help four companies increase the productivity of their employees and the quality of their jobs.

Lata Reddy, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Inclusion & Impact, Prudential Financial and Chair and President, The Prudential Foundation, discussed why Prudential has chosen to partner with the National Fund saying, “To help people build a strong financial future, we strive to invest in both local communities committed to supporting workers and businesses but also building an infrastructure that can accelerate the dissemination of successful efforts. The National Fund provides an avenue for us to deepen and expand our impact, create more workforce programs that meet industry needs and to seed innovative practices that generate good jobs.”

Media Contact:
Marybeth Campbell

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About SkillWorks: SkillWorks is a nationally recognized workforce funder collaborative, launched by the Boston Foundation and City of Boston in 2003 to improve workforce development in Boston and across Massachusetts. SkillWorks unites philanthropy, government, community organizations and employers to address the twin goals of helping low-income individuals attain family-supporting jobs and helping businesses find skilled workers. For more information, please visit

About JVS: Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) was founded in 1938 to assist Jewish immigrants and refugees struggling to enter the American workforce and support their families in Boston. Today, JVS provides skills training, education, job placement, and career development support to tens of thousands of individuals, many of them immigrants and refugees fleeing war and poverty. Last year, JVS delivered a broad range of services to nearly 17,000 individuals and dozens of employers seeking skilled workers. For more information please visit

About National Fund for Workforce Solutions: The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is a national network promoting economic opportunity and prosperous communities through investment and innovation.  Based in Washington D.C., the National Fund partners with philanthropy, employers, workers, public and private community organizations, and more than 30 regional collaboratives to invest in skills, improve systems, and generate good jobs. The National Fund supports civic and business leaders in promoting evidence-based practices and policies that build shared prosperity. Learn more about the National Fund and its local partners at

About Prudential Financial: Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE:PRU), a financial services leader with more than $1 trillion of assets under management as of September 30, 2017, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise, and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit

Author: SkillWorks

SkillWorks is a nationally recognized workforce funder collaborative, launched by the Boston Foundation in 2003 to improve workforce development in Boston and across Massachusetts. SkillWorks brings together philanthropy, government, community organizations and employers to address the twin goals of: 1) Helping low-skill, low-income individuals attain family-supporting jobs; and 2) Helping employers find and retain skilled employees.

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