New SkillSPAN Network Will Increase Skills and Job Training Opportunities for Thousands of People


New network will push for policies in postsecondary education, workforce training, career and technical education that expand economic opportunities for people and boost local businesses

Boston, MA – Massachusetts will be one of ten states to join the just-launched SkillSPAN, the first nationwide network of non-partisan organizations working together to drive workforce policy wins in over twenty-five states over the next five years.

SkillSPAN – which stands for Skills State Policy Advocacy Network – will bring together policy organizations, workforce advocates, community colleges, businesses, unions, and others focused on advancing state policies that support workers who want training for good, family-supporting jobs and help local businesses grow a skilled workforce.

In Massachusetts, SkillWorks and our public policy partner, the Workforce Solutions Group, will work with stakeholders and policy makers to implement critical systems changes and improvements. Our main goals are:

  1. Develop a workforce and education system that supports Career Pathways that align the job training, economic development and higher education systems, including Adult Basic Education.
  2. Increase accountability measures by adopting common performance measures for job training, education and employment programs ans ask the state to adopt wage record matching for all programs.
  3. Expand successful career and vocational technical pathways for disconnected and opportunity youth that align workforce development, secondary and post-secondary education systems, and job training and placement programs.
  4. Develop evidence-based policies and programs which support people with barriers to employment; including TAFDC recipients with low education levels and little or no employment history.
  5. Advocate for the passage of state and federal job creation proposals.

“On behalf of SkillWorks and the Workforce Solutions Group, we’d like to thank the National Skills Coalition for launching SkillSPAN and for creating this opportunity for our state coalition to boost and broaden our policy development and advocacy work.”
– Marybeth Campbell, Executive Director, SkillWorks.

An initiative of National Skills Coalition, SkillSPAN aims to amplify the voices of organizations like SkillWorks and the Workforce Solutions Group, and their partners in state capitals across the country in order to move workforce policies across a number of states. Some of these policies include: making financial aid available to working people; protecting funding for skills training programs; and expanding apprenticeship programs, particularly for low-income working adults and out-of-school youth.

“In every statehouse, policymakers can support training that expands economic opportunities for workers and their families,” said Brooke DeRenzis, State Policy and Network Director at National Skills Coalition. “SkillSPAN partners will help by equipping state leaders with innovative workforce development policies.”  


National Skills Coalition is a broad-based coalition of employers, unions, education and training providers, and public officials working toward a vision of an America that grows its economy by investing in its people so that every worker and every industry has the skills to compete and prosper.

SkillWorks is a nationally recognized workforce funder collaborative housed at the Boston Foundation, with a mission to create opportunities toward economic sufficiency for low-income workers and meet employer needs for high demand occupations. SkillWorks will act as lead organization for the policy network, and, as has been the case for several years, will strategize and execute a policy agenda in coordination with our policy partner, the Workforce Solutions Group.

The Workforce Solutions Group (WSG) is a statewide advocacy coalition playing a major role in setting the state’s agenda for skills training and workforce development. The WSG is comprised of leaders from the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), the Massachusetts Workforce Association, and the Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN). 

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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