First look at workforce priorities in the Governor's FY2013 Budget

Thanks to the Workforce Solutions Group and the Massachusetts Workforce Board Association, here’s a first look at what’s in the Governor’s House I budget for FY2013 as far as workforce priorities.

Workforce priorities fared pretty well in the Governor’s House I budget proposal for FY2013.  In particular, we are excited to note that the Governor has included one of this coalition’s top priorities–the recapitalization of the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF) for the purposes of establishing regional centers of excellence, which is very similar to the regional skills academies proposed in our Middle-Skills Solutions Act legislation. 

As far as other workforce priorities in the budget:

  • One-Stop Career Centers $4.752 million (slight decrease from FY2012)
  • School to Career Connecting Activities: $2.770 million (slight increase from FY2012)
  • Summer Jobs/YouthWorks: $8.609 million (over $1 million increase from FY2012)
  • Adult Basic Education: $30.707 million (slight decrease from FY2012, with supplemental)
  • Employment Services Program: $7.109 (level-funded)

WCTF Budget Language

Expenditures from Fiscal Year 2012 Surplus

SECTION 17.   (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, after complying with clause (a) of section 5C of chapter 29 of the General Laws, the comptroller shall dispose of the consolidated net surplus in the budgetary funds for fiscal year 2012 in the following order to the extent that funds are available: (1) the comptroller shall transfer $15,000,000 from the General Fund to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Investment Fund established by section 6 of chapter 23I of the General Laws; (2) the comptroller shall transfer $10,000,000 from the General Fund to the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund established by section 2WWW of chapter 29 of the General Laws, but the department of career services shall make expenditures from the Fund to establish regional centers of excellence at community colleges, vocational or technical high schools, or collaborations between community colleges and vocation or technical high schools; (3) the comptroller shall transfer $65,000,000 which shall be distributed to cities and towns in proportion to the amount by which each municipality’s unrestricted general government aid in fiscal year 2011 exceeds such aid in fiscal year 2013; and (4) the comptroller shall transfer the remaining balance from the General Fund to the Commonwealth Stabilization Fund.
(b) All transfers pursuant to this section shall be made from the undesignated fund balances in the budgetary funds proportionally from the undesignated fund balances; but no such transfer shall cause a deficit in any of the funds.
 
This section distributes any surplus at the end of fiscal year 2012 in the following order, to the extent that funds are available: * $15,000,000 to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Investment Fund * $10,000,000 to the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, including funding to establish regional centers of excellence at community colleges, vocational or technical high schools, * $65,000,000 in additional local aid; * the remaining balance to the Commonwealth Stabilization Fund.

Community College Reform language:

SECTION 30.   (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, for the purpose of ensuring that the commonwealth’s community colleges are aligned to execute a coherent mission that best serves students and are responsive to the needs of the workforce and employers in the region where each college operates, the board of higher education, in consultation with the commissioner of higher education, shall determine allocations of appropriations to the individual community colleges, with a specific focus on the colleges’ role as regional work training and skill development centers. The board shall develop a system for making allocations, which shall be based on: (1) accurate enrollment data for each college and the board’s assessment of the operational goals and needs for each college; (2) institutional performance with respect to clearly defined goals and metrics established by the board, including but not limited to provision for transferable and stackable credits; and (3) discretion to incentivize innovation and institutional action with respect to labor market and board priorities, including but not limited to additional funds for partnerships with vocational-technical schools. The board shall consult with the chairs of the joint committee on higher education and the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means in developing the funding system. The board shall establish parameters for the setting of fees by boards of trustees of the community colleges, as well as the appropriate uses of income derived from such fees. The board’s system of allocation and related fee parameters shall be implemented during fiscal year 2013.

(b) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, by March 1, 2013, each community college board of trustees shall update its mission statement to reflect the system-wide priorities articulated by the board of higher education under subsection (a). The mission statement shall be forwarded to the secretary of education and the board of higher education for approval. The local board of trustees shall, after its approval, make the mission statement available to the public.

(c) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the board of higher education shall appoint the chief executive officers of the community colleges. If a vacancy occurs in any such position at a community college, the board shall convene a search committee, appoint a chairperson, and select individuals to serve on the committee, at least 1 of which shall be an employer or a representative of the regional workforce and which may include campus representatives, including members of the board of trustees of the community college The board shall set criteria for reviewing candidates’ skills and qualifications and shall establish timelines for reviewing candidates, as well as work in concert with the department of higher education to manage other responsibilities related to the search committee. The designated search committee shall choose at least 3 candidates to recommend to the board. The board, in consultation with the commissioner of higher education, shall review and interview those candidates. The board may approve a new chief executive officer from among those recommended candidates. The board may also reject all recommended candidates and request additional candidates from the search committee or propose re-opening the search process. The board shall, by a majority vote of all its voting members, appoint a new chief executive officer of a community college.

(d) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the board of higher education may, in its discretion, remove a community college chief executive officer by a majority vote of all its members. The board shall establish specific criteria and procedures for such an action. The board of trustees of a community college may recommend removal of its chief executive officer to the board of higher education, but the board of higher education may act on its own initiative.

(e) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the board of higher education shall establish the terms of appointment of a community college chief executive officer, including, but not limited to, salary and benefits, in consultation with the board of trustees of the community college. The board shall establish a procedure for the annual review and evaluation of chief executive officers of the community colleges. The board, in consultation with the boards of trustees of the community colleges, shall determine all salary adjustments and other contractual terms for community college chief executive officers.

(f) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the governor shall appoint the chairperson of each community college board of trustees. Within 45 days after the effective date of this act, the governor shall appoint the chairperson of each community college board of trustees either from among the current members of each board or from outside the current members if a vacancy exists on that board. The existing term of a trustee who is newly designated to be chairperson shall not be affected by this appointment.

(g) There shall be a special commission to study higher education financing in Massachusetts. The commission shall consist of 15 members: the secretary of education, or his designee, who shall serve as chair of the commission; the chair of the board of higher education; the chair of the university of Massachusetts board of trustees; the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on higher education, or their designees; the speaker of the house of representatives, or his designee; the president of the senate, or her designee; a member of the house of representatives appointed by the minority leader; a member of the senate appointed by the minority leader; 4 persons to be appointed by the secretary of education; 1 person to be appointed by the secretary of housing and economic development; and 1 person to be appointed by the secretary of labor and workforce development. The commission shall examine, report on, and make recommendations on the full range of issues impacting higher education financing in the commonwealth, including but not limited to determining spending levels, raising resources, and allocating state funding. In particular, the commission shall recommend revisions to the current funding formulas for the community colleges, the state universities, and the university of Massachusetts. Subject to appropriation, the commission shall hire temporary staff and support services. The first meeting of the commission shall take place within 45 days after the effective date of this act. The commission shall file a report containing its recommendations, including legislation necessary to carry out its recommendations, with the clerks of the house and senate not later than 12 months following the first meeting of the commission.
 
 

Summary:
In order to ensure that the community colleges are aligned to execute a coherent mission that best serves students and responds to the needs of the workforce and regional employers, this section authorizes the Board of Higher Education to allocate funds among the community colleges and to appoint and remove their presidents. It also provides that the Governor will appoint the chair of each community college board of trustees. This section also establishes a study commission on higher education financing, chaired by the Secretary of Education

7100-4000 Massachusetts Community Colleges
For funding to community college campuses in the commonwealth; provided, that the specific allocation of the funds shall be determined and approved by the board of higher education in consultation with the commissioner of higher education; provided further, that the allocation methodology shall include but not be limited to: accurate enrollment data for each college and the board’s assessment of the operational goals and needs for each college; the current capacity of each campus to provide focused and effective workforce training and career readiness to the region they serve; an analysis of any plans each campus presents to the board to improve their efforts in these areas; institutional performance with respect to the Vision Project and other clearly defined goals and metrics established by the board, including but not limited to provision for transferable and stackable credits; innovation with respect to labor market and board priorities, including but not limited to additional funds for partnerships with vocational-technical schools; a review of the efforts made by each campus to streamline their administrative and overhead costs, including joint purchasing and staffing efforts; and an analysis of the existing per-pupil state subsidy for each campus and any inequities that that distribution causes; and provided, further, that up to $900,000 may be expended by the board and department of higher education on the administration of this allocation and other tasks associated with implementation of section 30 of this act
$218,562,027

Consolidated with 7502-0100, 7503-0100, 7504-0100, 7505-0100, 7506-0100, 7507-0100, 7508-0100, 7509-0100, 7510-0100, 7511-0100, 7512-0100, 7514-0100, 7515-0100, 7516-0100, and 7518-0100. 

 
 

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Skills for America's–and Massachusetts'–Future

President Obama announced yesterday new investments in the Skills for America’s Future initiative, which focuses on training and preparing our workforce for manufacturing jobs.  In partnership with National Association of Manufacturers, community colleges and private sector employers, the new investments will train over 500,000 community college students and allow them to get industry-accepted credentials for manufacturing jobs that companies across America are looking to fill.

President Obama’s remarks specifically called out the skills mismatch that the Skills2Compete MA campaign and our partners at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Boston Federal Reserve Bank, Shire Pharmaceutical, Children’s Hospital Boston, Nypro, Accurounds and others have noted.  As the President said:

“The goal isn’t just making sure that somebody has got a certificate or a diploma.  The goal is to make sure your degree helps you to get a promotion or a raise or a job….

“Because the irony is even though a lot of folks are looking for work, there are a lot of companies that are actually also looking for skilled workers.  There’s a mismatch that we can close.  And this partnership is a great way to do it.

“So if you’re a company looking to hire, you’ll know exactly what kind of training went into a specific degree.  If you’re considering attending a community college, you’ll be able to know that the diploma you earn will be valuable when you hit the job market.”

Lest we think this isn’t relevant to Massachusetts, the President’s remarks and the announcement of these new investments address concerns raised by Bay State manufacturers in the recent two-part series in the Boston Business Journal.  The series, which focused on the revival of manufacturing in the Commonwealth, also pointed out that a shortage of trained workers could threaten companies’ ability to expand here.

The challenge is in how we connect the dots on the ground.  The Department of Higher Education’s Vision Project is focusing on increasing credential attainment at our public higher education institutions. Massachusetts’ Workforce Training Fund, Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, and the public-private SkillWorks initiative invest in and nurture precisely the kinds of employer-training partnerships the President is talking about.

Yet, in the case of the Competitiveness Trust Fund, there’s no money left to support these partnerships, and both the House and Senate neglected to pass amendments that would have made a modest pool of dollars available in FY2012.   And while the Vision Project is making recommendations, we’ll have to find both the funding and the political will in order to implement them and see the kind of transformative change that’s needed.

It can be discouraging to think about the limits of what we can accomplish given currently constrained resources, but we have to start somewhere.  We should find the resources needed for at least a modest investment in the Competitiveness Trust Fund in 2012; we should support financial aid for working adults who attend school part-time; and we should continue to pilot and then take to scale innovative, industry-driven approaches that help students successfully attain credentials.  The potential return on this investment in terms of job growth, business expansion, and income growth for workers is enormous.

The President wants to see 500,000 new community college students earn credentials that will position them for success in the labor market.  Let’s make sure a good number of those are right here in Massachusetts.

56 Senators and Representatives co-sponsor the Middle-Skills Solutions Act

Last week, 43 Representatives and 13 Senators signed on to co-sponsor the Middle-Skills Solutions Act, originally filed by Sen. Donnelly and Rep. Coakley Rivera and an outgrowth of the Skills2Compete MA campaign.  The bill aims to improve pathways to middle-skill jobs for adults through increased regional coordination of workforce, education and business sectors as well as through the creation of a Middle-Skills Council and Regional Skills Academies.

THANK YOU to all of our bill sponsors!  And thanks to all of you who contacted your representatives and senators and asked them to sign on.

Rep. Denise Andrews (D-Orange)
Rep. Michael Brady (D-Brockton)
Rep. Paul Brodeur (D-Melrose)
Rep. William Brownsberger (D-Belmont)
Rep. Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford)
Rep. Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen)
Rep. Christine Canavan (D-Brockton)
Rep. Stephen Canessa (D-Lakeville)
Rep. Gailanne Cariddi (D-North Adams)
Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera (D-Springfield) *
Rep. Micahel Costello (D-Newburyport)
Rep. Sean Curran (D-Springfield)
Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Dorchester)
Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington)
Rep. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer)
Rep. Thomas Golden, Jr. (D-Lowell)
Rep. Jonathan Hecht (D-Watertown)
Rep. Kevin Honan (D-Brighton
Rep. Louis Kafka (D-Soughton)
Rep. John Keenan (D-Salem)
Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton)
Rep. Peter Kocot (D-Northampton)
Rep. Paul Mark (D-Pittsfield)
Rep. Christopher Markey (D-Dartmouth)
Rep. Kevin Murphy (D-Lowell)
Rep. David Nangle (D-Lowell)
Rep. Harold Naughton, Jr. (D-Clinton)
Rep. James O’Day (D-West Boylston)
Rep. Angelo Puppolo, Jr. (D-Springfield)
Rep. John Rogers (D-Norwood)
Rep. George Ross (R-Attleboro)
Rep. Tom Sannicandro (D-Ashland)
Rep. John Scibak (D-South Hadley
Rep. Stephen Smith (D-Everett)
Rep. Todd Smola (R-Palmer)
Rep. Christopher Speranzo (D-Pittsfield)
Rep. Ellen Story (D-Amherst)
Rep. William Straus (D-Mattapoisett)
Rep. Benjamin Swan (D-Springfield)
Rep. David Torrisi (D-North Andover)
Rep. Chris Walsh (D-Framingham)
Rep. Marty Walsh (D-Dorchester)
Sen. Katherine Clark (D-Melrose)
Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett)
Sen. Kenneth Donnelly (D-Arlington) *
Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton)
Sen. Susan Fargo (D-Lincoln)
Sen. Michael Knapik (R-Westfield)
Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn)
Sen. Michael Moore (D-Milbury)
Sen. Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge)
Sen. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport)
Sen. Michael Rush (D-West Roxbury)
Sen. Karen Spilka (D-Ashland)
Sen. James Timilty (D-Walpole)
Sen. Dan Wolf (D-Harwich)

*Lead Sponsors

Support the Middle-Skills Solutions Act

**We need your help today! Please call your representatives and senators and ask them to co-sponsor the Middle Skills Solutions Act!**

On Friday, January 21, Senator Kenneth Donnelly and Representative Cheryl Coakley-Rivera filed the Middle-Skills Solutions Act in the Massachusetts Senate (Docket #1547) and House (Docket #3180).

The recommendations in this bill, which SkillWorks, the Workforce Solutions Group, and some of our allies from the business, philanthropic, workforce and education communities worked on together, are a good first step toward addressing some of the barriers that keep adults from making progress toward credentials and degrees, and hence middle-skill jobs.

The Middle-Skills Solutions Act:

  • Establishes a Middle Skills Council to provide recommendations on how to better align adult basic education with post-secondary education and training in order increase the number of adults with middle-skill credentials and jobs.
  • Requires regional coordination between employers and training providers, including community colleges, in order to increase collaboration and reduce duplication and inefficiencies in our training systems; and
  • Establishes Regional Skills Academies to spur innovation within our community colleges that speeds credential attainment by lower-income, lower-skilled adults seeking career and wage advancement

We hope you’ll join us in supporting the passage of this bill.   We need your help in getting senators and representatives to sign on as bill co-sponsors before the deadline of Friday, February 4.

Please call your state representatives and senators today and ask them to co-sponsor the Middle-Skills Solutions Act (Senate 1547, House 3180).

Vote on November 2

Your vote counts on November 2!

Before you go to the polls on Tuesday, take a few minutes to hear what the candidates had to say about jobs and training at the Skills2Compete MA gubernatorial forum last month.

The person we elect to serve as our next governor will make crucial decisions about the Commonwealth’s investments in middle-skill jobs and how to better prepare our residents for these jobs.