I, like most people at the age of 18, was not fully aware of the efforts in the workforce development field until, through the City of Boston’s Summer Jobs program, I landed an internship at SkillWorks for the summer. Now I cannot go a day without either uttering or hearing the words workforce development, jobs, and education.
On the first day of my internship, I was handed a copy of Massachusetts’ Forgotten Middle Skill Jobs report which revealed two statistics I thought were staggering. I read, “45 percent of the jobs in Massachusetts’ labor market are ‘middle-skill,’ requiring more than a high school diploma but not a four-year degree, and that nearly 400,000 job openings between now and 2016 will be in this middle-skill area.” I thought the country was in a job crisis and yet right then I learned that there were jobs going unfilled because people did not have the necessary skills to fill them!
It hit me that middle skill job training was imperative for our state’s and our country’s economy. Hundreds of thousands of people have no means of supporting their families only because they lack the correct training and education. This report informed me and made me excited to advocate for the Skills2Compete-Massachusetts campaign, which calls for two years of education or training past high school. I knew after reading the report that I was in for a lot of hard work.
Here I am today a month and a half into my internship. Having recently graduated from high school, I understand that a high school diploma is not enough to succeed in today’s job market. Thus, I put my efforts into bringing the Skills2Compete vision to life by attending numerous workforce development meetings, planning for a gubernatorial forum in September, and helping out in any way possible. The most fulfilling day of my job came when I attended a YMCA Training Inc. graduation. Many speakers went on stage and shared their stories which detailed the way in which training has helped them, their families, and their lives. I could have read thousands of statistics proving the need for job training, but these people’s stories were enough for me.
I witness the results of job training and education and hear new success stories every single day. Yet, it is our goal to open the eyes of legislative leaders, policymakers and our next governor so that they can see the impact of training as well. I may see the Skills2Compete vision, but many others still do not. It is up to all of us to continue promoting the Skills2Compete Massachusetts vision and campaign so that everybody becomes aware of what a little bit of job training and hard work can do. Please help by supporting our campaign and promoting the Skills2Compete vision!
-Arlind Hoxha, SkillWorks Summer Intern