Governor Signs Economic Development & Jobs Bill, Supports Middle-Skill Jobs

On Tuesday, August 7, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the Economic Development and Jobs bill (H.4352).  The bill includes a $5M direct appropriation for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, a portion of which shall be directed to middle-skill training!

This new funding will create opportunities for hundreds of Commonwealth residents to train for and access  middle-skill jobs and help dozens of employers fill critical vacancies, skill-up their workforces, and grow their businesses.

In addition, the legislation:

  • Establishes a MA Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative and Commonwealth Advanced Manufacturing Futures program which, as part of their missions, will develop and implement worker training for and talent pipelines into this sector;
  • Requires the state’s Workforce Investment Board (MWIB), in consultation with the president of the Commonwealth Corporation, to undertake an annual review of local and regional labor market information to develop regional plans to coordinate training and education activities to target employer needs and to meet the commonwealth’s demand for workers
  • Establishes a middle-skill subcommittee of the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund advisory board.

Read the Governor’s press release for more information on the bill.

We could not be more excited to see the hard work and advocacy of the Skills2Compete MA coalition and all of our legislative champions come to fruition in just one legislative session.  Readers of this space will remember that this effort all started with the release of the Massachusetts’ Forgotten Middle Skill Jobs report back in July 2010 and the filing of the Middle-Skill Solutions Act in January 2011.  From there allies and legislative champions alike fought hard and worked creatively to get more resources into the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund and systems changes to increase our state’s focus on middle-skill jobs and credentials.  A special thanks definitely goes out to Senator Ken Donnelly, who championed our bill from start to finish, and to Senator Dan Wolf, chair of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development and a strong believer in worker training.  The newly-passed Jobs bill is a big step in the right direction, and we look forward to working with the legislature and the administration to implement it!

We are deeply grateful to the Governor, to Senate President Therese Murray, Speaker Robert DeLeo, and to our Senate and House champions, especially:

Thanks, finally, to all of YOU for helping this cross the finish line and for supporting job training in our state!

Advertisements

Jobs Bill Released; Weekly Workforce Roundup: July 20-July 30

Before we launch into the weekly roundup–some developing good news on the Jobs bill (now H.4352).  The House-Senate conference committee released the bill last night, and now both Houses must act today in order to pass the legislation before the session ends.  The Conference Committee’s report includes the $5M direct appropriation for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, which we were all advocating for!  Click through the link and look for sections 13, 15, 16, 17 and 76 for details.  We’re excited also that some of the elements of the Middle-Skills Solutions Act were incorporated into the Jobs bill and language about the WCTF.  We’ll be posting updates as things develop. Stay tuned (and follow us on Twitter @s2cma for real time updates)!  And thanks for all your support!

Here’s this week’s roundup–please add anything we missed by using the “comments” field.

Workforce Development In the News

Research and Reports

Tools and Resources

Upcoming Events

Action Alert–Call Jobs Bill Conference Committee Members in support of WCTF

As we posted late last week, the House and Senate have both passed versions of a Jobs bill (S.2350/H.4119), and it’s now in conference committee.  Conferees from both House and Senate were named yesterday.  The Jobs bill  is in conference committee, and the committee has only until next Tuesday, July 31 to debate and pass the bill.

One of the most exciting workforce pieces in the Senate jobs bill, which passed last week, is a $5 million direct appropriation for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund!

We strongly support the $5 million appropriation in the Senate version and are asking House leaders and the Governor to support that as well.

(The House version has $10 million from the consolidated budget surplus but there’s no money available this year through the surplus that hasn’t been already spoken for.)  House leaders Chairman Joseph Wagner and Speaker DeLeo are the primary architects of this Jobs bill and are very supportive.

Please weigh in with Conference Committee members TODAY to support this important funding for job training partnerships around the state.

House
Chairman Joseph Wagner                    617-722-2370
Chairman Brian Dempsey     617-722-2990
Representative Kevin Kuros     617-722-2460 

Senate
Chairman Stephen Brewer       617-722-1540
Chairwoman Gale Candaras       617-722-1291
Senator Richard Ross            617-722-1555

Governor Deval Patrick                  617-725-4005

When you call, please let them know you’re calling to support the Jobs Bill and the $5 million direct appropriation for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund.  If you don’t reach them, leave a message with staff including who you are, where you live/work, and that you are calling in support of a $5 million direct appropriation for the WCTF.  Please email us any feedback you get.

We are deeply grateful to our Senate champions, especially: Senators Ken Donnelly, Dan Wolf, Gale Candaras, Karen Spilka, Stan Rosenberg, Katherine Clark, Sonia Chang-Diaz, Tom McGee, Jack Hart, Chairman Stephen Brewer, Mike Moore, Michael Knapik, Brian Joyce, and Mike Rush.  Special thanks to Senate President Murray and her staff for their thoughtful balancing of education and workforce development needs.     

Thanks for helping this cross the finish line and for supporting job training in our state!

House Jobs Bill Released–Support for Middle-Skill Jobs and Training

SkillWorks, the Workforce Solutions Group, and the Skills2Compete MA coalition commend the House for its Jobs Bill, released yesterday at the State House, and thank Speaker DeLeo and Chairman Wagner for their continued focus on job training and job creation.

The bill’s provisions help spur innovation and job growth and invest in training programs, like those supported by the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, that address the skills gap by supporting employers so they can continue to partner with community colleges, voc tech schools, career centers and workforce boards to train unemployed people.  The Competitiveness Trust Fund identifies critical job vacancies and creates training pipelines to ensure our state has the skilled workforce to grow our economy.

The bill also contains the major elements of the Middle-Skills Solutions Act (S2206, H2713), which had the support of 56 co-sponsors in the House and Senate, including:

  • $10M in funding for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund from the consolidated budget surplus for the purpose of filling the middle-skill gap in Massachusetts
  • Allows for WCTF funding to support Regional Centers of Excellence aligned with the state’s economic development agenda
  • Provides for the regular review of local and regional labor market data to development regional workforce development plans
  • Provides for baseline report on middle-skill training completion and credential attainment rates in the Commonwealth

Read the WBUR/State House News Service report on the Jobs bill.

Download the full text of the House Jobs bill.

Download the highlights of the Jobs bill.

Download a section by section summary of the Jobs bill.

A summary of the sections relevant to middle-skill training is copied below.

SECTION 78.

This section would amend section 7 of chapter 23H to require that the Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board undertake an annual review of local and regional labor market information to develop regional workforce development plans, in consultation with EOLWD, EOE, and EOHED.

SECTION 79.

This section would amend section 2WWW of chapter 29 to designate a portion of the WCTF grant program to address the so called, “middle skills gap”. The grants would focus on building relationships and partnerships in geographic clusters of educational institutions, local employers, industry partners, and local workforce investment boards  to create multiple and seamless pathways to employment through enhanced coordination of existing institutions and resources and the development.  It would also allow grants be given to establish regional centers of excellence that are aligned with the state’s economic development agenda. It would further establish a subcommittee to help design the grant sub-program

SECTION 80.

This section would amend the same section of chapter 29 to require that commonwealth corporation develop performance measures and indicators to evaluate grant recipients and that each grant recipient submit an annual report.

SECTION 81.

This section would amend the same section of chapter 29 to require that the director of workforce development assess the effectiveness of the grant program, considering parallel workforce development grant programs, and encourage coordination of existing workforce development initiatives.

SECTION 82.

This section would amend the same section of chapter 29 to include a reference to the Gaming Economic Development fund under a list of eligible funds that the WCTF may receive.

SECTION 83. 

This section would provide $10M in net consolidated surplus funding for the WCTF in fiscal year 2012.

SECTION 84.

This section would require that Commonwealth Corporation file a report on existing workforce development programs by Dec. 31, 2012, which would establish baseline data for middle skills training completion and credential attainment rates, coordinating its report with existing efforts within the department of education and labor and workforce development.

Middle-Skills Act is reported out favorably!

The Middle-Skills Solutions Act (SB921/HB2713) was reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development earlier today.

This good news caps months of hard work and advocacy by many partners in the Skills2Compete MA coalition and leadership by our bill’s sponsors and co-sponsors.

In particular, we wish to thank Sen. Ken Donnelly and Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera for leading the charge in their respective legislative bodies.

The bill was reported out largely as written, though there were some technical edits made.  Read the bill as reported out.

If passed, the bill will create middle-skill training opportunities for hundreds of Massachusetts residents in the short-term and will make getting middle-skill credentials that employers are looking for more efficient in the long-run.

Now we need everyone’s help to pass the Middle-Skills Solutions Act!   Subscribe to our blog or follow us on twitter to keep up with the latest news.   And if you’re able, join us at the Crittenton Women’s Union on Monday, March 26 for a coalition meeting to strategize on next steps.  RSVP by Friday, March 23.

Thanks again for your support!