The Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund delivers the best bang for the State’s buck, so let’s fund it!
According to a recent survey, two thirdsof employers in Massachusetts have trouble finding workers with the right skills. That’s not surprising when you consider that one in threeadults in our state have only a high school diploma or less. Not to mention, nearly one third of the state’s labor force is over the age of 55 and will be retiring soon. These are among the realities that combine to create a perfect storm, threatening the stability our statewide economy.
As a workforce funder collaborative, SkillWorks invests pooled resources into employer-driven, sector-based training and placement strategies to help low-skill, low-and moderate-income job seekers move to family-sustaining jobs, and help employers find and retain skilled employees. SkillWorks is a nationally recognized workforce development intermediary and is the model for the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. Since its inception in 2007, the National Fund has been a key partner, advisor, and collaborator with SkillWorks, and we’re excited to continue working closely with the National Fund as they launch into an exciting new phase!
The U.S. economy is a complex and dynamic system within a global framework of goods and services. Through each boom and bust cycle, our economy has evolved, facing new global competitors and harnessing the creative and destructive power of technology. In the 21st century, this evolution has led to the intersection of the digital age and the human age; an age where repetition and consistency have given way to creativity and innovation, and skilled human capital fuels growth.
Luis Garcia came to the United States from Guatemala in 1990 and found good work in the Boston area, mostly with moving companies. He met and married his wife, who gave birth to their daughter. Life was good—until everything started to fall apart. Garcia was laid off and, as a result, lost his apartment. He, his wife and their daughter were forced to live apart. “I always worked,” he says, “and to be out of work and away from my family was very, very hard.”
Workforce training gives people the skills they need to get good jobs and support their families. These programs are also important to our Commonwealth more broadly, since we rely on well-educated, highly-skilled workers to sustain our state’s high-wage economy.
Despite the evidence that workforce training gives people the skills they need to succeed, state funding for workforce training has fallen over time, down 30 percent between Fiscal Years 2001 and 2017, as indicated below. MassBudget’s new paper Investing in People: Workforce Training in the Massachusetts State Budget analyzes these long-term trends while also walking users through our interactive on-line Jobs & Workforce Budget tool. Together these resources describe each workforce training program funded by the state, show funding histories, and highlight broader trends across programs that provide similar supports. The Jobs & Workforce Budget also provides highlights from this year’s state budget.