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Healey-Driscoll Administration Awards $6.4 Million to Increase Workforce Competitiveness

November 2023

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Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development

November 03, 2023, 15:23 GMT


Worcester — The Healey-Driscoll Administration today announced nearly $6.4 million in Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly Workforce Success Grants to seven partnerships representing employers and collaborative organizations statewide. The grants, funded through the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF) and distributed by the Commonwealth Corporation, aim to increase access to well-paying jobs for residents facing employment barriers and improve the competitive stature of Massachusetts businesses by enhancing worker skills and productivity.    

Labor and Workforce Development officials joined local elected officials, representatives of the Commonwealth Corporation, and program participants to announce the awards at Open Sky Community Services, Inc. The organization received $3.5 million to increase access to care while diversifying the behavioral health/human services workforce and providing meaningful career opportunities for BIPOC, Latinx, immigrant, and refugee workers and job seekers.  

“Massachusetts has far too many talented workers who are being held back from reaching their full potential and far too many jobs going unfilled across our economy,” said Governor Maura Healey. “These grants address the problem head on by investing in partnerships that will help lower barriers to employment and train workers with the skills that are in demand in today’s economy.” 

“These grants invest in organizations that want to attract workers who may be unemployed, underemployed, or experiencing barriers to employment and provide the necessary skills they need to succeed,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll. “These grants help expand our skilled talent pool for employers and strengthens our competitiveness.”  

The grants are part of the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s strategic investment in the Massachusetts workforce by developing programs that support individuals facing barriers to employment, such as lack of formal schooling, language barriers, or past involvement with the criminal justice system. The grants will support seven initiatives to develop and implement employer-responsive programs to place participants into unsubsidized employment in targeted occupations and create opportunities for underemployed and unemployed individuals to access high-quality, in-demand training programs.  

"These grants are a testament to the Administration’s commitment to strengthen the Commonwealth’s workforce and increase opportunities for all residents," said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Lauren Jones. "As we close the skills gaps, especially among unemployed and underemployed individuals, we are investing in rising talent to foster strong, resilient, and equitable regional economies across Massachusetts." 

"We're thrilled to support the seven partnerships receiving these grants," said Tom Hooper, VP of Sector Pathways at Commonwealth Corporation. "Through their innovative approaches to training and placement, we're preparing our workforce for the future while addressing the immediate employment needs of our region." 

The following is a list of the seven grant recipients, totaling $6,356,345 to train and hire 788 individuals: 

MassHire Greater Brockton Workforce Board – Award: $240,000 - MassHire Greater Brockton Workforce Board has teamed up with Brockton Area Transit, Ballard Trucking, and R&D Truck Repair Inc. They will provide training and placement services to 24 participants, preparing them for roles as Diesel Mechanics and Alternate Fuels Technicians. 

Center for Community Health Education Research and Service (CCHERS) – Award: $462,730 - CCHERS will collaborate with MGH Home Care, Advanced Home Care, and Anodyne. Their aim is to provide training and placement services to 72 participants for positions as Home Health Care Aides. 

Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries – Award: $326,715 - Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, in partnership with Arbor Associates, Bay Cove Human Services, Communities for People, Pine Street Inn, Vinfen, Walnut Street Center, and Whittier Street Health Center, will train and place 80 participants into roles as Social and Human Service Assistants and Residential Counselors. 

Per Scholas, Inc. – Award: $1,000,000 - Per Scholas, Inc., in collaboration with Trillium Technical, Robert Half, YUPRO, IDBS, and TEKsystems, will provide training and placement services to 200 participants for roles such as Help Desk Analysts, Account Administrators, Technical Support Analysts, Research Analysts, IT Services Help Desks, and Customer Support Analysts. 

Open Sky Community Services, Inc. – Award: $3,506,900 - Open Sky Community Services, Inc., along with partners Seven Hills Foundation & Affiliates, and Living in Freedom Together, will prepare 330 participants for positions as Direct Care Workers. The goal is to increase access to care while diversifying the behavioral health/human services workforce and providing meaningful career opportunities for BIPOC, Latinx, immigrant, and refugee workers and job seekers. Their project includes two major models: the Human Services Career Support Program (a pipeline initiative) and the Clinical and Leadership Pathway for BIPOC staff (an incumbent worker model). The Human Services Career Support Program recruits immigrant and refugee job seekers for a comprehensive training interspersed with three job rotations within the Collaborative’s employer partners, resulting in a Certificate of Completion and permanent job placement. The Clinical and Leadership Pathway helps incumbent BIPOC staff overcome barriers to advancement, explore chosen career pathways, complete a personalized career plan, and complete defined steps on a career pathway.  

International Institute of New England – Award: $320,000 - the International Institute of New England, in collaboration with Lowell Community Health Center and Beth Israel Lahey Health, will provide training and placement services to 32 participants for Medical Assistant roles. 

Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School District – Award: $500,000 - Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School District, in partnership with CarStar Collision Center and CJ's Auto Body Repair, will prepare 50 participants for various roles including Autobody Repair Technicians, Disassembly Technicians, Reassembly Technicians, Body Technicians, and Refinish Technicians. 

Each of these partnerships will use the funds to implement training and placement programs for the unemployed and underemployed, focusing on high-demand occupations. 

In memory of the late Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly, a staunch advocate for workforce opportunities, the WCTF grants were renamed after him in 2018. These grants play a pivotal role in empowering Massachusetts' workforce and enhancing the competitiveness of its businesses, in line with Donnelly's vision. "Senator Donnelly understood the value of investing in people to build a better future," Hooper added. "These grants carry forward his vision by enabling individuals to gain the skills needed to thrive in today's job market." 

Note: all final awards are subject to contract negotiations. 

About Commonwealth Corporation 

Commonwealth Corporation is an initiative of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development that is committed to ensuring that Massachusetts businesses have access to a pipeline of highly skilled workers and that youth and adults in Massachusetts have pathways to good jobs in the knowledge economy. As a nationally recognized leader in building industry sector partnerships that address the skill needs of specific employers in an industry, CommCorp creates new or expanded capacity in education and training programs for demand occupations. Learn more at www.commcorp.org