About SkillWorks

SkillWorks is a $25 million, multi-year public/private partnership between the Boston Foundation, the City of Boston, local and national philanthropic and corporate entities designed to meet worker and business needs while developing pathways out of poverty in the face of overwhelming evidence that: 1) our economy is shedding unskilled jobs and growing middle-to high-skill jobs; and 2) a large percentage of our workforce is unprepared for the available jobs in our economy. SkillWorks invests in employer-driven, sector-based training and placement strategies to help low-skill, low- and moderate-income residents 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 and its commitment to workforce development over ten years has resulted in the initiative and its grantees helping more than 5,000 job seekers and incumbent workers progress on a path to self-sufficiency, increased the number and capacity of workforce partnerships, and advocated for key workforce priorities locally, statewide and federally.

Phase I (2003-2008) invested $15 million to help more than 3,000 workers receive skills training with hundreds entering the workforce or receiving raises and promotions.

Phase II (2009-2013) continued its important work with an added emphasis on better connecting Massachusetts’s community colleges and other post-secondary institutions to and the workforce development system.SkillWorks raised $10 million for Phase II for investments in Workforce Partnerships, Public Policy Advocacy and Capacity Building, and served nearly 1700 entry-level jobs seekers and incumbent worker for jobs in healthcare, construction, hospitality and financial services. SkillWorks also successfully advocated for and aligned with $70M in state workforce resources for workforce training.

Phase III (2014-2018) Now in our third phase of the initiative, SkillWorks has already served nearly 400 individual jobs seekers and incumbent works and has reached a 76% employment rate for those who have completed training to date. SkillWorks' goal is to raise more than $5M dollars for Phase III and reach even more youth, young adults and under/unemployed workers. Additionally, SkillWorks will take a more employer-centric approach by continuing to support the Boston Healthcare Careers Consortium and adding new industry-specific consortia in IT/Technology and Hospitality with other partners in the city. SkillWorks is also expanding its reach into Greater Boston with new investments in Cambridge and Somerville and developing a burgeoning youth and young adult portfolio focused on work readiness and career navigation.

For more information, read SkillWorks' Phase III Strategic Plan.

Download a one-page fact sheet about SkillWorks.

What’s New at SkillWorks

Job Training: Works, Pays and Saves!

January 26, 2016: At an event at the State House, SkillWorks and the Job Training Alliance (JTA) released their impact report on quality job training programs: “Job Training: Works, Pays and Saves.” This report, supported by SkillWorks, contains extremely compelling data proving the significant return on investment on quality job training programs for the participants served, taxpayers, and the economy as a whole. 

Looking at graduates from the 12 non-profit, community based training programs included in the study, some notable outcomes include:

  • 76% Employment rate 
  • 675% Increase in total annual earnings
  • 80% Reduction in TANF (cash assistance)

The report analyzes the social and economic impacts gained from high-functioning training programs which prepare individuals for successful, long-term careers in growing industries. The full report can also be found on the JTA’s website: http://jobtrainingalliance.org/sites/default/files/JTA%20Impact%20Study.pdf

Speakers at report's launch event included: Senator Ken Donnelly, Representative John Scibak, Ron Walker, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Carmine Guarino, Senior VP of Citizens Bank, Jeff McCue, Commissioner of the Department of Transitional Assistance, John Barros, Chief of Economic Development for the City of Boston, and SkillWork's Trinh Nguyen. Each speaker expressed steadfast support of and commitment to quality community based job training and workforce development programs and more broadly commitment to improving the lives of low-income Bostonians and Massachusetts residents and to ensuring that employers have an accessible pipeline of skilled talent.

READ MORE: 1 Page Summary | Full Report

New Coalition Formed to support Career and Vocational Technical Education in MA

In a packed space at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boson on Friday, January 22nd, members from the business, workforce, education, nonprofit, and government sectors came together to celebrate the launch of the The Alliance for Vocational and Technical Education (AVTE) and to highlight the importance of the Career/Vocational Technical Education system in Massachusetts.

The AVTE outlined how CVTE is essential to economic development across the state, and presented key policy recommendations. Governor Baker and his Workforce Skills Cabinet joined us and shared their support for the Alliance and CVTE across the state.

The program also included highlights of a report commissioned by AVTE that examines public perceptions of CVTE, presented by Barry Bluestone, Director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. Click here to read the full report.

To learn more about the Alliance for Vocational Technical Education and their policy recommendations, check out their new website and one-pager!

The Boston Foundation, City of Boston & JPMorgan Chase, announced investments in SkillWorks

On Wednesday, November 18th, at an event at Boston City Hall, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Boston Foundation President & CEO Paul S. Grogan, and Peter Scher, Head of Corporate Responsibility for JPMorgan Chase & Co, announced more than $1.2 million in new investments for training and workforce development focused in the City of Boston, including $350,000 from the city, $400,000 from the Boston Foundation and $500,000 from JPMorgan Chase.

Read the press release for more informataion!

SkillWorks Announces 11 New Grantees

Also at the City Hall event on November 18th, Boston Foundation President & CEO Paul S. Grogran announced SkillWorks' 11 newest grantees:

See our Grantees and Workforce Partnerships pages for more information!

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