Public Policy Advocacy

SkillWorks’s Public Policy Advocacy works to achieve long-term, sustainable improvements in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ workforce development system. . As with all of our program components, our twin goals are to increase the Commonwealth’s capacity and resources to meet the needs of both low-income residents to access family-sustaining jobs and employers to have a skilled, productive workforce.

Our Public Policy Advocacy work has led to major advances in workforce development programs across the state. Because of our efforts, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts implemented the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund in 2006, designed to support workforce partnerships across the state in enabling a broad range of residents to gain access to employment, education and the skills necessary to move along a career path leading to economic self-sufficiency.

Led by the Workforce Solutions Group, SkillWorks public policy advocacy grantee, we have helped garner more than $50M in new workforce funding for the state of Massachusetts. SkillWorks’ advocacy also resulted in the formation of a Workforce Accountability Task Force to address performance, governance and coordination within the workforce system.

Some of our accomplishments include:

  • $6M to support sector partnerships in the 2004 Economic Stimulus Bill.
  • Creation and funding Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund in the 2006 Economic Stimulus Bill. WCTF has since distributed $18M in funding for sector partnerships statewide.
  • Creation of the $1.5M Educational Rewards Grants program for part-time college students.
  • Attainment of $8M in supplemental funding for ABE, School-to-Career, and One-Stop Career Centers.
  • Changes to the state’s Food Stamp Employment Training Program to allow community-based organizations to draw down more federal reimbursements for providing job training to food stamp recipients.

Read SkillWorks' policy recommendations for Massachusetts' next governor.

What’s New at SkillWorks

NEW FUNDING AVAILABLE! SkillWorks is inviting proposals from proven or promising programs, partnerships or initiatives led by nonprofit, public or for-profit entities including community based non-profits, career technical education programs and community colleges. Funds will be awarded through a competitive process to occur over the course of this Summer/Fall. Successful applicants will be closely aligned with SkillWorks’ Vision and Value System; will address the key focus of work and priority investment areas detailed in the guidelines;  will demonstrate impact as defined within the guidelines under SkillWorks’ Four ‘A’s of Impact: Access, Attainment, Achievement and Assets; and must demonstrate their potential to achieve measurable results. Proposals are due September 15click here for the full RFP and other materials!

With support from SkillWorks, Commonwealth Corporation will be expanding their Signal Success curriculum into two high schools in Boston - Boston Urban Science Academy and Dorchester Youth academy. Signal Success is a 180-hour comprehensive career development curriculum that provides a sequenced approach to soft skill acquisition and promotes behaviors that employers want and that young people need to be successful.

Partnering for Opportunity Youth: This past year, SkillWorks partnered with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions and the Boston Opportunity Agenda as part of the National Fund's Youth/Industry Partnership Initiative to improve pathways to post-secondary education and careers for Opportunity Youth. SkillWorks is also an active participant in the Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative, which is convened by the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) and the Boston Opportunity Agenda (BOA) with funding support from the Aspen Institute Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund for Community Solutions. The collaborative is a partnership of stakeholders dedicated to serving Opportunity Youth.

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