SkillWorks: Partners for a Productive Workforce

SkillWorks works to improve workforce development in Boston and in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The collaborative brings together philanthropy, government, community organizations, and employers to address the twin goals of helping low-income individuals attain family-supporting jobs and helping businesses find skilled workers. SkillWorks aims to help low-and-moderate-income individuals attain family-supporting jobs; help businesses find and retain skilled employees; increase the resources targeted to education and skills training, especially for low-skill, entry-level employees; and build the capacity of workforce development providers to meet the human resource needs of employers and low-income individuals.

Sector Focus

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Information Technology

Industry Partnerships

Boston Healthcare Careers Consortium

The Boston Healthcare Careers Consortium convenes employers, educators, and workforce system partners to promote health care-related education and training opportunities that are efficient, effective, and align with industry needs. As a region, they look to the continuum of care and relationships among institutions to better understand occupational roles and responsibilities across health care settings to build career ladders and ensure that health care providers have the staff that they need to deliver the best care possible to patients in a culturally competent environment.

Boston Children’s Hospital – Career Ladder Program

Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) is working with department leaders and human resources, and partnering with Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) to deliver a career ladder program designed to move entry level employees into positions with significant and realistic career ladders, while also delivering a pre-employment training program designed to backfill vacancies created by employees moving into their next position. The BCH Career Ladder Program is a two pronged initiative with the goal of supporting incumbent employees in Environmental and Food Services at Boston Children’s Hospital to get hired into career ladder positions within the organization, and providing vetted and trained pre-employment applicants to fill their vacated positions.  The project began in January of 2015 with the convening of the compensation team, recruitment team, and human resources consultants to target three positions of Administrative Associate (AA), Patient Experience Representative (PER), and Clinical Assistant (CA).

Greater Boston IT/Tech Consortium

Launched in September of 2016, the Greater Boston IT/Tech Consortium is a sector-based industry partnership led by the CIOs and CTOs of Greater Boston-area employers with the need for a IT/Tech workforce pipeline. In partnership with the Boston Private Industry Council, SkillWorks will convene these employers to identify how to narrow skill gaps, increase diversity, and provide greater opportunities in Information Communication Technology (ICT) for all Massachusetts residents. Specific functions of this group will include: 1) provide industry reactions to labor market information; 2) guide system/program development based on needs and expertise; 3) champion career development initiatives (mentoring, internships, etc.); 4) recruit other businesses and peers to support system-building efforts; 5) support resource development efforts to build and improve education and training pathways; and 6) advocate for policy and system change.

BEST Corp Hospitality Training Center (HTC)

BEST’s Pre-Apprenticeship training program and Mel King Empowerment programs target low income African Americans (primarily males) to help them enter into the hospitality industry.

With support from SkillWorks, BEST hired a full-time Lead Career Coach and a part-time Apprenticeship Lead to support coaching for pre-employment job seekers and incumbent workers in two hospitality trainings:

  1. The Mel King Empowerment Program (MKEP) is a collaboration between hotel employers, Local 26, the City of Boston, and BEST Corp to recruit, train, and place the unemployed and underemployed (targeting US-born African Americans) into quality hospitality jobs. The 5-week full-time class includes training in customer service, hotel branding, professional language, job safety, ergonomics, digital skills, and job shadowing.
  2. US Department of Labor-registered Housekeeping Apprenticeship program: In partnership with the City of Boston, BEST Corp implemented the country’s first Housekeeping Apprenticeship program in 2016. SkillWorks funding supports the Apprenticeship Lead and provides part of the required match.

Jewish Vocational Services – Bridges to College STEM Career Pathways

Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) is replicating a proven college preparation model to expand its STEM focused pathways for unemployed and underemployed adults in the Greater Boston area. In partnership with Quincy College and local employers (including Biogen Idec, Shire, and Securitas Security Services), JVS is providing low income adults with college readiness services necessary to succeed in post-secondary STEM programs. The services include academic preparation in English, math and science, academic coaching, career navigation and job placement, as well as financial education and asset building. This project will produce highly-trained entry- and mid-level staff for regional employers and address key gaps in the local economy in the biotechnology. Also with this funding, JVS will replicate the biotech/STEM bridges to college model by constructing a new Healthcare Information Technology pathway with Bunker Hill Community College. The Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) pathway will provide post-secondary credentials in the IT sector, with the ultimate goal of entry to mid-level job attainment in information technology support or technician roles in a healthcare setting.

Collaborative Contact

Andre Green Executive Director