Importance of Workforce Development Validated by State Funding, Supports FFMW’s Priorities

The Foundation for MetroWest is the philanthropy hub for MetroWest Boston, and to date has invested more than $28 million into our community to address our region’s greatest needs. We identified workforce development as a priority based on conversations as well as information and analysis from Impact MetroWest, our data indicators project that tracks nearly 60 indicators on an interactive website. This led us to launch our workforce development project in 2022. 

We are pleased to see that the Baker-Polito Administration also views this as a priority, and recently announced more than $3.9 million in grant funding through the Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly Workforce Success Grants. These grants are part of the Workforce Skills Cabinet’s effort to provide additional capacity building for initiatives across the state. “These targeted investments in workforce training have a positive impact on our business community, workers, and economy,” said Governor Charlie Baker. 

The Foundation created the MetroWest Workforce Development Action Project with a mission to break the cycle of poverty and provide an increasingly accessible path to financial stability for under resourced youth and underemployed or unemployed adults. Similar to the state’s recent investments in other areas of the Commonwealth, we are proud to be investing to bring new and expanded workforce development initiatives right here in MetroWest.  

After evaluating the needs, we spoke with experts about the issues and available solutions to workforce development in MetroWest. Collaboration is essential. Estimates show that there are more than 7,000 available jobs in the biotechnology industry across the state, and more than $20M in new lab construction began in 2020 alone. 

This Project creates increased access to often overlooked vocational opportunities by connecting MetroWest residents with training, mentorship, and guidance in fields that will ultimately lead to earning higher wages and meaningful benefits.  

  • Certified Nursing Assistant program: We are partnering with Mass Bay Community College to expand their Certified Nursing Assistant program, with a focus on providing access to lower-income or BIPOC students. By May 2023, 50 students will have earned their certificates tuition free.  
  •  Biotech Field: We are partnering with the MetroWest College Planning Collaborative, a joint college access initiative founded by Framingham State University and MassBay Community College, to implement a series of course offerings in the biotech field for high school students in Framingham and Waltham. This early college biotech training will also include internships with biotech companies in MetroWest.   
  • Building Trades: In April 2022, MassHire Metro South/West piloted a week-long union trades exploratory program for 20 young men and women, in partnership with the Laborers Union in Hopkinton, MA. In 2023 we will partner and fund this program, enabling it to expand and focus on access to building trades for MetroWest students. We are also supporting outreach programs to encourage involvement by families and students 

These neighbors will truly have access to a sustainable career instead of just a job to support themselves and their families—and businesses will have greater access to skilled, diverse workers. We are proud to use our role as the community foundation to address systemic racial inequities, specifically in the workforce.

We will continue to update you with progress and additional details about our workforce development partnerships. For additional information contact Caroline Murphy, Director of Programs at [email protected] 

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