SkillWorks Partners for a Productive Workforce hosted a job and workforce budget launch and policy briefing at the Massachusetts State House in early April.
The event had two purposes:
- to launch Mass Budget’s new interactive budget tool now available online
- to host a policy panel that featured experts in workforce development in Massachusetts.
Partners HealthCare’s Director of Workforce Development MJ Ryan joined other leaders in area of workforce development in a panel discussion. Other panelists included Michael Munday, CEO, Arwood Machine; Jacob Robinson, Graduate, YouthBuild Boston; and Alicia Sasser Modestino, Senior Economist, New England Public Policy Center. The panel was moderated by Nancy Snyder, President and CEO, Commonwealth Corporation.
Senator Daniel Wolfe, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, welcomed the crowd and reminded all of the role government can play in the state’s workforce development.
“The government has a role to play in helping workers get the skills and training needed to get the jobs that support them and their family sustaining wages,” said Senator Wolfe.
Also attending on behalf of state government, Rachel Kapriellian, Secretary of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, said citizens need access to careers that can sustain them for their whole lives.
“Workforce development helps individuals and families put a stake in the ground for a long and healthy life,” she said.
Noah Berger, President of Mass Budget, then introduced their new online tool that will help users more easily navigate the budget website. The tool will allow users to identify all programs within the state budget that exist for workforce training and also display the funding each program is receiving and has received in the past.
During the panel discussion, participants shared their insights into workforce development and training, each from the various industries in which they work.
Partners’ MJ Ryan identified the four pipelines on which Partners’ workforce development program focuses: youth, current employees, community residents, and caregivers interested in pursuing community health through the Kraft Center for Community Health. Partners believes in the power of workforce development and sees it as a necessary responsibility for staffing the organization in the future. Partners aims to have a highly skilled workforce that is reflective of the community it serves. MJ emphasized that workforce development is good not only for Partners, but also for individuals and, ultimately, the whole community.
Michael Arwood, CEO, Arwood Machine, communicated the need for trained employees in his industry, as they are what enable the business to increase its output. Mike sees the training as the responsibility of the employer—he is responsible for equipping his employees with new and better skills for the vitality of the company.
Alicia Sasser Modestino gave a broader analysis of workforce development and its importance for the economic health of the Commonwealth. Modestino pointed out that Massachusetts’ best resource is its workforce—the Massachusetts economy relies on human capital.
Jacob Robinson, a graduate of the YouthBuild Boston program, shared his own personal experience in workforce development, noting that YouthBuild equipped him with necessary hard and soft skills for employment and challenged him to think about his goals in terms of a lifelong career.