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SkillWorks Preparing Bostons Workforce for Emerging Green Collar

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					SkillWorks: Preparing Boston’s Workforce for Emerging Green Collar Jobs
Patricia Maguire, Program Associate – SkillWorks


Created in 2003, SkillWorks: Partners for a
Productive Workforce is a $15 million investment
partnership between local and national
foundations, the City of Boston, and the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts designed to
provide Boston industry sector businesses with
a stream of reliable, skilled employees from the
City’s low and moderate income communities.
SkillWorks does this by supporting the start-up,
development and expansion of workforce
partnerships – entities that engage non-profit
agencies,      employers      and    philanthropic
                                                                               Photograph by Solar Richmond
organizations to serve low-income, lower-skilled
workers – in key growth sectors of the regional
economy. Unlike many other workforce                  funders interested in green jobs to share best
development initiatives, SkillWorks partnerships      practices and models, is supporting research
focus exclusively on identifying and creating         and     disseminating    green    industry   and
employment opportunities that provide proven          employment data, and is sharing information
career, skills and wage advancement potential         about new state and federal green jobs funding
for low-income workers. Over the last six years,      programs with interested Boston-area nonprofit
SkillWorks has helped to create innovative            organizations.      In anticipation of U.S.
workforce partnerships based in the area’s            Department      of    Labor    and     State   of
healthcare, building trades, hotel and hospitality,   Massachusetts funding dedicated to green jobs
and automotive maintenance sectors.                   training, SkillWorks is helping Boston’s non-
                                                      profit community build capacity in order to
With support from the Boston, Bar, Surdna and         compete for current and future public funding.
Garfield Foundations, SkillWorks began to apply
its innovative model to an entirely new set of        In addition to research and information sharing,
industry sectors with the launch of the Green         the Green Collar Career Pathways Initiative is
Collar Career Pathways Initiative in early 2009.      providing large-scale, multi-year green collar
According to SkillWorks’ Director Loh-Sze             Workforce Partnerships Grants that link
Leung, “The entire country has become                 providers     of    pre-employment      services,
extremely excited about the employment                occupational skills training, adult education,
potential of the green economy over the last two      language literacy, post-secondary education,
years with a great deal of fuel being provided by     career planning, and case management services
the recent announcements of Federal and State         with businesses that offer career-oriented green
green jobs funding opportunities. Despite the         collar jobs and advancement opportunities. To
enthusiasm and the money, the reality is that we      date, four Workforce Partnership Grants have
know very little about the number, types, quality     been awarded to link public and/or affordable
and skill sets that will be required to access the    housing residents to jobs in the emerging energy
green jobs of the future.”                            efficiency/weatherization sectors.      Grantees
                                                      include the Asian American Civic Association,
Green-collar jobs are a natural fit for SkillWorks’   JFYNetworks, MassCap, and the Urban League
model. Drawing on its extensive workforce             of Eastern Massachusetts.            Thanks to
experience in other industry sectors, the Green       SkillWorks’ rapid response, all of the grantees
Collar Career Pathways Initiative is convening        have been approached by the City of Boston
                                                      and/or national programs to participate in
applications for Federal Green Jobs Recovery
funding through the Department of Labor.

As with its work in other sectors, SkillWorks
green jobs efforts are being shared nationally
through the National Fund for Workforce
Solutions and they are already being replicated
by the network of Workforce Funder
Collaboratives across the country. With the help
of SkillWorks, Boston’s neighborhoods will
benefit from new federal resources for energy
efficiency training, and will have laid the
groundwork to attract future funding for green
jobs training and other field development work.




SkillWorks: Preparing Boston’s Workforce for Emerging Green Collar Jobs   2
Patricia Maguire, SkillWorks
September 2009

				
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