City Name and Name of Workforce Area:
Boston, Mayor's Office of Workforce Development
Mayor Martin J. Walsh
As the primary focus of the Office of Workforce Development (OWD) is to enable competitive workforce development initiatives and policies to put Boston’s youth and adults on a career path towards economic security, OWD stresses the importance of collaboration with the city’s workforce development and education initiatives, with an overall emphasis on empowering Bostonians to fulfill their educational and employment aspirations.
Under Boston’s Alternative Education Initiative, OWD funds programs that help participating youth attain high school diplomas or HiSET, and services strategies now incorporate career and post-secondary readiness beyond the diploma/HiSET completion to support youth entry into employment or post-secondary education/training programs. For example, Bridge Over Troubled Waters’ Education and Career Development program provides three interconnected services of HiSET preparation, career services, and college pathways program designed to meet the complex needs of homeless, high-risk youth.
Under WIOA Youth, OWD funds programs that provide alternative high school education, career exploration, and post-secondary training, but now also funds new programs like More Than Words, X-Cel, and Year Up. In the X-Cel’s Youth Pathways to Career Initiative, out-of-school youth will participate in academic program to prepare them for the HiSET exam, while also participating in career-readiness and life skills. The integrated career and education program prepares participants for academic success and a path to post-secondary education and training in partnership with STRIVE, Bunker Hill Community College, and Career Link.
Initiative that Address Barriers to Employment
Under CDBG-PS, OWD identified new priority areas and decided to fund many promising workforce development initiatives, such as Project Hope’s Professional Readiness and Employment Program, which trains participating low-income single mothers for the insurance industry through a partnership with the Insurance Library Association of Boston and expects graduates to obtain entry level administrative and customer service positions with area hospitals, attaining an average increase of $5,000 in wage income at job placement.
Also, YOU Boston, a division of OWD, provides a unique combination of intensive case management and career development services through its continuum. YOU Boston leverage Boston’s top resources to best serve the needs of each young person. YOU Boston’s mission is to empower and motivate young people to gain the educational, employment, and career advancement necessary to be successful in the workforce, in the community, and in their lives. YOU Boston works with Boston’s youth and young adults ages 14 to 24, specializing in serving young people from neighborhoods with the highest level of poverty and violence, and those reentering the community from incarceration. The majority are gang-involved with safety issues or have court involvement history.
The Neighborhood Jobs Trust (the “Trust”) is a Massachusetts public charitable trust created to ensure that large-scale real estate development in Boston brings a direct benefit to Boston neighborhood residents in the form of jobs, job training and related services. To protect and provide continued and future employment opportunities for Boston’s low or moderate income residents, the Trust supports such services as job training and retraining, employment counseling and job placement services, adult literacy and alternative education programs, and related supportive services. Funds in the Trust come from jobs linkage fees. The Zoning law of the City of Boston requires that commercial construction projects in excess of 100,000 square feet receive a zoning variance, one condition of which is that the developer of the building is obligated to pay a linkage fee, based on square footage, to the Neighborhood Jobs Trust. Developers have two options for this: 1) Job Contribution Grant – the developer may simply make the payment to the Trust, to be administered in its entirety by the Trustees in accordance with established regulations and policies; and 2) Jobs Creation Contribution – upon making payment to the Trust, the developer may request that linkage funds be used to create a job training program for workers who will be employed, on a permanent basis, at the development project.
Recently, OWD, through a partnership with the Neighborhood Jobs Trust (NJT) and BEST Corp., helped create an innovative pipeline for hospitality training that will lead to jobs for Boston residents. This pipeline directly connects developer linkage money to a training program that specifically caters to, and provides training for, actual jobs within the hotel development. The jobs average $16+ in wage and offer union benefits, allowing participants to achieve economic stability. Similarly, through a partnership with Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Chinatown residents were prepared for jobs at 2 new opening supermarkets, training for specific jobs at the supermarkets in their area.