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News & Announcements

 

First MNP Program Participants Receive Certificate in Culinary Arts Fundamentals (August, 2014)

Donning their well-earned chef’s whites, the inaugural class of the Bunker Hill Community College Culinary Arts Fundamentals program, a customized, non-credit course designed for individuals with disabilities, graduated in a ceremony held at the college on August 7, 2014. Rachel Kaprielian, Secretary of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, spoke at the event, congratulating students on their accomplishment, and giving praise to the innovative program from which they graduated. “This is the kind of training program we need to replicate across the state to help students and job seekers overcome the unique barriers holding them back from finding gainful employment and a rewarding career path,” said Secretary Kaprielian. As one of two programs designed to increase employment options and decrease barriers to careers for people with disabilities, the Culinary Arts Fundamentals program is part of a two-year initiative developed by The Metro North Partnership for Economic Improvement and Emerging Employees in Allied Health Care and Hospitality (MNP).  Led by Triangle, a Malden-based agency that provides vocational evaluation and training, employment, social development, and residential services to people with disabilities, MNP's work is funded through a grant provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and administered by the Commonwealth Corporation. The partnership is comprised of workforce, community-based, and educational organizations in the Metro North and Greater Boston regions, including: the Metro North Regional Employment Board and Metro North One-Stop Career Centers (Career Place in Woburn and Career Source in Cambridge and Chelsea); American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts; Bunker Hill Community College / Workforce Development Center; three public high schools that serve students from underserved populations (Malden, Medford, and Chelsea); and several local businesses. MNP partners will work with employers to broker jobs for the program participants in the targeted career sectors, with the goal of placing 30 of the 50 program participants in viable jobs following successful completion of their training. Planning is now underway to implement a Home Health Aide / Certified Nursing Assistant program.  Stayed tuned for more information.

New REB Committee Focuses on Ensuring Success in Adult Basic Education Programs and Beyond (August, 2014)

In response to an increasing need to provide opportunities and support for ABE students and graduates to progress into post-secondary programs and satisfying and sustainable careers, the REB is pleased to announce that is has established the Adult Basic Education Transitions to College and Careers (ABETCC) Committee.  Led by committee chair Mina Reddy, Director of the Community Learning Center in Cambridge, membership is comprised of leaders in institutions of higher education, adult basic education providers, community-based organizations, and One-Stop Career Centers, Career Source and The Career Place.  Launched this past spring, the committee plans to focus on identifying barriers and support, and exploring new models that will ensure successful college and career pathways for ABE program students and graduates. 

Just Released: Comprehensive Resource Guide for Employers (July, 2014)

As part of a new federal initiative, the MA BizWorks program has recently published a resource guide for employers.  Entitled “The Massachusetts BizWorks Resource Guide,” the publication is designed to help expand business engagement throughout the state by informing employers of the wide range of services and programs available to them. To download the Guide and Resource Card, please visit: www.mass.gov/bizworks.

 

 

REB Welcomes New Member James L. Donovan, Jr. (July, 2014)

James L. Donovan, Jr., currently serves as Director of Strategic Research and Government Affairs for Teamsters Local Union No. 25. He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and history from University of Massachusetts at Boston, and a Master of Science in Union Leadership and Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  He has also completed coursework, and received certifications from several educational institutions, including: National Labor College; West Virginia University OSHA Training Institute; National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences; the American Heart Association; International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Keene State College OSHA Training Institute. Of his recent appointment to the REB, Mr. Donovan states, "It is an honor and privilege to be nominated and appointed to the Metro North Regional Employment Board.  I am looking forward to working with the Board and local agencies to help develop and improve the workforce of the Metro North region."

REB Hosts 2014 Bridging the Workforce Gap STEM Event at Microsoft NERD Center (June, 2014)

With a shared commitment to encouraging youth to explore viable STEM careers, nearly 80 leaders the fields of education, training, and workforce development recently convened at the Microsoft New England Research and Development (NERD) Center in Cambridge to attend the REB’s STEM Forum, “Bridging the STEM Workforce Gap.”  Paul Richard, Sustainability Director at the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, kicked off the event with a welcome address, followed by opening remarks by Cheryl Scott, Director of the Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board. [Click here to read more…] Ben Fersenheim, Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft, then gave an engaging presentation that addressed the importance and relevance of STEM education today, and REB Associate Director Meelynn Wong provided an overview of labor market information in the region.  The second half of the event consisted of a series of lively roundtable discussions between industry professionals and conference participants.  Each representative spoke about what they do on a daily basis, as well as the education, training, and specific pathway relevant to their careers. The positions represented at the event – which reflected the STEM areas of Information Technology; Life Sciences; Healthcare; Advanced Manufacturing; and Engineering – were chosen in large part because each is both in demand in the region, and represents one step on a viable career pathway in STEM.  The event was developed in large part with guidance and support from the Metro North STEM Network.

 

First Student Cohort in Advanced Manufacturing Training Program Receives Certificates from Middlesex Community College (June, 2014)

On May 28, the first of three student cohorts to complete the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program received certificates in machining and electronics from Middlesex Community College. This unique program is funded by a Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund grant that was awarded to the North Shore Workforce Investment Board in 2012 on behalf of the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium, a collaboration of education and workforce organizations from four regions:  Greater Lowell, Merrimack Valley, Metro North, and North Shore whose aim is to help the advanced manufacturing industry in Northeastern Massachusetts become more globally competitive by addressing critical workforce training needs. The program consists of three student cohorts (reaching a total of about 72 students), each of which receives training in manufacturing practices and technology at one of three community colleges: Middlesex Community College (MCC); Northern Essex Community College (NECC); and North Shore Community College (NSCC); each college provides foundational skills and partners with two vocational schools, which provide hands-on CNC machining or electronics training. The second cycle of the program, held at NECC, is now in progress.  NAMC is also working to connect graduates with potential employers -- a key component of the program.  As of August 31, out of the 24 students who received certificates from MCC, 21 have obtained employment.  To read an article about the May 28 graduation in the Westford Patch, please click here: http://westford.patch.com/groups/middlesex-community-colleges-blog/p/middlesex-celebrates-advanced-manufacturing-program-graduates_29629d33

Ana's Story: A CONNECT Client Perspective (June, 2014)

Originally published on the Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) Blog, June 12, 2014

CONNECT is an innovative partnership of six organizations that have come together in Chelsea, Massachusetts to co-locate and bundle services for local residents. Led by The Neighborhood Developers, a community development corporation, and funded by the Metro North Regional Employment Board, this integrated service delivery model helps to improve clients’ employment, educational, and economic self-sufficiency outcomes. From a systems perspective this means creating greater efficiencies, reducing duplication of services and better coordination across social service agencies – all of which is very exciting to those of us who work in the workforce development field. But to truly understand the benefits of this systems change project, it’s helpful to look at it through the eyes of one of CONNECT’s clients [Click here to read full article]

Metro North REB Receives Major National Emergency Grant (May, 2014)

The REB is pleased to announce that it has been awarded an MN4 Rapid Response/National Emergency Grant for in the amount of $876,300 from the U.S. Department of Labor, with an initial release of about $624k. Funding will support case management services for approximately 120 workers who have been laid off from four Metro North companies.  [Click here to read more…] The grant will fund a wide range of re-employment services that include: training, career coaching, resume preparation and interviewing skills development, and career coaching. Please click here to read the DOL Press Release, issued May 19, 2014.

Just Released! The Gateway Cities Vision for Dynamic Community-Wide Learning Systems (May, 2014)

On May 16, The Metro North REB, in partnership with the North Shore Workforce Investment Board, sponsored a MassINC event on at the Lynn Museum to celebrate the release of “The Gateway Cities Vision for Dynamic Community-Wide Learning Systems.” This report is the result of a year-long series of planning sessions which were initiated by leaders in education, local and state government, and workforce, and facilitated by MassINC’s Gateway Cities Innovation Institute.  The project focused on the Gateway Cities of Chelsea, Malden, and Revere (in the Metro North region), and Salem and Lynn (in the North Shore region).  The publication outlines a vision that “highlights effective new models to prepare students for the changing economy and ensure an adequate supply of skilled workers for growing regional economies across the Commonwealth…and calls for strategies that leverage the educational assets of our urban centers so that they can create high-quality learning experiences that draw middle-class families back to their neighborhoods.”  The report will inform a multi-year effort to use data and public education to assist the Commonwealth in making targeted investments in Gateway Learning systems.  Support for the project was provided by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, and the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation.  Please click here to read the Executive Summary and full report.

REB Awarded Health Care Workforce Transformation Fund Planning Grant (April, 2014)

The Metro North REB is pleased to announce that it is one of 51 Massachusetts-based organizations to be awarded a Planning Grant through the Health Care Workforce Transformation Fund (HCWTF).  These grants, which total close to $2M, are awarded by the Patrick Administration.  They will support organizations across the state in their efforts to implement Massachusetts Cost-Containment Act (Chapter 224) – legislation that will likely have a significant impact on the healthcare industry in the years ahead.  The grant is being administered by the Commonwealth Corporation.

Soon after Chapter 224 was enacted in 2012, the Metro North Healthcare Partnership -- a consortium of healthcare organizations, community colleges, and the Metro North career centers -- began to focus its agenda on understanding how this new legislation will affect the healthcare workforce in the short- and long-term. Through much discussion and collaboration with other industry experts, the partnership determined that, moving forward, it is critical that healthcare workers are trained in delivering care within models that emphasize teamwork and coordination among workers, and that engage patients in managing their own conditions.  The $32,500 grant will enable the Metro North Healthcare Partnership to identify the roles of frontline healthcare workers, assess the skill gaps, and identify needs for training healthcare workers in emerging models of delivery.  To read more about the Health Care Workforce Transformation Fund, please visit the Commonwealth Corporation website.  To read the April 3rd press release issued by the Patrick Administration, please click here.

In Malden, Patrick Administration Announces $8M in State Funding for YouthWorks Program (March, 2014)

Earlier this month, Governor Deval Patrick, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rachel Kaprielian, Malden Mayor Gary Christenson, and many youth advocates and youth workers gathered in Malden to announce that $8M of state funding will support YouthWorks this year.  Administered by the Commonwealth Corporation, YouthWorks is a highly successful state-funded jobs program for low-income and at-risk youth, ages 14-21, in 31 cities and towns throughout Massachusetts.

The Metro North YouthWorks program annually provides subsidized employment, support, and job counseling to youth in Malden, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Revere and Somerville, where significant numbers of at-risk youth reside.  In 2013, about 700 youth were placed in summer jobs in Metro North; in five of these communities, an additional 80 students are currently participating in a year-round YouthWorks program, which offers subsidized work experience, as well as work readiness preparation provided by the Metro North One-Stop Career Centers. According to the Patrick Administration’s press release on March 15, the Governor and Secretary chose Malden as the community in which to hold the roundtable “because of the great success Malden has had with all aspects of implementing the program, including extending employment opportunities to youth at all levels of ability." Please click here to read the full press release and see images of the event on the City of Malden website.

MA Legislators and Staff Visit Metro North One-Stop Career Centers (March, 2014)

The Metro North Regional Employment Board (REB) and the Metro North One-Stop Career Centers recently co-hosted two events for legislators and their staff.  Participants learned about the extensive range of workforce-related programs and services that the REB and career centers provide to the residents of the twenty cities and towns that comprise the Metro North region. On March 7, Representatives of Senator Bruce Tarr and Representatives Brad Jones, Kenneth Gordon, and James Miceli, attended a legislative breakfast at The Career Place in Woburn.  On March 10, Career Source (Cambridge) held an all-day open-house, attended by Representatives Jonathan Hecht and David Rogers, as well as a representative from the office of House Speaker Robert DeLeo. The events highlighted the Metro North One-Stop Career Centers – Career Source in Cambridge and Chelsea, and The Career Place in Woburn – which together serve about 25,000 customers each year; as well as School-to-Career Connecting Activities, a career planning and internship program serving in-school youth.

Metro North REB and Career Center Staff Meet with Legislators on Career Center Day (March, 2014)

On March 14, workforce professionals from throughout the state gathered at the MA State House for Career Center Day, an annual event designed to connect legislators with the leadership, staff, and customers of the Massachusetts One-Stop Career Centers. Presented by the Massachusetts Workforce Professionals Association (MWPA), in partnership with the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) and the Department of Career Services (DCS), the event highlighted the work of career centers statewide. 

Throughout the day, workforce professionals and career center customers had the opportunity to meet with their legislators and staff to discuss the important and impactful work being done by the Massachusetts One-Stop Career Centers. The event also featured a brief speaking program, with Secretary Rachel Kaprielian, EOLWD, testimonials by employers, and Workforce Champion Awards presented to Senator Dan Wolf and Representative Tom Conroy. 

Staff from the Metro North REB and career centers met with several legislators and their staff who represent the Metro North region, including: Senators Kenneth Donnelly and Sal DiDomenico; Representatives Sean Garballey, Bradley Jones, and Paul Donato; staff from the offices of Senators William Brownsberger, Anthony Petruccelli, and Patricia Jehlen; staff from the offices of Representatives Marjorie Decker and Timothy Toomey; and staff from the office of House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

Metro North REB Designated Lead of Eighth Regional STEM Network

The Metro North REB is pleased to announce that it has been designated as the lead of the 8th Regional STEM Network.  The “Metro North Regional STEM Network” will be comprised of at least 16 of the REB’s 20 Metro North communities, as well as Saugus and Brookline. MA STEM Networks focus on coordinating STEM activities for pre-K through post-secondary education. The designation acknowledges the REB’s leadership in STEM activities and is accompanied by $40K+ per year to support administration of the network. In its new role, the REB will be actively reaching out to employers and public schools throughout the region to greatly expand its current STEM Partnership as it evolves into the larger network.

All eight STEM Networks are funded by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education through the STEM Pipeline Fund, which focuses on five primary goals:

  1. Increasing student interest in STEM areas;

  2. Increasing student achievement among all PreK–12 students in order to prepare graduates to be civically and college and/or career ready;

  3. Increasing the percentage of skilled educators who teach PreK–16 STEM;

  4. Increasing the percentage of students completing postsecondary degrees or certificates in STEM subjects; and

  5. Aligning STEM degrees and certificate attainment with corresponding opportunities in STEM-related fields to match the state’s workforce needs for a STEM talent pipeline.

Regional STEM Networks implement activities that address the Pipeline Fund's goals in the best manner for their geographic area.  For more information on the Metro North Regional STEM Network, please contact Meelynn Wong, mwong@mnreb.org.

Northeastern MA Workforce Leaders Meet with Congressman Tierney and Senator Warren to Discuss Issues Relating to Long-Term Unemployment Insurance (February, 2014)

On Friday, February 7, 2014, Congressman John Tierney hosted a round table discussion with Senator Elizabeth Warren and leadership from four Massachusetts Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs). The event, which was held at the North Shore Career Center in Lynn, focused on the impact of the recent end of emergency unemployment compensation, as well as recent Congressional efforts to reinstate these benefits.  Participants included: Rafael Abislaiman, Executive Director, Merrimack Valley WIB; Linda Bass, Executive Director, Metro North Regional Employment Board; Gail Brown, Director, Greater Lowell WIB; and Mary Sarris, Executive Director, North Shore WIB.  Additional participants included State Senator Thomas McGee; Patricia Gentile, President of North Shore Community College; Linda Rohrer, Director of Career Source; David Buck, Career Services Manager for Career Source; Christopher Brennan, Executive Director of The Career Place; Joe Bevilacqua, Chair, Merrimack Valley WIB; and career center customer Heather Mateo.

(Image, from left to right: Gail Brown, Rafael Abislaiman, Mary Sarris, Senator Warren, Linda Bass, Congressman Tierney).

REB hosts WIB Association Holiday Meeting; Speaker DeLeo Honored (January, 2014)

The REB had the pleasure of hosting the 2013 annual WIB Association Holiday Meeting, held at the Sheraton Commander Hotel in Cambridge on December 17. Cambridge City Manager Richard Rossi provided opening remarks, followed by a presentation by Mayor Henrietta Davis on what it means for Cambridge to be a “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Inclusion City,” a designation given to Cambridge by the White House as part of a national initiative to bridge the skills gap to meet future workforce needs in STEM. Joanna Dowling, Chair of the REB as well as Director of Operations for The Custom Group in Woburn, provided an overview of highlights of REB activities and accomplishments over the past year, and was followed by author Gary Beach, who discussed the technology skills gap in the US.  A highlight of the event, House Speaker Robert DeLeo was presented the Crystal Eagle Award by Stan Usovicz on behalf of the MA WIB Association, recognizing his continued leadership and commitment to job creation in Massachusetts. 

(Pictured above: City of Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis)

Triangle-led initiative Awarded Grant to Support Expanding Employment Options for People with Disabilities (December, 2013)

In a December 16 press release issued by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Secretary Joanne Goldstein announced that the Metro North Partnership for Economic Improvement and Emerging Employees in Allied Health Care and Hospitality (MNP) has been awarded a $250,000 grant by the Commonwealth Corporation to support employment initiatives for individuals with disabilities. Triangle, Inc., a Malden-based agency that provides vocational evaluation and training, employment, social development, and residential services to people with disabilities, is the lead on the MNP Initiative.  The partnership also includes: The Metro North REB; The Career Place in Woburn; Career Source in Chelsea and Cambridge; the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts (ARC); Bunker Hill Community College / Workforce Development Center (BHCC/WDC); three public high schools that serve students from underserved populations (Malden, Medford, and Chelsea); and businesses that represent stable, growing, or emerging industries in the high growth career sectors of hospitality, culinary arts and allied health care in Metro North and Greater Boston areas. The MNP program is a two-year initiative that aims to increase the employment options and decrease the barriers to viable career pathways for 50 individuals, many of whom are from under-served communities and identify with racial/ethnic and linguistic minority backgrounds, with a range of disabilities.  This project has been designed to be a replicable model that will serve both students with disabilities as they prepare to leave high school, as well as adults with disabilities re-entering the work force.  Updates on this program will be posted on this web page, so please check back for updates!

Metro North Awarded Second $10K AMP it Up! Grant to Continue to Promote Advanced Manufacturing to Youth (December, 2013)

The REB is pleased to announce that it is among several organizations across the state to have recently been awarded an AMP it Up! grant from MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development agency. In this second grant round, MassDevelopment is providing awards to 11 organizations -- including workforce investment boards, community colleges, and industry associations - throughout the state. The awards are part of MassDevelopment's Amp it Up! Campaign, which supports the efforts of community-based organizations to educate youth about the wide range, and abundance, of high-tech, innovative jobs available throughout Massachusetts.  In its first round in 2012, MassDevelopment awarded the REB a $10,000 grant which the REB used to introduce youth enrolled in GED programs to the field of advanced manufacturing through a combination of information sessions, workshops, company tours, and exposure to machining at training sites, as well as through the development of educational materials. This year, MassDevelopment once again awarded the REB a $10,000 grant, which the REB will use to design outreach efforts to encourage over 100 young women to pursue opportunities in advanced manufacturing. The program will combine information sessions, company tours, job shadowing, and guest speakers. The REB's partners in this effort include: The Center for Manufacturing Technology, Boston Centerless, United Electric Controls, Madico, Malden Teen Enrichment Center, Boys and Girls Club of Middlesex County, The Career Place, and Career Source. Click here to view MassDevelopment's press release announcing the awards: AMP it Up! Matching Grants Total Nearly $110,000 For 11 Innovative Massachusetts Programs.

REB, in partnership with Greater Lowell, Merrimack Valley, and North Shore WIBs, receives $500k grant to support Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Training (December, 2013)

The Metro North REB, in partnership with the Greater Lowell, Merrimack Valley, and North Shore Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), is pleased to announce that the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development has approved a $500k grant that will fund two Manufacturing Marketing Manager (MMM) positions over a two-year period (please see below for the job listing and link to the full description). One of the MMMs will be located at the Merrimack Valley WIB in Lawrence, and will primarily serve Greater Lowell and Merrimack Valley; the other will be located at the Metro Noth REB in Cambrige, and will focus on serving North Shore and Metro North. Please click here to download the press release issued by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

REB is among five @Scale STEM grant award recipients (October, 2013)

In partnership with Greater Lowell, Merrimack Valley, and North Shore Workforce Investment Boards, the REB has been awarded a $75,000 @Scale Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) grant.  Recently announced by Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki and Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III, this award is part of the @Scale STEM Initiative, a grant program that is designed to help students become more engaged in the STEM fields, as well as to support educator effectiveness in STEM education. Projects that are funded by this grant must, according to a September 23, 2013 press release, “…demonstrate previous success in areas that directly support the state’s STEM Plan goals and brings them to new areas across Massachusetts to reach more students and teachers….and build upon the Patrick Administration’s strategic plan tying economic and workforce development to educational enhancement in STEM fields.”  The $75,000 award to the REB and its partners in this effort will fund the expansion of the Future City Competition to 10 middle schools in Working Cities, which is defined as those cities in Northeastern Massachusetts with a median family income below the median level, and a poverty rate above the median level, for cities with a population exceeding 35,000, but excluding Boston. This year, middle school students will work in teams to design cities using SimCity software, write essays, build a scale model of a city focused on the theme of transportation, and ultimately present their work to a panel of judges. Please check back here for updates!

Welcome new REB members! (October, 2013)

Robert Jones currently serves as Outreach and Admissions Manager NE for CHP International / Job Corps. Mr. Jones brings to the REB a strong background in managing job outreach and placement programs, career coaching, and consulting with Fortune 500, as well as smaller firms on career resiliency and management. Prior to working for CHP International, Mr. Jones served as Workforce Development Specialist for network Technology Academy, Contract Career Counselor for Hurley House, and Manager of Career Development for Boston Career Link.  In addition to his membership on the board, he also serves on the Metro North Youth Council.  He received a BA from Boston University, and has completed graduate coursework in the MBA Program. Quoting Les Brown, Mr. Jones shares his thoughts about the importance of maintaining a positive perspective: "If you view all the things that happen to you, both good and bad, as opportunities, then you operate out of a higher level of consciousness."  

 

Karen Sampson Johnson currently serves as the Area Director for the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), Somerville office. Prior to joining MRC, Ms. Johnson worked in the state of Pennsylvania as a Director for the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA); served as the inaugural Director of Public Policy at PathWaysPA, served as Associate Director for the Consumer Health Coalition; and served as Director of Research and Public Policy for the Urban League of Pittsburgh, an affiliate of the National Urban League. Her areas of prof ssional expertise included developing and managing disability, healthcare and youth programming, managing staff and conducting public policy advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities and low income families. She has specifically focused on family economic self sufficiency concerns, and also has development and fundraising expertise within the nonprofit sector. Previously, Ms. Johnson worked as a criminal defense attorney and assistant state public defender in Wisconsin. Ms. Johnson is a graduate of Williams College and Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and a graduate of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Masters Certificate Program offered by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Of her appointment to the REB, Ms. Johnson states, "I am delighted to join the Metro North REB as a board member to contribute to the important workforce development work that the REB does every day.”

Andrea Donahue, Director of Human Resources for Triumvirate Environmental in Somerville, MA, holds a Bachelor’s degree in English & Communications from Assumption College, as well as a PHR certification.  At Triumvirate, Andrea is responsible for overseeing the company's performance management and development programs, directing all benefits programs, and advising managers on a variety of topics, including: employee relations, training, HR compliance, hiring & recruitment, separations, and employee engagement.

 

Metro North Career Center receives Veterans State Grant Incentive Award (September, 2013)

The REB is pleased to announce that the MA Department of Career Services (DCS) has selected Career Source, one of two Metro North career centers, to receive a Veterans State Grant (JVSG) Incentive Award in the amount of $6,125. This grant was established to recognize those Massachusetts One-Stop Career Centers that demonstrate “improvement and modernization of employment, training, and placement services for Veterans; reward and celebrate excellence in priority of service; develop a library of best practice techniques; and improve performance outcomes for Veterans.”  In her award letter, DCS Director Alice Sweeney states that Career Source demonstrates these ideals through “dedication to establishing effective collaborations to better serve Veterans...and through the development of innovative programs to assist the Veteran community.”  For more information about Career Source, please visit: www.yourcareersource.com. [Pictured: from L to R: Dennis Pelligrino, Career Source; Linda Rohrer, Career Source, Alice Sweeney, DCS; Secretary Joanne Goldstein, EOLWD.]

Metro North "Bridging the Workforce Gap" STEM event a great success (July, 2013)

This past June, over 80 local education, training, and workforce development professionals participated in a unique, interactive event focusing on occupations in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center in Cambridge.  Entitled "Bridging the Workforce Gap: In-Demand STEM Occupations in the Metro North Region", and presented by the Metro North Regional Employment Board (REB), the event was designed for professionals who are interested in learning more about the viable local STEM opportunities that are available to their customers and students. The event focused on eight (8) occupations, all of which are both locally in-demand and offer opportunities for workers to develop skillsets that correspond to career pathways within a specific Metro North priority industry. Through a combination of videos and interactive discussion, participants learned about the following careers: Computer Support Specialist and Software Developer (IT); Biomedical Technician and Quality Control Technician (Life Sciences); Clinical Lab Assistant and Medical Lab Technician (Healthcare); and CNC Operator and Mechanical Engineer (Advanced Manufacturing).

Click here to see a video of STEM event highlights.

In addition, four brief videos created specifically for the event are now available on www.drkit.com.  Each video features professionals, each of whom hold one of four featured STEM occupations, explaining various aspects of their jobs, such as: a typical day, required qualifications, and the "best/worst" aspects of the job.  To access these videos, please click on the following links:

Mechanical Design Draftsman (Adam)

Quality Control Bioassay Analyst (Jess)

Senior Software Engineer (Ben)

Medical Laboratory Technician (Bethany)

Speakers included: Reed Brockman, Chair of the Metro North Youth Council, Member of the Metro North REB, and Senior Structural Engineer/Coordinating Inspection Team Leader for AECOM; Joanna Dowling, Chair of the Metro North REB and Director of Operations, Custom Group, Inc.; Pat Hogan, Professor at Suffolk University and Member of the Metro North STEM Partnership; and Meelynn Wong, Associate Director, Metro North REB.

Click here to download a presentation by Meelynn Wong, REB Associate Director, entitled "Labor Market Information on STEM Occupations in the Metro North Region."

Summer employment program puts local youth to work (August, 2013)

This summer, the Metro North cities of Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Revere and Somerville are providing meaningful, subsidized employment to over 600 local youth through the successful YouthWorks program.  Funded by the Commonwealth Corporation and administered locally by the Metro North REB, YouthWorks is a statewide initiative that provides summer employment opportunities in cities where significant numbers of at-risk youth reside. Youth are typically placed in positions within city government, and may work, for example, in a courthouse, library, city hall, or parks department.  To help ensure that the benefits of their experiences extend beyond their paychecks, the youth also receive services to help them develop essential job skills and explore educational and career paths. [Pictured above: Two youth workers shelving books in the Chelsea Library as part of the 2013 Metro North YouthWorks Program. Photo courtesy of The Chelsea Collaborative.]

Singapore workforce development professionals visit Career Source (August, 2013)

During their recent visit to the U.S., delegates from the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) sat down with Linda Bass of the Metro North REB, Linda Rohrer of Career Source (CS), and other senior staff members to discuss best practices in providing job search and training services.  Established by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower, the WDA aims to “enhance the employability and competitiveness of [Singapore’s] local workforce,” and also provides job training and skills development services to local residents through its career centers.  Mr. Noel Hon Pin Ang, Mr. Francis Lee Ching Ann, and Ms. Lee Sok Peng had requested the meeting to learn more about both the REB and the Metro North one-stop career centers as part of a larger Boston-based itinerary designed to help them to continually improve the services that they provide to their constituents in Singapore. Following the meeting, the delegates were given a tour of Career Source in Cambridge. [Pictured above, from l to r: Noel Hon Pin Ang; Lee Sok Pheng; Francis Lee Ching Ann (WDA) of the SIngapore Workforce Development Agency meet with Gayle Rossitter of Career Source (seated) to learn about CS's IT resources]

 

Patrick Administration announces $4.5M in grants to improve skills for job seekers and employed workers (July, 2013)

Press Release -- Commonwealth of Massachusetts - Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development

BOSTON - Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - The Patrick Adminstration today announced the release of $4.5 million through the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to improve the skills of job seekers and incumbent employees in Massachusetts. [Click here to download full release.]

Eastern Bank donates $10K to the REB (June, 2013)

The Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Eastern Bank, has generously donated $10,000 to the Metro North Regional Employment Board.  The gift reflects the Foundation’s widespread support of workforce development efforts in Eastern Massachusetts, as well as its broader mission of “contributing, in a meaningful way, to the health and vitality of the various Greater Boston communities served by Eastern Bank.”  Laura Kurzrok, Executive Director, presented the REB with the gift on behalf of the Trustees of the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation.

Metro North Annual Plan, FY 2014, Executive Summary (June, 2013)

The 2014 Metro North Annual Plan is now available for comment. Please submit any feedback in writing to mstbrice@mnreb.org no later than August 2, 2013. Click here to download the Executive Summary of the Metro North Annual Plan, 2014 [PDF]

Welcome new REB Members! (June, 2013)

Reed Brockman, PE., is both a new REB member and the new chair of the Metro North Youth Council. A structural engineer for over 25 years, Mr. Brockman currently works for AECOM as a Senior Structural Engineer and Coordinating Inspection Team Leader where he focuses primarily on bridge and tunnel inspections. He serves as the President of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers (BSCE) and has been involved in many local, state and national outreach initiatives through BSCE as well as the Boston Society of Civil Engineers (BSCES) and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for several years. Mr. Brockman has also been deeply involved with the Infrastructure Group’s Model Bridge Design Contest, the annual Ralph Salvucci Online Bridge contest, which he founded, and is the New England Regional Coordinator of the National Engineers Week Future City Competition.  Mr. Brockman is also a pro-active advocate for STEM education, and regularly offers advice and discusses issues related to STEM education and the interaction between businesses and the educational system with legislators, administrators and educators.  He has been awarded the Edmund Freeman Award for Professional Recognition by ASCE, the Citizen Engineer and President’s Award by BSCES, and the Ellen Ochoa Award from MAES (the Latino Society of Engineers and Scientists). Mr. Brockman states: "I am delighted to be joining the Metro North REB and to serve as the Chair of the Youth Council. I first became involved with the REB through several of their STEM-related activities and was instantly drawn in by their spirit and sense of mission. The REB aims to make real community improvements and time and time again puts its energy in all the right places, bringing about real, visible change. They strive to know the businesses in the communities, find the needs, aid in training and finding people to fill the needs of employers, and most importantly, bring opportunities to people who otherwise may struggle. I am very proud of the REB and honored to be a part of it."

Kambiz Maali currently serves as Director of The Work Force Youth Program for the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) in Cambridge, MA.  Prior to joining the CHA, Mr. Maali's roles included Project Director for the Build the Out-of-School Time Network (BOSTnet), Adjunct Professor for Northeastern University, and Director of Youth Development for the Bird Street Community Center in Dorchester, MA.  Mr. Maali brings to the REB a strong background in working with, and managing youth development and out-of-school time programming in urban areas. Mr. Maali states, "I am excited to be part of REB as the representative for public housing. In this role, I look forward to learning about the employment needs and challenges of the region, and to helping shape local workforce development efforts to better meet the needs of employers and residents." 

School-to-Career Connecting Activities program attracts over 1,200 local students (May, 2013)

Earlier this spring, Massachusetts School-to-Career Connecting Activities Partnership once again sponsored "Construction Career Day," drawing over 1,200 local high school students, including many from the Metro North high schools of Everett, Malden, Revere, and Woburn.  With the goal of helping to meet the industry's workforce needs of the future, this popular annual program is designed to encourage youth to enter into construction-related careers.

The event provides local students with opportunities to get a hands-on look at some of the many careers options available within the construction industry. This year, students were able to partake in a wide range of activities, including: operating large equipment such as cranes and excavators; designing bridges, tunnels, and buildings using computer-aided drafting software; and getting a glimpe of what's involved in masonry, welding, and carpentry. In addition, students had the opportunity to speak with exhibitor companies and operators, as well as receive information on trade schools, certification programs, and scholarships.

In addition to The New England Labors Training Academy, which hosted the event, this year's program was a cooperative effort of the following agencies and organizations: The Federal Highway Administration, The Engineer Center Association, Massachusetts Highway Department, Massachusetts Aggregate and Asphalt Pavement Association, Massachusetts Concrete and Aggregate Producers Association, The Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section/ASCE, The Massachusetts Association of Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers, Construction Industries of Massachusetts, and The Massachusetts Department of Education.

For more information about School-to-Career Connecting Activities initiatives, please visit: www.schooltocareer.info/programs/constructioncareer.htm

REB Chair honored as a Mass High Tech "Woman to Watch" (April, 2013)

Joanna Dowling, REB Chair and Director of Operations for Custom Group, Inc., a leading advanced manufacturing company in Woburn, MA, is one of twenty-one women selected to receive a Mass High Tech (MHT) 2013 "Women to Watch" award.  Held annually, MHT’s Women to Watch program serves to recognize women who are thought leaders in the technology and life sciences fields, and whose work is certain to have a sustained positive impact on these industries in the future.  In its March 18, 2013 article announcing the honorees, the Boston Business journal states the following:  "Joanna Dowling is truly an outstanding leader. She plays a significant role in giving new life to unique manufacturing in the U.S. and is one of the very few women leaders in manufacturing…She is also actively involved with the State of Massachusetts within the manufacturing sector to promote the trade and the importance of education and sustaining manufacturing in the Bay State."  The awards ceremony was held on May 9 at the Westin Waterfront Hotel in Boston.

Now Available: Metro North One-Stop Career Centers 2013 Legislative Report

Please click here to access the Metro North One-Stop Career Centers 2013 Legislative Report, which highlights the remarkable accomplishments of the Metro North One-Stop Career Centers.

Metro North REB FY 2013 - FY 2016 Draft Strategic Plan

The REB is pleased to announce that a draft version of the FY 2013 - FY 2016 REB Strategic Plan is now available for download.  Please submit your comments or suggestions in writing to Holly Vogel, hvogel@mnreb.org. Click here for PDF version of the Draft Strategic Plan.

 

Leaders from Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation meet with Healthcare Partnership (April, 2013)

Anna Gosline, Director of Policy and Research, and Jessica Larochelle, Director of Evaluation and Strategic Initiatives for Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation recently met with members from the Metro North Healthcare Partnership to discuss healthcare reform in Massachusetts.  Their presentation, titled “Payment Reform in Massachusetts: Impacts and Opportunities for the Health Care Workforce” addressed a number of key issues in healthcare reform, including the following:  The current shift from fee-for-service models to more aggregated, bundled and global payments; the impact of alternative payment models with regard to the creation of new models of care delivery and opportunities to pay for a wider range of services; and the impact of the reforms on the demand for healthcare professionals.  For more information about the Metro North Healthcare Partnership, please contact: Meelynn Wong, mwong@mnreb.org.

Workforce Partnership awarded $500k to support advanced manufacturing in Northeastern MA(March, 2013)

 

The REB is pleased announce that the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (NAMC), with the North Shore Workforce Investment Board as the lead, has received a $500,000 grant from the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF).  The award will be used to address critical workforce training needs in the region. 

The NAMC was established in 2012 to help the advanced manufacturing industry in Northeastern Massachusetts to become more globally competitive by better aligning training curricula with current business needs, and by promoting the many positive aspects of working in the industry to the public and its future workforce.  In addition to the Metro North REB, the consortium is comprised of:  the Greater Lowell, Merrimack Valley, and North Shore Workforce Investment Boards; North Shore, Northern Essex, and Middlesex Community Colleges; several regional vocational technical schools including Greater Lowell Technical High School and Shawsheen Valley Technical High School; and over 20 employer partners.

Under the direction of the consortium, the grant will provide for training that will include courses in current manufacturing practices and technology for 70 adults at the region’s three community colleges and to place graduates into manufacturing jobs.  To help ensure that this program meets the needs of both its participants and the region’s employers, the NAMC is working to connect graduates who successfully complete both the program with potential employers.

Linda Bass, Executive Director of the Metro North REB, states, “In the high-tech environment that defines today’s advanced manufacturing industry, efforts need to focus on retraining current workers, as well as attracting new talent to help fill the shoes of a retiring workforce.   Both of these tasks are critical for local industry to remain competitive on a global scale.  The WCTF award will provide much needed support to the NAMC in its efforts to help make this happen.”

The WCTF is administered by Commonwealth Corporation on behalf of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.  To learn more, please visit:  http://64.78.33.48/areas/int.cfm?ID=166&sub=166

 

Welcome new REB Members!

Philip Bronder-Giroux is the Executive Director ofTri-City Community Action Program, Inc. (Tri-CAP) in Malden, Massachusetts. Mr. Bronder-Giroux has worked for more than thirty years in programs addressing the effects and conditions of people living in poverty.  In twenty-five years as executive director of non-profit antipoverty agencies (Sojourner House, Inc. & Tri-CAP), he has worked on issues of hunger, homelessness, legal services, affordable housing, health care reform and job training for low wage earners. He is a founding member of the Cyber Café @Malden Square, an initiative to reduce the effects of the digital divide for the low-income community. He has three years of overseas experience in Haiti and French Polynesia. Mr. Bronder-Giroux holds graduate degrees from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and Weston School of Theology and a Bachelor of Science degree from Framingham State College. Mr. Bronder-Giroux says: “I am honored to serve a second time on the REB. Employment and job training are at the center for low income individuals and families moving to self-sufficiency. I look forward to being a part of the REB’s important work of linking low wage work with emerging work opportunities that pay living wages and have good benefits.”

Lisa Amaya Price is Biogen Idec’s director of global talent acquisition programs. In this role, she is responsible for developing and implementing programs and operational support for a global recruiting team.  Her areas of direct responsibility include university relations, onboarding, contingent workforce management, employer marketing strategy, global mobility and talent acquisition operations.  In 2011, Lisa cofounded Biogen Idec’s Women’s Innovation Network and launched the company’s first Diversity & Inclusion function. Lisa joined Biogen Idec in 2008 as the lead global HR Business Partner for Information Technology, Supply Chain, Engineering, and Technical Development.

Prior to Biogen Idec, Lisa held HR leadership roles with global companies in the media & communications and high technology industries, including positions with Weber Shandwick, Metro International, and Keane, Inc.  In addition to her HR career, Lisa spent several years teaching English and playing music around the world.  She received her MBA, summa cum laude, in global management from the F.W. Olin School of Business at Babson College in 2005, and also holds an MA in Teaching from Simmons College in Boston, MA. She received her BA in Music, summa cum laude, from Bard College.  Ms. Amaya Price states: “I am looking forward to working with the Metro North REB to identify new partnerships that will enhance its capacity to address critical workforce challenges.”

Sandra Smith is a senior HR leader at Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Center, and brings over 20 years of human resource and strategic planning experience to the REB.  At Microsoft, Sandra works to create high-performing teams, leaders and employees. Prior to Microsoft, Sandra worked for Monsanto, Biogen Idec and two life science start-ups.  Sandra began her career focused on affordable housing and finance in the Commonwealth, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Government from Harvard College.  Sandra lives in Belmont with her husband and three children. She enjoys expressing her creativity through gardening, painting pottery, and reviving old furniture. Ms. Smith states: “As a 25-year resident of Cambridge and Belmont, I am excited and honored to join the Metro North Regional Employment Board and to contribute to its mission of shaping and influencing the local workforce.  I am particularly interested in continuing to develop individuals in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines. I look forward to partnering and building a vibrant, skilled workforce in our region for the 21st Century.”

 

Mary Tighe currently serves as the Director of Human Resources for Boston Centerless, a precision manufacturing and distribution operation based in Woburn, MA.  She brings over 15 years of HR leadership and experience as a dynamic, collaborative, strategic business partner with strong communication and influencing skills and the ability to quickly build credibility and develop relationships in fast-paced, growth-oriented organizations. Ms. Tighe states: “I am grateful to be appointed to the Metro North Regional Employment Board and look forward to the opportunity to utilize my skills and experience to drive and support initiatives in the Metro North area.”

 

Mark Tardiff currently serves as Vice President of Operations for United Electric Controls (UE), an international manufacturer of pressure and temperature switches, controls and sensors, headquartered in Watertown, MA.  Mr. Tardiff brings to the REB over 20 years of leadership in the field of manufacturing.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Management and an Associate in Engineering degree from Northeastern University, and an MBA from Bentley University Graduate School of Business.  Mr. Tardiff states, “I am exited to join the REB to continue the great work done so far. Creating a comprehensive strategy for workforce development and training programs is key to our success and to the Massachusetts economy as a whole. I look forward to working with the board to help shape programs that help our industry grow and succeed!”

Patricia Tyler currently serves as Director of Workforce Development for Lahey Clinic in Burlington, MA.  (Full bio coming soon!)

 

 

 

 

 

Chelsea Collaborative presents REB with Community Partner Award

The REB is honored to have received one of five Community Partner Awards given by the Chelsea Collaborative at its Twenty Fourth Annual Holiday Gala earlier this month.  Each year, the Chelsea Collaborative presents this award to those who they deem have made significant contributions to improving the quality of life for the residents of Chelsea. In her award letter, Gladys Vega, Executive Director of the Chelsea Collaborative, states:  “The Metro North Regional Employment Board has been an integral partner in providing support for Chelsea’s youth…it would be impossible to employ as many youth as the Summer Employment initiative does, and place them in worksites throughout the community without you.” As part of the award, the REB also received official citations from both the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives.  Awards were also presented to: Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash, The Foley Hoag Foundation, Two Sisters and a Wife Foundation, Alejandrina Rodriguez, and Gabriel Camacho.

New advanced manufacturing collaborative established in Northeastern Massachusetts

Manufacturing leaders from Northeastern Massachusetts, regional workforce development and education officials, and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki recently announced a new collaborative effort designed to strengthen the industry and help connect businesses looking for employees with well-trained, available workers. The announcement of the creation of the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium followed a Northeast Massachusetts Skills Gap Labor Market Information event at the Rogers Center in North Andover, on Nov. 8, which was designed to release new labor market supply and demand data and provide a detailed picture of the region’s current and future labor supply. [Click here to read full press release]

Secretary Solis visits, CONNECT receives $3M DOL grant

Originally published in The Connector, the quarterly publication of CONNECT, Issue 2, November 14, 2012.

Secretary Solis was at The Neighborhood Developers’ office on August 24, just one month after CONNECT was awarded a U.S. Department of Labor (D.O.L.) Workforce Innovation Grant worth $3 million over three years.  Secretary Solis congratulated the Metro North Regional Employment Board for its successful application on CONNECT’s behalf.  CONNECT is the only organization in Massachusetts to receive the grant in 2012.
Secretary Solis lauded the efforts of pioneering community-based organizations like CONNECT to equip Americans to succeed in the workforce, emphasizing that they, not the D.O.L., help to create jobs.  She described the experience of meeting so many people who are unemployed and taking initiative to get trained in a new career as “humbling.”  Secretary Solis said it is important to give those people a strong support network and referral system to help them navigate the intimidating workforce re-entry process.  She recalled having visited communities that had re-invented themselves thanks to local initiatives, offering hope that reforming models of service-delivery to clients can lead to job creation.  Finally, Secretary Solis said that the D.O.L. is relying on organizations’ rigorous measurement and evaluation processes to help it identify the nation’s most effective workforce development programs.  Those programs can then be promoted among funders and used as models for the nation.  CONNECT’s commitment to innovation, developing strong local partnerships, and tracking clients’ progress makes it a strong ally for the D.O.L. as it supports clients in meeting their financial and professional goals.

REB member Paul Richard named new Vice-Chair

The REB is delighted to announce that Paul Richard, Sustainability Director for the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry in Wilmington, MA, has been appointed to Vice-Chair of the Metro North REB.  Prior to his role at the Warner Babcock Institute, Mr. Richard worked at the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, where he served as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Director of Technical Assistance and Technology. He has over 25 years of experience in public service, environmental protection, pollution prevention, toxic use reduction, and business relations. Paul is a strong advocate for green chemistry and serves on the Advisory Board of Beyond Benign, a non-profit affiliate of the Warner Babcock Institute that is dedicated to green chemistry education in K-12 and higher education. He holds a B.S. from Purdue University, and he is a two-time recipient of the Kennedy School of Government and Ford Foundation Award for Innovations in State and Local Government.

Skills gap summit marks release of major new labor market report (10.12.2012)

It was standing room only at the October 1st summit, Skills Gap: Supply & Demand in the Boston/ Metro North Economy.  Close to 200 workforce development professionals, legislators, and civic, education and business leaders gathered for the release of a new report, "Labor Market Trends in the Boston/Metro North Region.”  A joint effort of the New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and Commonwealth Corporation, the report provides a detailed picture of Boston/Metro North’s current and future labor supply, as well as information about labor demand over the past decade. Speakers at the event included Joanne Goldstein, Secretary of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development; Peter Meade, Chief Economic Development Officer, City of Boston; Robert Healey, City Manager, City of Cambridge; Nancy Snyder, President/CEO, Commonwealth Corporation; Gary Gottlieb, President/CEO, Partners HealthCare; and Joanna Dowling, Director of Operations, The Custom Group. The findings were presented by Robert Clifford, Policy Analyst at the New England Public Policy Center, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. 

Grant to use H-1B fees to train local workers

By Gail Waterhouse ~ Originally Published in The Boston Globe, March 9, 2012

A $5 million grant from the US Department of Labor, funded by fees companies pay to bring in temporary skilled workers from overseas, will help train hundreds of Greater Boston workers and students for careers in life sciences and health care industries, Mayor Thomas M. Menino said Thursday. The grant will fund the Metro Boston Skilled Careers in Life Sciences Initiative, a four-year program to provide training to 360 residents of more than 80 area communities...[read more]

Report on manufacturing in Massachusetts is released

“Staying Power II: A Report Card on Manufacturing in Massachusetts 2012" is an update of a 2008 study that conveys positive news about the resiliency of the state’s sector. Click here to access the report.

REB welcomes delegation from Quinghai Province, China to learn about STEM strategies

The Metro North Regional Employment Board (REB) recently welcomed twenty-two delegates from the Quinghai Province in China for a series of presentations and discussion around strategies for promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Led by Mr. Xiofang Xing, Deputy Director-General of Quinghai Provinicial Science and Technology Bureau, the delegation represented a broad spectrum of institutions that included universities, hospitals, government agencies, and private sector companies.  Since current initiatives to grow the economy in Quinghai Province focus on industries that relate to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, the delegation was interested in learning how regional workforce investment boards and the state are working to help increase participation in STEM by local communities.

The REB organized a two-hour program that was designed to provide the delegates with an overview of current STEM-related activities and initiatives on the local, regional, and state levels.  Speakers included: David Cedrone, Associate Commissioner for Economic and Workforce Development for the MA Department of Higher Education; Lance Hartford, Executive Director of MassBioEd Foundation; Patricia Hogan, Chair of the Massachusetts Council of STEM Professional Societies; Larisa Schelkin, President and CEO of DOME Foundation; Alysia Ordway, Workforce Initiatives Director for the Boston Private Industry Council; Matt Bruce, Manager of Regional Workforce Initiatives for the Mayor’s Office of Jobs & Community Service; Linda Rohrer, Executive Director of Career Source; Chris Brennan, Executive Director of The Career Place; and Linda Bass, Executive Director of the Metro North Regional Employment Board.  In addition, George Moriarty, Director of the MA Department of Career Services, was in attendance. An engaging question and answer session and tour of Career Source followed the presentations.

U.S. Labor Department awards $3 Million to the Metro North Regional Employment Board to support innovative workforce collaboration, CONNECT, in Chelsea, MA

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded a $3 Million, highly competitive Workforce Innovations Grant to the Metro North Regional Employment Board to support CONNECT. A unique partnership of six organizations who have come together in Chelsea Massachusetts, CONNECT co‐locates and bundles complementary services, allowing for the delivery of stronger outcomes for clients while effectively pooling resources.  CONNECT’s six partners are: Career Source (chartered by the Metro North Regional Employment Board), Bunker Hill Community College, Centro Latino, Chelsea Neighborhood Developers, Metro Credit Union, and The Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership. This innovative program leverages funding from more than 16 public federal and state funding streams through its partners, incorporates the use of social networks, provides peer support through Success Teams, and provides Financial Coaching which has been documented to support progress against action plans and behavior changes that support financial success. Regular updates on CONNECT will be posted on this website. [Click here to read press release]...

Boston Globe Article: Chelsea nonprofit coaches clients to independence

By Megan Woolhouse, Boston Globe, August 24, 2012

Adaliz Rodriguez was struggling financially until a coach from a unique program at The Neighborhood Developers in Chelsea helped her learn new skills. Two years ago, Adaliz Rodriguez worked as a medical assistant, neck-deep in credit card debt and with no idea how to budget household expenses or even balance her checkbook. Today, the 34-year-old single mother not only balances her checkbook, but also plans to become an accountant — and has the savings to pay for the community college­ courses. How did she do it? With the help and ­advice of her “coach,” Marissa Guananja. [Read more...]

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Equipment and Supplies for High Schools Program

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center has announced the launch of the second round of an open solicitation for capital dollars to support: (1) equipment and supplies for high schools in Gateway Cities and vocational/technical high schools; and (2) life-sciences related capital projects for academic/research institutions (including community colleges), business incubators, and other not-for-profit organizations in the Commonwealth. The Equipment and Supplies for High Schools program will enable the purchase of equipment and supplies to train high school students in life sciences technology and research. The program will address a funding gap in capital dollars for public and not-for-profit workforce training and educational institutions. Eligible high schools, as well as community-based organizations that serve such high schools, are invited to apply for this grant funding by completing a brief online application via the Center's website (below). Applicants seeking funding of greater than $100,000 (but no more than $250,000) are required to secure matching funds, in cash or as a donation, for any amount over $100,000 from an industry partner. The deadline for this application will be October 12, 2012 at noon. For more information, and to apply, please visit www.masslifesciences.com

Governor Patrick Appoints REB Chair Joanna Dowling to MWIB

 The Metro North Regional Employment Board (REB) is pleased to announce that Governor Deval Patrick has appointed REB Chair Joanna Dowling to the Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board (MWIB).  The MWIB, which represents a broad range of businesses and organizations across the state, advises the Governor on growing an effective workforce development system that is aligned with state education policies and economic development goals.  Ms. Dowling serves as Director of Operations of The Custom Group -- a leading, Massachusetts-based precision manufacturing company – and President of the Center for Manufacturing Technology, a member of The Custom Group.  Previously, Ms. Dowling served as Chief Financial Officer of Custom Machine.  She is currently involved in statewide initiatives designed to promote the advanced manufacturing industry to help ensure a strong workforce pipeline to address the need for succession planning in light of the industry’s aging workforce. She is also co-chair of the Workforce Development Committee of the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative, a board member of Boston Tooling and Machining Education and the Massachusetts Association of Private Career Schools, and a recent appointee to the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Workforce Board Association.  As one of 65 MWIB members, Ms. Dowling will advise the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development on how to create and sustain the workforce that Massachusetts needs to succeed in the world economy.  For more information about the Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board, please visit www.mass.gov/MWIB.

Boston Globe Article: Summertime blues for teen job seekers

Published in the Boston Globe North

By Kathy McCabe – June 28, 2012

Summer jobs for teenagers remain in short supply north of Boston, with many losing opportunities to out-of-work adults in such traditionally youth-friendly industries as retailers and restaurants. “Unless the kids have a serious connection to somebody who will hire them, they’re usually out of luck,” said Mary Sarris, executive director of the North Shore Workforce Investment Board in Salem. “If a kid walks in off the street, applies for a job and gets it, it is a miracle.” In old cities, such as Lawrence, Lowell, and Lynn, unemployed teens face the summertime blues. “It’s a big problem,” said Rafael Abislaiman, executive director of the Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board in Lawrence. “The unemployment rate is so high [in Lawrence], there aren’t a lot of opportunities for kids.”  [Read more]...

Local biomedical careers programs celebrates twenty successful years (June, 2012)

As one of several long-time supporters of the Just-A-Start Biomedical Careers Program (BCP), the REB is pleased to announce that BCP has recently commemorated its 20th anniversary.  This intensive 9-month program – a collaboration between Just A Start, Inc., Bunker Hill Community College, and the City of Cambridge -- provides job training and job placement for area residents for careers in the biotechnology, research and medical industries. Since its inception, the program has provided services at no-cost to eligible low- and low-moderate individuals, enabling them to obtain entrance into fields where there are opportunities to advance and earn reasonable wages. Of the nearly 500 individuals who have successfully completed the program since 1992, over 80% have been successfully placed into jobs in the biotechnology, research and hospital laboratory industries.  Recently, Les Warren from The Workforce Development Center at Bunker Hill Community College, and John Witt from Just-A-Start, recently presented a plaque to the REB for its ongoing partnership with the REB in support of the program (see photo).

Massachusetts Workforce Board Association co-sponsors event for small businesses (June 7, 2012)  

Earlier this week the Massachusetts Workforce

Board Association, in partnership with Google and several Massachusetts-based organizations, sponsored a unique event designed to help small business owners to establish an online presence. Over the course of two days, representatives from Google provided hands-on, on-site assistance with developing and

publishing a website, as well information on how to effectively grow and promote a business online.  Senator John Kerry kicked off the event with a keynote address. Additional event sponsors included: Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network, SBANE, Cambridge

Pictured above:  Linda Bass, David Augustino, Maryellen Brett, Tim Sappington,     Chamber of Commerce, Center for Women and

Sen. John Kerry, Mary Sarris, Ralph Abislaiman.                                           Enterprise, the Association of Small Business

Development Centers, SCORE and Intuit. If you missed the event you can still take advantage of the opportunity to develop a free website by visiting: http://www.gybo.com/massachusetts/.

New REB Executive Director selected!

The REB Search Committee is delighted to announce that Linda Bass, former REB Senior Associate Director, has been selected as the REB’s new Executive Director. Susan Walsh, REB Executive Committee Member and Director of the Cam-bridge Office of Workforce Development commented, “Bass brings to the position over 25 years of leadership in workforce development in Massachu-setts, an in-depth understanding of the system, extraordinary analytical abilities, and a passion and energy that has long been known to her colleagues throughout the state.” As she settles into her new role, Bass will focus on strategic planning, working closely with the Board, employer industry groups, training providers/community colleges, and others to develop innovative solutions to addressing current workforce challenges. “As a hub for life sciences, information technology, higher education and healthcare, Metro North is a particularly exciting region for this work. I am looking forward to cultivating the partnerships and teams necessary to advance the REB’s mission of meeting the work-force needs of our region’s employers and residents,” said Bass.

Malden initiative engages students, employers (May 1, 2012)

Representatives from a broad spectrum of agencies have joined forces to establish the Malden Employer Engagement Initiative (MEEI) — also referred to as the “Malden Team” —with the goal of supporting workforce-related programming for youth in Malden. The Team includes the Metro North Youth Council and Career Centers (Career Source and The Career Place), Malden High School, local community organizations, and the statewide Connecting Activities and MassGrad programs. The initiative’s overarching goal is to align the needs of employers with those of students through promoting employer engagement in and around the city of Malden. This past April, the initiative kicked off with a career fair at Malden High School. Close to forty local businesses and agencies talked with students about a wide range of career choices, and the pathways necessary to enter into, and excel in, specific careers. REB Associate Director Priscilla Golding played a key role in organizing the event. Future MEEI programs and events will be posted on www.mnreb.org.

REB Vice-Chair Antonio de la Serna awarded prestigious Medalla de Oro (April 27, 2012)

The Metro North REB is pleased to announce that REB Vice Chair Antonio de la Serna was recently awarded the Medalla de Oro. This prestigious award, presented by MAES -- a society of Latino engineers and scientists -- recognizes individuals who “have demonstrated outstanding technical and educational innovation, have made significant contributions to science and/or engineering, have a long history of supporting the mission and vision of MAES as well as have personal involvement in the development, operation, and growth of MAES, its membership and chapters.” As part of the award, Mr. de la Serna had the unique opportunity to present a scholarship to a college student in his name, to mark the beginning of a long-term mentoring relationship. For this honor, Mr. de la Serna selected Miquel Sanchez, a chemical engineering student at the University of California, Irvine. 

Mr. de la Serna is a digital design engineer at Draper Laboratory, an independent, not-for-profit research and engineering organization dedicated to solving problems in the national interest. He is also founder and past president of the Greater Boston chapter of MAES, which performs STEM outreach from kindergarten to career. Mr. de la Serna is now the Region 4 vice president on the MAES National Board of Directors.  To read more about Mr. de la Serna’s efforts in STEM, as well as MAES, please visit: www.mymaes.org.

Malden career fair highlights student options (April 23, 2012)

This article was originally published in The Malden Observer, April 23, 2012. 

By Nathan Lamb, Editor, Malden Observer

Malden -- Students received a hands-on look at the job market from some 37 local businesses and organizations, during a recent youth career fair at Malden High School. For more than two hours on April 13, hundreds of students met and chatted with business owners and non-profit directors— discussing what those jobs are like and how to get them.

Organized jointly by educators and several area non-profits, it was MHS’ first career fair, but organizer Kelli Collomb said it went well. “I was very pleased at the energy in the room and the way the students presented themselves,” said Collomb, a vocational rehabilitation counselor at MHS. “The employers had a lot of hands-on activities; it was nice chance for the two groups to really interact in a very friendly environment.”

Director of Guidance Manjula Karamcheti said the event reflects a growing emphasis toward preparing students for life after graduation. “We’ve implemented some really good career exploration curriculum within our business department and also through some of our guidance department,” she said. “[The fair] is so students can get exposed to the experts who actually do the work. They’re listening to people who are actually doing the hiring, to hear what kind of skills they’ll need and who’d they’d want to hire.” Karamcheti credited the business department with helping students develop questions beforehand for their guests, adding a “career choices” curriculum is part of a freshman-level elective all students are strongly encouraged to take. The school also has a “pathways” program, which encourages career exploration and also teaches students social skills to succeed in the marketplace. “There’s a transition initiative going on within the school to ensure students are prepared after they graduate from high school,” said Collomb, who is a career coach and intern advisor for Pathways.

Karamcheti traced the career fair idea back to a recent youth development grant for linking careers and academics. She said those funds were used to bring together the schools, the regional employment board and various community organizations, saying the job fair grew out of that. “When we started meeting and having conversations, we wanted to come up with one program, event, or initiative we could all work on together,” she said. “A dream of mine since I’ve been here is to have a career fair.” A key player in those discussions was the Metro North Regional Employment Board, a regional non-profit that oversees federal money for youth programs and career centers in the metro-Boston area. Board associate Priscilla Golding said they’ve long provided services in Malden — noting sponsorship of in-school program through the Malden YWCA and a local GED program — but added the recent round of discussions centered on how they could do more to teach youth about the connection between education and vocation. Speaking after the event, Golding termed education the most important factor for young people seeking jobs, saying they need a diploma or GED, followed by certificate training or higher education. She hoped the career fair would get students thinking proactively about the future and preparing for it. “We’re hoping some of these kids get inspired to pick a career they might never have thought about,” she said. Event organizers said they’re hoping the career fair will become an annual event in Malden. MHS principal Dana Brown sounded onboard with that notion. “The foundation is there for an annual event,” he said. “I heard nothing but positives from kids, teachers and our partners, so I think the foundation is there.”

Metro Boston workforce investment areas receive $5M to build life sciences workforce (April, 2012)

 The Metro North REB is pleased to announce that the Boston Skilled Careers in Life Sciences (SCILS) Initiative has recently been awarded $5M by the USDOL to support its mission to grow and maintain a life sciences workforce in the state.  Led by the City of Boston Jobs and Community Services, the initiative will provide residents in more than 80 cities and towns in and around Boston with customized occupational training for careers as Biological Technicians, Medical Lab Technicians and Medical Lab Technologists, as well as student internships, career counseling and outreach services. In addition to Metro North and the City of Boston's Jobs and Community Services, SCILS is being implemented in collaboration with the Metro South/West and South Shore workforce regions. Current training partners include Boston University, Quincy College, and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.  

The Executive Committee of the Initiative is currently seeking to fill the position of Director of the Metro Boston Life Science and Healthcare Career Center Resource (HLS-CCR), who will be responsible for creating an industry resource within the region’s workforce investment system. The HLS-CCR is an integral part of the Metro Boston Skilled Careers In Life Sciences Initiative, a four year $5 million initiative to improve career opportunities for residents of the Greater Boston area and provide a more highly trained life science workforce for the area’s healthcare and biotechnology sectors. The HLS-CCR will work with all of the region’s 10 one-stop career centers, and build a productive network of career center staff, customers, and employer partners. The Director will create this new regional resource, supervise its staff, and lead its efforts to support the SCILS Initiative and make a significant impact on the region’s workforce..  Please click here for the full job posting and information on how to apply.

Annual CWC Workforce Development Conference (May, 2012)

Commonwealth Workforce Coalition (CWC) will host its 9th annual workforce development conference - Partnering for Opportunity on Monday, May 14th. Joanne F. Goldstein, Secretary of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development will be a guest speaker at the conference. Workshops include: Using the Empower Your Future Curriculum in Youth Employment Programs; Youth Manufacturing Pilot: Pathway System-Building and Employer Engagement; and Measuring Business Impact in Workforce Development. Commonwealth Corporation is not only a sponsor of the conference, but will be presenting multiple workshops throughout the day. Be sure to visit the CWC website and register by April 20th.

Youth Council and Malden Youth Advocates Join Forces (December, 2011)

 Representatives from the Metro North Youth Council, Malden High School and local WIA-funded community agencies have established a new initiative to support youth workforce-related programming through promoting employer engagement in the city of Malden. To help focus their initial efforts, the team members attended the recent U.S. Department of Labor Forum entitled “Working Collaboratively to Provide Work and Learn Opportunities for Young Adults: A Conference for Teams that Cross Delivery Systems.”  Also involved in the effort is the statewide Connecting Activities Program and the MassGrad Initiative --both of which are funded by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education-- as well as the Metro North Career Centers, Career Source and The Career Place. Updates on the progress of the initiative will be posted on this Web site.

Lahey Clinic among those Honored for Successful English Language Program

Lt. Governor Timothy Murray presents certificate to (from left to right): Lahey EWL Program Director Pat McAuliffe, students Claudia Rodriguez, Marc Rhuand, and Zoe Moore, and Instructor Kathy McAlpine.

Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray presented an award today to Lahey Clinic for its demonstrated commitment to providing its non-English speaking employees an opportunity to learn English at work. Lahey was one of 18 businesses across the state to receive the award at a ceremony organized by the English Works Campaign. The event underscored the value of work-based Engish language programs, particularly in light of the many challenges that immigrants often face in getting access to these programs outside of of the workplace.

Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Joanne Goldstein also attended the event.  Secretary Goldstein praised the award recipients, and voiced her strong support for work-based English language programs: "It's good for business, it's good for workers, it's good for the Commonwealth, and it's good for us as a community," said Goldstein.

Since its inception in 1995, the highly successful English as a Working Language Program at Lahey Clinic has served over 500 immigrant employees.  Graduates of the program have made career advancements, earned GED diplomas as well as college degrees, become mentors, supervisors, translators, and many have achieved US citizenship. Lahey Clinic has funded this initiative annually for over 15 years, and today the program serves as a model for ESL workplace education throughout the country.

Massachusetts Community Colleges Awarded $20 Million U.S. Department of Labor Grant

A consortia proposal submitted by all 15 Massachusetts Community Colleges has been selected by the U.S. Department of Labor to receive the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant. This capacity-building proposal entitled “Massachusetts Community College and Workforce Development Transformation Agenda” will assist trade impacted and other eligible citizens of the Commonwealth to attain degrees, certificates, and industry recognized credentials that will help prepare them for high wage, high skill employment in an accelerated manner.

The $20 million dollar grant, funded through the U.S. Department of Labor in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education will create collaborative statewide change in the delivery system of high quality education and training programs for workers eligible under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TAA) and beyond. “It is a new delivery model for a new era and will go a long way to make a significant difference in the lives of the individuals who need the training and education to get ahead in these challenging economic times”, said William Hart, Executive Director, Massachusetts Community Colleges Executive Office.     

This is the first time that an initiative of this magnitude has been undertaken by all 15 community colleges.  Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) was the lead institution that submitted the consortia proposal for the community college segment in partnership with the Commonwealth’s workforce system and industry partners.  The grant was designed to focus on key industry sectors that reflect the strategic economic development plan of the Commonwealth: Life Sciences and Biotechnology; Information Technology; Health Care; Clean Energy; Advanced Manufacturing; and Financial Services and Entrepreneurship.  Funding from this grant will provide a seamless pipeline of supports and activities from the moment the customer is notified of their layoff, to their completion of education/training, to their achievement of a new job or career; benefiting both the individual and the Commonwealth.

Department of Industrial Accidents Workplace Safety Training & Education Grant Program - Fiscal Year 2012 - 2nd Round

The Office of Safety of the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) released the Workplace Safety Training & Education Grant Program Application for Fiscal Year 2012 - 2nd Round on September 1, 2011. The objective of this program is to promote safe and healthy conditions in the workplace by awarding state funds to eligible employers/employees within the Commonwealth who are covered by the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Law (M.G.L. Chapter 152), and who submit responses designed to provide and improve safety education and training in Occupational Safety and Health.  Complete instructions are detailed in the FY12 - 2nd Round Safety Training Grant Application, available here: www.mass.gov/dia/safety . The completed grant application must be submitted electronically and sent to the Office of Safety at the following address: electronic.safetygrant@dia.state.ma.us. Questions concerning the grant application process can be directed to the Office of Safety automatic response system by emailing safety@dia.state.ma.us

Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair seeks judges, mentors, advocates, students

The Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair, Inc. (MSSEF) is a non-profit organization committed to increasing awareness of, exposure to, and participation in inquiry-based learning through the development of science and engineering projects by middle school and high school students.  Through its Curious Minds Initiative, MSSEF offers graduate courses for teachers leading to the STEM Certificate in Inquiry at Framingham State University.

Ways to get involved:

1. Be a science fair judge. Opportunities exist at the middle and high school levels and for statewide,  regional, and school district fairs.

2. Mentor science fair students and science teachers.

3. Help develop a science fair program in a school.

4. Become a STEM education advocate. Promote the need for students to choose STEM education and careers.

5. Enter your students in a fair! Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fairs are open to students in grades 6-12 from all public, private and parochial schools throughout the state.

For additional information please visit: www.massscifair.com, or email info@scifair.com.

REB STEM Forum fuels discussion on local STEM programming (July, 2011)

In keeping with its goal of generating and growing STEM-related partnerships between local businesses and schools in the region, the Metro North REB hosted a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Forum at the Burlington Marriott Hotel this past June. The forum attracted directors of guidance and STEM-related departments from nearly every high school in the Metro North region, as well as representatives from ten local companies in fields ranging from green chemistry to aeronautical engineering.  The event provided a unique opportunity for school staff and administrators to meet with local industry representatives to explore synergies for the purpose of establishing new or expanding current STEM programs for local high school students.

The Forum followed on the heels of the launch of the Web-based Metro North STEM Resource – a new online inventory (www.mnreb.org/STEM) of some of the most effective and well-established STEM-related programs in the region.  The resource also features a wide range of information to support those partnerships, including a STEM Activity Guide and program-focused STEM resources.  More information about both the Forum and the STEM Resource will be posted on this site in the near future - so please stay tuned!

REB elects new chair, vice chair (June, 2011)

The REB is pleased to announce that Joanna Dowling of The Custom Group, Inc. and Antonio de la Serna of Draper Laboratory have been elected to the positions of Board Chair and Vice Chair, respectively. Ms. Dowling currently serves as Director of Operations of The Custom Group -- a leading, Massachusetts-based precision manufacturing company, and is also President of The Center for Manufacturing Technology, a member of The Custom Group. She is actively involved with the State of Massachusetts to promote the importance of ensuring the growth and sustainability of manufacturing in the state.  As a Board member since 2009, Ms. Dowling has brought to the REB a wealth of expertise in strategic planning, human resources and marketing. “As Chair I am looking forward to working with REB Executive Director Nancy Brown and Vice Chair Antonio de la Serna.  I believe the REB can play a pivotal role in helping employers build a stronger workforce and grow new and existing businesses in Massachusetts,” said Dowling.

The REB’s new Vice-Chair, Antonio de la Serna, is a digital design engineer at Draper Laboratory, an independent, not-for-profit research and engineering organization dedicated to solving problems in the national interest.  He is also founder and president of the Greater Boston chapter of the Society of Latino Engineers and Scientists, which performs K-12 educational outreach in both the sciences and engineering. “We’re thrilled that Ms. Dowling and Mr. de la Serna have accepted leadership roles on the Metro North Regional Employment Board.  Their combined skills and expertise will help us to effectively help residents gain the skills to maximize their economic self-sufficiency,” remarked REB Executive Director Nancy Brown.

State gives $6 million toward teen jobs, far below need (May, 2011)

A recent article on funding for summer youth employment programs published in The Boston Globe quotes Metro North REB Executive Director Nancy Brown. (Click here to view).

Metro North Career Pathways in Healthcare (April, 2011)

The REB is pleased to make available a new career exploration tool which outlines career pathways in healthcare in the Metro North region.  Developed in close collaboration with the Metro North Healthcare Partnership, this resource provides both an overview of healthcare career ladders as they relate to the region, as well as information on trends, wages and resources. The tool will be distributed to schools and career centers throughout the Metro North region. (Click on the image to the left to view/download).

 

Mass. job training programs to see loss of stimulus, budget cuts (April, 2011)
By David Riley, GateHouse News Service
Published on PatriotLedger.com, Apr 21, 2011
"Even as unemployment remains stubbornly high, Massachusetts job training and placement programs face
both federal budget cuts and the loss of stimulus funding that bolstered them through the recession.
State workforce development programs have received roughly $75 million through the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act (ARRA)...." [Full article]

Custom Group Earns Prestigious PM100 Award from Managing Automation (February, 2011)

The Custom Group Center for Manufacturing Technology, a full-service hands-on training facility based in Woburn, MA has been selected as a winner of the 2011 Progressive Manufacturing 100 Award in the Training & Education category. The Progressive Manufacturing 100 award is a prestigious program which honors companies who have transformed themselves through the use of information technology. Each year 100 manufacturing companies from around the world are recognized by Managing Automation Media for their groundbreaking projects that deliver a demonstrable competitive advantage. Visit the Center's Web site for more information: here: http://www.customtrainingcenter.com.

Richard Freeland meets with Board to discuss Vision Project (January, 2011)
Massachusetts Commissioner of the Board of Higher Education Richard M. Freeland recently met with the Metro North REB to discuss the Vision Project, a bold new statewide initiative that is designed to enhance the quality and accessibility of the state’s higher education system. In developing the Vision Project, Freeland and his team first sought to identify the most important objectives that the state needs higher education to fulfill. The answer they formulated, Freeland said, is “to produce the best educated workforce and citizenry in the country,” and “to position the state as a national leader in research that drives economic development.” Freeland asserted that in today’s economy, a strong, unified system of public higher education is critical to the economic well-being of the state. He pointed out that that while soon the vast majority of all jobs will require a college degree, graduates of Massachusetts colleges are leaving the state at an increasing rate. The future workforce of Massachusetts, he argued, will come from the state’s system of higher education. “We need to change the equation by getting the state to see more clearly the public policy importance of this system...and, by getting this highly decentralized system to see that it needs to find a way to behave as a system if it's going to communicate its importance to the state,” Freeland said. The ambitious goals of the project include: increasing college attendance and graduation rates; implementing accurate assessment tools to ensure that high school students are ready for advanced work; aligning degree programs with the workforce needs of the state; and eliminating racial, ethnic and economic disparities with respect to all of these outcomes. Freeland said that a report on the initiative will likely be published in 2012.

Career Paths in STEM forum draws crowd (January, 2011)
There was standing room only at the December STEM forum, held at Career Source in Cambridge. Hosted by the Metro North Career Centers, the forum featured speakers who are working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and who represent companies that include: Vertex, Just-A-Start, Biogen Idec, Vecna, and Everett Credit Union. Each presenter spoke to the audience of local youth about their organizations, some of the highlights of working in their fields, and their sometimes unpredictable career paths. Speaker Janis Caines, Vice President of Operations and Administration at Everett Credit Union, said that despite being an “average student” in high school, she worked her way up from part-time receptionist to vice president of her company. Caines stressed that students shouldn’t feel that they need to know everything before they enter the workforce. “What matters is that you show up, you are on time, you maintain a positive attitude, and you work hard….as for confidence, that will come.” The forum is one element of the Metro North REB’s comprehensive strategy to increase youth interest in the STEM fields, and to connect local schools with industry in the region. Other components of the strategy include the Metro North STEM Partnership (see article below), and the development of a web-based collection of local STEM-related initiatives and resources, slated to be launched in the spring of 2011.

New STEM Partnership to Build Local Workforce Capacity, Empower Youth (November, 2010)

Following on the heels of the successful forum, “Best Practices in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)” held this past summer, the REB is pleased to announce the launch of the Metro North STEM Partnership.  The Partnership, which is comprised of 30 leaders in industry and education from throughout the Metro North region, will serve as a catalyst to revitalize local interest and leadership in the STEM fields. At its first meeting in October, representatives from industry and community colleges explored local workforce needs, challenges and resources. The next meeting, to be held in early 2011, will include leadership from many local school districts, and will focus on establishing partnerships that will support effective, sustainable STEM programming throughout the region. The Metro North STEM Partnership is one component of the REB’s comprehensive Strategic Plan, which identifies healthcare and the professional/technical/scientific services sectors as priority areas for 2009 - 2012. Updates on the Partnership’s activities will be posted on this Web site as they become available.

Metro North REB Awarded High Performing WIB Status (September, 2010)

The Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Joanne Goldstein, recently awarded the status of High Performing Workforce Investment Board (WIB) to the Metro North REB on behalf of the state. This designation is given to WIBs that meet and sustain rigorous performance standards, and that have a demonstrated commitment to achieving the strategic workforce goals outlined by the Patrick Administration. These high-level goals include building workforce capacity, closing the skills gap, and developing education, training, and employment infrastructure to increase opportunities for youth. As part of the award, the REB will receive a $100,000 grant which it will use to support objectives in its priority industries of healthcare and the professional/technical/services sector.

ESOL Program for Former Ames Workers Now Underway (September, 2010)

Classes have begun for over twenty former employees of the Ames Safety Envelope Company in Somerville, who are participating in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program at the Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences (SCALE). This training is one component of a suite of education, training, and job counseling services that is currently being offered to 150 former Ames workers, thanks to a grant that was recently awarded to the REB by the Rapid Response Team of the Department of Workforce Development. In addition to ESOL training, the REB has allocated a large portion of the award for a wide range of direct services to be provided by the Metro North Career Centers. These services include outreach and recruitment, case management, job search workshops, and job placement services. The ultimate goal of these efforts is to help the former Ames workers, many of whom were long-term employees of the company, to successfully compete into today’s rapidly evolving job market.

REB Forum Sparks Partnerships to Address STEM Challenges (August 2, 2010)

Panel Moderator Larissa Schelkin and Panelists

At a recent forum at the Marriott Hotel in Burlington, MA, leaders in business and education from across the Metro North gathered together with a single shared purpose: to learn how they can work together to address the growing crisis in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The diverse mix of professionals included engineers, scientists, CEOs, school superintendents, career development professionals and sustainability experts. Sponsored by the Metro North Regional Employment Board (Cambridge, MA), the forum built upon a shared understanding of the challenges by exploring practical strategies to inspire students to pursue careers in the STEM fields.

In concluding the forum, REB Executive Director Nancy Brown announced that the REB is in the process of establishing a regional STEM planning team, as well as a clearinghouse for STEM resources. Additionally, Brown said that the REB will continue to serve as a catalyst to help foster new partnerships and initiatives to revitalize interest and leadership in STEM within the Metro North region and beyond. [Please see the latest issue of our newsletter, REB Connections, to read the full article].

REB Receives Grant to Assist Former Workers of Somerville-based Company (June, 2010)

The Metro North REB has received a grant from the Rapid Response team of the Department of Workforce Development to provide critical education, training and job counseling services to former employees of the Ames Safety Envelope Company. The award, which is funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), will serve to help these workers to secure other means of employment by providing them with a wide array of job counseling and occupational skills training, as well as opportunities to develop English language skills. Over the course of the 14-month grant period (ending June 30, 2011), the Metro North Career Centers will also provide a wide range of direct services which include: outreach and recruitment, case management, job search workshops, computer skills development and job placement services.

REB Receives $300K for Green Jobs (April, 2010)

We are pleased to announce that the Metro North REB will receive $300K as part of the Massachusetts State Energy Sector Partnership (MB-SESP) Award. Supported by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the U.S. Department of Labor, the award is one component of a major federal initiative established to promote economic growth through training workers in skills required for emerging industries. [Read full article]

REB Receives $200K Award to Bridge Healthcare Skills Gap (April, 2010)
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that in the decade between 2008 and 2018, job growth for clinical laboratory workers will exceed 14%, a rate that is “faster than average for all occupations.” The BLS also predicts that the number of job openings in the field will continue to exceed the number of those entering the field. [Read full article]

 

   
   
   
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