Guest Post: MA Jobs & Workforce Summit Recap: This Year, We Mean Business!

The following is a guest blog post by Kaitlyn Bean, Program Officer, SkillWorks: Partners for a Productive Workforce.

You may view the original post on the SkillWorks website here:  



In case you missed it, the Workforce Solutions Group (WSG), with support and in partnership with SkillWorks, successfully hosted the 7th Annual Massachusetts Jobs and Workforce Summit on Wednesday, October 26 in Devens, MA. Every year, the Workforce Solutions group brings more than 300 key policy makers, business, labor, and education leaders, to present the latest information about statewide labor and credential needs, higher education initiatives and career pathways for young adults. This year’s theme? We Mean Business!

The WSG is a statewide coalition of business, labor, workforce and community groups (including SkillWorks!) working to improve talent pipelines in the Commonwealth. Our work is focused on developing and building capacity in accessible pathways to education and employment for all MA residents, so naturally, we ALWAYS mean business!

This year we really wanted to underscore BUSINESS and employers as key partners in our work and advocacy around improving talent pipelines so business have the workforce they need and residents have access to quality jobs and career pathways to thrive.

This year’s Summit featured keynote speakers including Governor Charlie Baker, Congressman Seth Moulton, and Secretary Ronald Walker II, dynamic plenary sessions including business leaders, the new pay equity law in MA and youth leadership and policy advocacy today, and of course, the coveted Workforce Champion awards!

In our featured Business Leader Panel: Building High Road Partnership and Quality Jobs,Nancy Snyder, President of Commonwealth Corporation, moderated a valuable discussion between panelists Joseph Quinn, Sr. Director at Walmart, Rachel Kaprielian, SVP at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Dane Linn, VP of the National Business Roundtable – each of whom have expertise working with educational institutions, employers, and workforce development professional to develop and implement high value partnerships across a wide variety of industry sectors. From inspiring students in STEM education to creating career paths for veterans to working with students in vocational schools to impacting national education and workforce development policy, it was the type of constructive conversation that was immediately applicable to the workforce, education, and labor leaders, practitioners, and advocates in the room. Each business leader also emphasized the importance and necessity of creating these partnerships to generate and sustain talent pipelines for employers, with access and opportunity for all Massachusetts residents.

Thanks to this and other conversations, attendees at the Summit were brimming with excitement, enthusiasm, and readiness to take ideas and learnings from the day back to their own communities to continue working to enact change.

Missed the event? Don’t worry!

Download the agenda and program book

Follow and join the conversation by following @SkillWorks_MA, @WSG_40 and checking back at the day’s chatter by searching the hashtag #MAJobsSummit2016. And of course, don’t forget to follow our blog!

>>Click here<< to watch recorded portions of the day, including remarks by Governor Baker, and Representative Moulton.

The Summit was also a great way to segue into our advocacy agenda for 2017:

The Workforce Solutions Group’s overarching work is focused on developing and building capacity in accessible pathways to education and employment for all Massachusetts  residents. Our our primary goals are to:

  • Develop a workforce and education system that supports Career Pathways to help workers at all skill levels obtain post-secondary degrees, credentials and careers.
  • Increase accountability measures by adopting common performance measures for job training, education and employment programs and implement wage record matching for all programs.
  • Expand successful career and vocational technical pathways for high school students and disconnected youth.
  • Increase interagency coordination to leverage and maximize existing resources such as the federal SNAP to Skills program and work study programs.

Learn more about the Workforce Solutions Group and how you can get involved in workforce policy advocacy!

Click here to download a flow chart of the Massachusetts State Budget process and where the Workforce Solutions Group fits in.

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