A series of state-funded grants recently announced by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick aims to create hundreds of jobs and train thousands of workers in the Commonwealth. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…
Announced by the Patrick-Murray Administration, the wave of grants through the Workforce Training Fund aims to boost the Massachusetts economy by providing job training to over 6,300 workers, and producing an estimated 682 jobs. The $6.8 million is being divided among 87 companies in a variety of fields across the Commonwealth.
The fund is managed by the Commonwealth Corporation, a quasi-public agency, working with the state government’s Department of Career Services within the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Rebekah Lashman, Senior Vice President of the Commonwealth Corporation, said that the purpose of the grants is to help businesses hire local and stay competitive.
Lashman said that any company that pays into the state’s Unemployment Insurance trust fund is also paying into the Workforce Training fund, and is eligible for the workforce training grant program. The Fund was created in the FY 2012 budget.
Businesses in 66 cities in a range of industries are benefitting from recent grants. In Pittsfield, the Greylock Federal Credit Union received an award of over $154,000 dollars, and will train an estimated 254 workers. John Bissell is Executive Vice President of Greylock Federal Credit Union, says that the funds will help the business improve to face competition from big banks.
Bissell said the job training could also lead to improved management which could lead to future hiring.
In Springfield, New England Business Associates, an agency that helps individuals facing barriers to entry to the workforce gain basic job and interview skills, will be using an award to train staff to work with those with mental disorders. Executive Director Jeannine Pavlak…
Pavlak said the grants will also help hire 5 individuals to expand their programming, which helps a larger population in Western Massachusetts obtain employment.
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