New state effort will unify workforce development programs

Posted Aug 30, 2018 at 9:43 AM

MassHire, the state’s new branding initiative that will unify the state’s workforce development systems, was rolled out Wednesday by Gov. Charlie Baker and Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta at the now former Fall River Career Center.

With more people looking for workers than people looking for work in Massachusetts, Baker said this branding is a good opportunity for the state.

Baker said the goal “in Fall River and across the Commonwealth (is) to really lift up this notion that … if you’re looking for people, there are people here who are looking for you.”

The state’s new initiative combined with the federal Workforce Opportunity Act passed in 2014 provides more flexibility to structure workforce development efforts, Baker said.

“We have the career centers and the workforce investment boards to serve as what I would describe as the brokers between and among the players,” the governor said.

They are “the folks who are looking for something, the folks looking for workers and the folks looking for the skill sets to change careers,” said Baker before a packed room of local and state workforce development staff, elected officials and some local business leaders.

The new initiative means that the 16 local workforce investment boards across the state will now be known as the MassHire Workforce Boards and the 29 career centers around the state become the MassHire Career Centers. The change in designations includes New Bedford.

In addition, the Massachusetts Workforce Development Board is the MassHire State Workforce Board and the Department of Career Services is the MassHire Department of Career Services.

Acosta, who was appointed by Baker last July, said work on the initiative has already started.

“This is exactly what the career centers are delivering today,” said Acosta. “But without the partnerships with the employers we couldn’t get it done.”

In fiscal 2018, Acosta said the career centers around the state have served 132,000 job seekers with 8,000 disabled and over 6,000 veterans while connecting 4,000 with training opportunities. They have also worked with 20,000 employers.

However a poll of employers showed only 6 percent were aware of the career centers’ services, which needs to change, she said.

Acosta said the unveiling of the initiative “is only step one.”

“We also know we need to modernize, we know we need to bring services to where the people are,” said Acosta.

Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board Inc.

Jim Oliveira, Executive Director

1213 Purchase St., 2nd Floor, New Bedford

508-979-1504; www.gnbwib.org/

Bristol Workforce Investment Board

Thomas Perreira, Executive Director

One Government Center, 5th Floor, Fall River

508-675-1165; www.bristolwib.org/

Original story here.