Who Are We?

Mission

The Massachusetts Workforce Alliance creates true economic opportunity for low-income people by uniting individuals, organizations and coalitions to advance sensible workforce development policy.

United

We link a broad range of workforce development providers that find common ground in order to better serve our low-income clients. A collaborative statewide effort of coalitions, we see strength in the variety of perspectives our members bring to policy discussions at all levels, along with their commitment to people, exemplary services and strong communities, and steadfast pursuit of excellence.

Sensible

We create policy solutions after listening carefully to the people that provide and receive services --practitioners and program participants. This grounded approach ensures that the policies we advance are solutions that will work.

True

Our solutions create opportunities for low-income people to make real and measurable economic gains that will allow them to support themselves and their families. This means helping them to access all the services they need to succeed, and to find employment that offers continued training and mentoring so that they can, over time, advance along a career pathway.

 

 

The Massachusetts Workforce Alliance is a 501c3. Contributions to MWA are tax-deductible limited to the excess of the contributions over the fair market value of any items received in exchange for the donation.


 

Board of Directors

 

Clare Shepherd, MWA President

Terry Moran, MWA Treasurer, Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition

Roxanne Longoria, MWA Clerk, Boston Youth Service Network

Amy Nishman, Job Training Alliance

Judith Lorei, Consultant

Joe Diamond, Massachusetts Association for Community Action 

Eugenia Gibbons, Environmental League of Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

Down to Earth

Started in 2009, MWA’s Down to Earth Campaign (D2E) is a policy initiative that used a deliberately economic development lens to look at ways we can advance a sustainable economy that builds on the talents of low-income populations. To do this we have created a multi-disciplinary Steering Committee comprised of:

  • Boston Climate Action Network (BCAN)

  • Boston Youth Environmental Network (BYEN)

  • Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM)

  • Green Justice Coalition/Community Labor United (CLU)

  • Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH)

  • Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP)

  • Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC)

  • Massachusetts Workforce Alliance (MWA)

  • Youthbuild

Through a series of intensive Steering Committee Meetings, we brainstormed 120+potential ideas for ways to create a sustainable economy with the potential to create accessible jobs -- or career ladders to jobs -- that are safe and have family sustaining wages, while mitigating the effects of climate change. We narrowed our focus to three big arenas of interest where we believe jobs will emerge that meet our criteria: sustainable food systems, water management, and sustainable shelter. Here are some job creation possibilities in these arenas.

FOOD/Greening Food Systems: Laborers, Pipelayers/irrigation, Truck and tractor drivers, Community based educators, Restaurant liaison, CSA organizer, Nutrition educators, Brownfield remediators, Farmers, Marketers, Pest management technicians, Extension agents, Farm cooks, Green roofs for food production (designers, installers , repair people, and harvesters/ tenders), Vertical barn jobs, Fish farmers (including tenders, packers, shippers, facility operators, managers and waste managers),Distribution managers, Food security consultants, University and other institution liaisons, Package designers and packers, Composting professionals.

WATER MANAGEMENT JOBS: Green landscapers, Ditch diggers, Engineers, Project coordinators/managers, Safety officers, Union stewards, Crew chief, Laborers, Welders, Public health officials, Inspectors, green roofers, Water engineers, Conservation safety officers, Regulatory oversight, Extension worker (conservation education), Water auditor, Plant operator, Plant maintenance crew

ENERGY EFFICIENCY/CLEAN ENERGY ON PUBLIC BUILDINGS: Weatherization technician workers, Crew chiefs, Energy auditors, Lighting auditors, HVAC installers/technicians, Trainers, Engineers, Hers raters, Sales people, Carpenters, Plumbers, electricians, weatherization insulators/ caulkers/ etc., instructors for weatherization courses, community outreach workers, crew supervisors, DIY instructors, Community organizers.

To learn more you can contact: Deborah Mutschler: deborah@massworkforcealliance.org or Alex Risley Schroeder: alex@massworkforcealliance.org

History and Statement of Purpose

History

The Massachusetts Workforce Alliance (MWA) was originally formed in mid-2000 and became a coalition of ten practitioner coalitions representing over 400 Massachusetts community based, non-profit and other workforce development organizations. In 2007, MWA merged with one of its founding members, the Boston Workforce Development Coalition (BWDC),  and began accepting organizational and individual members in addition to the traditional coalition members. MWA is committed to working collaboratively with all organizations which initiate, support, administer, and implement policies and programs that expand resources to support effective education, training, and employment services for low income Massachusetts residents.

Statement of Purpose

MWA orginally came together as a response to the shift in government policy and public dialogue away from serving the poor, at the same time that there were dramatic changes in the economy and labor market. As a result, significant numbers of Massachusetts residents do not have a realistic opportunity of obtaining decent jobs with family sustaining wages. In addition, community based, non-profit organizations (CBOs) are particularly threatened in this environment, along with the communities they serve. MWA works to change this by clarifying what is happening in workforce development, demonstrating how current policies adversely affect many communities and employers, and working with low income communities towards long term solutions.

MWA Coalition Members

Our membership is made up of individuals, organizations and coalitions from across the state. Our coalition members include:

The Boston Youth Service Network (BYSN) is comprised of 23 Boston-based member organizations providing full-time educational services to youth ages 14 to 21 in an alternative classroom setting. The purpose of BYSPN is to support and promote educational services to out of school youth and at risk youth, and to strengthen the agencies, programs, and schools that supply full-time educational services to youth in pursuit of a high school diploma or a GED. (http://bysn.org/).

The Job Training Alliance of Massachusetts (JTA), founded in 1986, is an association of Boston CBOs and community college workforce development programs offering vocational training and job placement programs that prepare adults for successful entry or re-entry into the workforce. Alliance members are committed to working with those who have had the most difficulty and least success in entering the job market. The Alliance provides a monthly forum for discussing program and policy changes in the public workforce development system. Contact: Amy Nishman, (anishman@jvs-boston.org) http://www.jobtrainingalliance.org/.

The Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP) was founded to enhance the ability of each of its 25 member agencies to better serve its clients across the state as they strive to reduce poverty and its effects. MASSCAP's Education, Training, Employment, and Economic Development Committee works to increase members' knowledge and capacity in workforce development. Contact: Joe Diamond, 617-357-6086, joediamond@masscap.org, http://www.masscap.org/.

The Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) is the policy and capacity-building arm of the community development movement in Massachusetts. We support and advance the affordable housing, economic development, and community-building strategies of our 60+ members. We work to build the power of low and moderate income people to achieve greater economic, social, and racial justice. Contact: 617-426-0303, http://www.macdc.org/.

The Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education (MCAE) boasts more than 1,000 individual members across the state including educators, adult students, volunteers and others interested in promoting equal educational opportunities for adults. MCAE's primary purpose is to: (1) provide professional development opportunities for those who work in adult education; and (2) disseminate information regarding current and emerging adult basic education policies to its membership, policymakers, public officials, and the general public. MCAE's policy leadership is evidenced by a seven-fold increase in adult basic education funding, and a statewide network of well-informed and active advocates. Contact: http://www.mcae.net/.

The Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition is comprised of the 12 YouthBuild programs (and sponsoring non-profit agencies) in Massachusetts that are part of over 200 programs in 43 states. YouthBuild programs rebuild young peoples' lives while rebuilding communities. YouthBuild participants have built or renovated hundres of units of low-income housing, providing families with a quality home. YouthBuild programs are located in Attleboro, Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Fitchburg, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Quincy, Fall River, New Bedford, Springfield, and Worcester. Contact: Terry Moran, http://www.massyouthbuild.org/.

 

MWA Organization Members

MWA has organizational and individual members. The following organizations have joined us:

  • ABCD's LearningWorks
  • Amory Street Associates 
  • Asian American Civic Association
  • Boston Housing Authority
  • Boston Private Industry Council
  • Boston Youth Environmental Network
  • Central Mass Regional Employment Board
  • Crittenton Women's Union
  • Dorchester Bay EDC
  • Easter Seals Massachusetts 
  • International Institute of New England 
  • Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation
  • JCS
  • Jewish Vocational Services
  • Jobs for the Future
  • Massachusetts AFL-CIO
  • My Turn
  • Neighbor to Neighbor 
  • North Shore Community Action Programs
  • Notre Dame Educational Center of Lawrence
  • Operation ABLE
  • Partnership for a Skilled Workforce 
  • Project Hope
  • Quincy Community Action Program 
  • Roxbury Community College 
  • The Construction Institute 
  • Veterans Benefits Clearinghouse
  • Voices for Workplace Change
  • Work Results 
  • World Ed
  • YMCA Training, Inc.
  • Youthbuild Boston

MWA Trainings

Green Jobs Education Session: The Green Economy and Community Based Workforce Development Organizations: This 2.5 hour workshop will introduce the green economy and some of the growing industry sectors and explore the role that community based workforce development organizations can play. Participants will learn about different drivers of the green economy, including the state and federal policy context as well as the environmental context. We will review examples of programming being done by community based workforce development organizations in other regions.  Participation in the workshop provides participants with:

  • A working definition of the green economy, including relevant industry sectors and the jobs projected within them,
  • An understanding of the connection between climate change and green jobs ,
  • An overview of national, state and local policies/regulations that create opportunity,
  • Information on the role community based workforce development organizations are playing in other places in US ,
  • Opportunity to discuss practical and policy opportunities for MA workforce development community based organizations.

Workshop facilitator, Alex Risley Schroeder: Alex works with Mass Workforce Alliance on policy education and advocacy, particularly around the green economy and the opportunities it presents for low-income communities and the workforce development organizations that serve them. She also works as a green careers coach in western Massachusetts.


Know and Go: The Mass Workforce Alliance has developed a half-day advocacy training called Know and Go. Built on our PEER Project, Know and Go training helps frontline workforce development professionals to understand the current system and how their particular expertise is vital to the creation of good pubic policy. If you are interested in scheduling a Know and Go session, please contact Alex Risley Schroeder at: alex@massworkforcealliance.org.


PEER: MWA's PEER Project is a 12 hour training in three sessions. PEER builds the active engagement of community-based workforce development practitioners and program participants/graduates in policy issues - in order to build a stronger, more effective workforce development system. The project, launched in 2004, focuses on policy issues by: (1) educating and learning from practitioners; (2) building a policy advocacy network with the field; and (3) developing policy recommendations which reflect the needs of the field.

Overview of Peer Project

Policy Education, Engagement, & Response (PEER) Project

Policy - We focus on policies which shape and govern Massachusetts' public workforce development system. By policy, we mean the laws and government regulations which determine how workforce development services are designed and delivered, service eligibility, and funds available.

Education - We need more and clearer information on the workforce development system and public policies. The Massachusetts Workforce Alliance (MWA) is not trying to dictate how people think, but rather to provide information and help people to understand and apply their own experiences and perspectives to the realities of the workforce development system.

Engagement - Through PEER we form relationships with education and training practitioners across the state to engage in a dialogue about local challenges, the challenges which the system as a whole faces, and what we can all do about it.

Response - The central focus of PEER is identifying and discussing policy issues that participants see as impeding effective delivery of education, training, and employment services, and then developing recommendations on each issue.

MWA's PEER Project builds the active engagement of community-based workforce develop≠ment practitioners and program participants/graduates in policy issues - in order to build a stronger, more effective workforce development system. The project, launched in 2004, focuses on policy issues by:

(1) educating and learning from practitioners;

(2) building a policy advocacy network with the field; and

(3) developing policy recommendations which reflect the needs of the field.

As a result of the PEER Project, hundreds of practitioners will work with MWA to shape a coherent, broad based public policy agenda. MWA has trained Community Educators across the state -- workforce development practitioners trained to work with other practitioners to deepen understanding of the workforce development system, public policies, and advocacy options to deliver PEER in your area.

We have also developed a website which collects, organizes, and presents policy issues and recommendations identified by practitioners and others. To see the policy-fix ideas that others have contributed, or to add your own, click here.

To join the PEER Project, and welcome your questions and thoughts. To contact MWA call 413-586-1683 or email alex@massworkforcealliance.org. (March, 2005)

Summary of the PEER Training

The core of the PEER Project is an original and innovative three-session training in which Community Educators support small groups of workforce development practitioners to move from initial identification of their key policy concerns, to articulation of policy issues and solutions, to engagement in policy advocacy. Emphasis in the 6 to 8 hours of initial training is on (1) linking practitioners' "on-the-ground expertise" with the design, implementation, and improvement of Massachusetts' public workforce development policies; (2) increasing practitioners' confidence in their abilities in policy and advocacy arenas; and (3) crafting and implementing advocacy plans.

Session One

The first PEER Project Training Session provides practitioners with an overview of the Massachusetts workforce development system, including how workforce development policy is formed and the structure of the system. Community Educators assist practitioners to identify their key workforce development policy concerns. The first Session's format and structure support practitioners to articulate their policy concerns and solutions, and to understand who sets and administers these policies.

Session Two

The second PEER Project Training Session builds practitioners' understanding of their key policy concerns, especially how to consider options for policy change. The Session explores the elements of strategic and successful advocacy, and begins the development of a targeted, strategic advocacy plan for policy change.

Session Three

The third PEER Project Training Session supports practitioners to advocate for the policy change(s) that they've identified, articulated, and strategized about. This Session results in a workplan for implementing advocacy. The Session also focuses on increasing participants' skill and comfort with advocating through viewing and discussing a video developed by MWA and through role play exercises, and ends with agreement between participants and Community Educators about additional support from MWA for their advocacy work.

For more information about the PEER Project, please contact Alex Risley Schroeder at 413-586-1683 or alex@massworkforcealliance.org.