Secretary Bump Announces Trust Fund Grants

Boston, MA (CompNewsNetwork) – Suzanne M. Bump, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development is pleased to announce several grants from the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF). “This initiative has focused on several critical industry sectors, and was designed to assist a broad range of residents,” said Secretary Bump. The Secretary said that the programs associated with the awards are aimed at older workers, low-wage workers, low-income individuals, disabled citizens, vulnerable youth, incumbent workers and the unemployed. She added: “Our goal is to help these populations gain access to employment, education, and the skills necessary to move forward along a career path leading to economic self-sufficiency. Today's announcement covers several 2008 grants that were awarded in critical sectors.”

A $50,000 grant was awarded to Northeastern University with Cambridge Health Alliance as the employer and partners include the Massachusetts Nursing Association and the Massachusetts Laborer's District Council Local 381. These organizations are working together in the healthcare sector in areas of emergency, geriatric and psychiatric medicine.  As demographics shift and elderly care needs increase, and as the demands for emergency and psychiatric care continue to be placed on public hospitals, this project will provide 155 participants with specialty nursing certificates, a College Readiness Certificate program, and basic education to entry level workers who need to build toward taking college-level prerequisite courses.

The $499,991 grant awarded to the Building & Construction Trades Council focuses on the construction sector with an emphasis on apprenticeship preparedness for a variety of trades and includes 420 participants. The employer partners are Walsh Bros, Inc., William Berry & Son, Suffolk Construction, and other partners include, the Women in the Building Trades, Massachusetts AFL-CIO, the Boston Mayor's Office of Jobs & Community Services, Building Trades Training Directors Association, The Construction Institute, Boston CareerLink Career Center, and The Work Place Career Center.

The 21st Century Building Trades Apprenticeship Preparedness Program's key feature is the pre-employment program designed to provide basic adult education, occupational training, and career coaching.  This initiative delivers a direct step for participants to enter into a career path in the building and construction trades through post secondary joint labor-management apprenticeship training programs, where a system of classroom and on-the-job training enables workers to obtain industry-recognized credentials, family sustaining wages and benefits, valuable skills that are transferable, and economic security, while at the same time helping to meet the demand for a skilled construction workforce in the Greater Metro Boston Region.

A grant of $475,000 was awarded to the Utility Workers Union of America Local No. 369 focusing on the utilities sector in Metro Boston and the Southeast. The High Road Energy Project will address the current and projected shortage of skilled utility workers in the energy industry through two tracks:  expanding the Electric Power Utility Technology Program and creating the Utility Laborer Training which will establish a new entry level position for all participating employers. Both tracks will incorporate a mentoring and coaching component. There will be 180 participants. The employers are NSTAR Electric and Gas Company, ElecComm Corporation, CCS Utility Environmental, Underground Utility Construction, Inc., Utility Resource Solutions, and other partners include the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

The Central MA YWCA received a grant of $343,905 to assist 100 teachers in their early childhood program. Providers of early education and care in the Worcester area employ more than 1,000 full and part time teachers who daily care for children in the important early years of life.  In order for programs such as the Central MA YMCA to continue meeting accreditation standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), as well as state funded programs such as the Universal Pre-K (UPK) program, they must hire teachers with Bachelors and Associates Degrees. The goal of this workforce development program is to create a pool of qualified employees within the industry and among current high school students attracted to the industry who are matriculating toward associate and bachelor degrees in early childhood education and related fields. The employers are the YWCA of Central MA, Guild of St. Agnes, Worcester Comprehensive Child Care Services, and Rainbow Child Development Center. Other partners include - Edward Street Child Services, Worcester Community Action Council, Colleges of Worcester Consortium, Inc., Quinsigamond Community College, Becker College, and Worcester State College.

The $474,634 for the 1199 Service Employees International Union Training and Upgrade Fund will help 35 people in the healthcare sector seeking Respiratory Therapist's Associates Degrees in the Metro Boston region. This project has a comprehensive plan to address labor shortages amongst all partners 1199SEIU TUF, Boston Medical Center, Quincy Medical Center, Radius Specialty, 1199SEIU, AFSCME L. 1489, Boston PIC, and the South Coastal Workforce Initiative Board, while at the same time creating a program that assists lesser-skilled healthcare workers obtain a post-secondary credential in Respiratory Therapy. The partnership has a strong model of a labor-management workforce development initiative.  The employers are Boston Medical Center, Radius Specialty, Quincy Medical Center, and Massasoit Community College.

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