The value of incumbent worker training is being recognized by high profile policymakers and business and labor leaders. President Obama referenced the importance of incumbent worker training in his April 25, 2015 address on the proposed US trade deal. Furthermore, a published report by the New England Council and Deloitte highlights the value of incumbent worker training in keeping the manufacturing industry alive in New England. As the economy improves and businesses shift from survival mode to a renewed focus on growth strategies, it’s important to recognize the necessity of investing in the skills of their workforce.
Massachusetts businesses and workers are fortunate to have a unique, dedicated resource available for investment in training. The Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund Program (the WTFP), provides cash grants to employers to support skills upgrading training programs for their employees. This year more than $20 million in WTFP grants will be awarded to Massachusetts businesses of all sizes to train more than 12,000 workers. While the WTFP puts a priority on upgrading the skills of front line staff, it can also support training for mid-level managers or members of the executive team. The beauty of the WTFP is that as long as they’re on the payroll, they’re eligible to be trained through the WTFP.
Massachusetts businesses are consistently leveraging the Fund to upskill their workforce in order to increase productivity, performance and customer satisfaction. Commodore Builders of Newton, recently named by the Boston Business Journal as one of the best places to work in Massachusetts, leveraged a Workforce Training Fund grant to provide negotiation skills training to front-facing customer service and on-site construction staff. As a result of the training, Commodore was able to improve profitability by 15%, reduce project time by 43% and create 54 new jobs due to increased business.
Kayem Foods, a nationally recognized food distributor known for their ‘Fenway Frank’ leveraged a Workforce Training Fund grant to provide English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and supervisory skills training to front-line production workers. Communication improvements directly resulting from the training ultimately led to promotional opportunities for production workers, a dramatic increase in employee retention and better quality control, which resulted in an 8% increase in customer satisfaction and access to new markets.
Investing in your workforce is the smartest way to invest in your business. In addition to improving morale and providing more opportunities for your workers, training builds skills that lead to increased efficiency, productivity and profits. Just ask Kayem and Commodore.
The Workforce Training Fund is a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and is administered by Commonwealth Corporation.