The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced more than $355,000 in Scaling Capacity and Leveraging Employers (SCALE) Planning Grant awards for 13 initiatives to support economic recovery, growth objectives, and workforce strategies across the state, with a focus on aligning public and private resources to create education-to-employment pathways.

Labor and Workforce Development officials joined local officials, representatives of the Commonwealth Corporation, and program participants to announce the awards at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The organization received $3.5 million to increase access to care while diversifying the behavioral health/human services workforce and providing meaningful career opportunities for BIPOC, Latinx, immigrant, and refugee workers and job seekers.

“The entire Healey-Driscoll Administration is focused on driving equity within our workforce and training workers for high-demand skillsets that employees and employers both need to succeed,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Lauren Jones. “Organizations like these are critical to achieving our goals, and this grant will help them make a significant and positive impact on the community they serve. I congratulate them on receiving this SCALE grant and look forward to working with them as they begin to implement their initiative.”

The SCALE Planning grants, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and administered by Commonwealth Corporation (CommCorp), target effective partnerships that address the priorities of the Massachusetts Workforce Skills Cabinet (WSC), including investing in high-demand occupations, supporting chronically under and unemployed individuals, and fostering business engagement to develop talent pipelines.

The following is a list of the 13 grant recipients, totaling $355,183:

Berkshire Medical Center, Pittsfield: $24,838

Berkshire Medical Center will solidify the pipeline for Licensed Practical Nurses and Associate degreed Registered Nurses in Berkshire County. We will meet and create a dialog with educational organizations (Berkshire Community College & McCann Technical) to identify current roadblocks and bottlenecks and develop creative solutions to those problems. At the end of this planning grant, they will construct a reliable approach that addresses the RN/LPN.

Boston Engineering, Waltham: $29,953

Boston Engineering will standardize delivery of Applied Design for eXcellence (DFX) training to reduce costs and make this offering more accessible to small and medium-sized businesses as they are looking to build capability within their engineering and manufacturing teams.

Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Centerville: $10,129

Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce will use these funds to: organize a Cape-based Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training program. This will include securing a training location, working with MassHire Cape & Islands Career Center, and working with local employers to formalize business participation guidelines in the training program, including how unemployed trainees will be matched with employers.

Cultivate Pathways (NOPI), Norwood: $29,975

Cultivate Pathways (NOPI) will build capacity to secure employer partners and define training curriculum that focuses on training bilingual talent for high-growth and high-pay jobs in the tech sector.

Entrepreneurial and Business Collaborative, Springfield: $29,770.50

Entrepreneurial and Business Collaborative will use these funds to build upon the critical life skills necessary for employees to maintain successful careers within the hospitality sector and plan to further develop and customize existing programming that considers the socio-economic realities that resonate with members of their community.

Franklin Hampshire Employment and Training Consortium, Greenfield: $29,988.20

Franklin Hampshire Employment and Training Consortium will work with employer partners to provide scale opportunities in several career pathways in food and beverage. These opportunities include moving from front end staff (i.e., wait staff) to general manager or from a line cook to head chef, are just a few examples. Participants may also explore career pathways into opening their own restaurants, food trucks, or other culinary-related businesses.

Greenfield Community College, Greenfield: $27,864

Greenfield Community College will scale up a current (Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) /Home Health Aide (HHA) training program to adapt curriculum and include supports for ESOL.

Imaginal Group, Methuen: $29,645

Imaginal Group will explore innovative career opportunities and positions for certified teachers in EEC, that are meant to provide curriculum, administrative or workforce development support to the centers they work in and adapt a train-the-trainer paradigm, allowing participants to become curriculum experts and bring their expertise to other teachers at their centers.

MassMEP, Auburn: $29,992

MassMEP will enhance current manufacturing curriculum with more content related to the partner employer needs and will also be translated into Spanish and Portuguese. The training will be made available online and offered across Massachusetts.

MassMEP, Auburn: $29,990

MassMEP will establish training content related to Automation. They will further investigate and collaborate with technical community college programs, chambers of commerce, universities, and other MEP centers to leverage current practices and teachings and bring a collaborative approach to developing an automation training program for the Massachusetts workforce.

Polus Center, Athol: $25,000

Polus Center will expand its six-week Human Services program to include additional training on autism services that will develop a pipeline of certified Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs).

UMass Boston (Collins Ctr), Boston: $28,072.67

The Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at UMass Boston will scale an existing training program to expand the pool of candidates of municipal assessors for the Commonwealth’s cities and towns.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Worcester: $29,966

Worcester Polytechnic Institute will build a coalition of industry-based partners and workforce stakeholders that will plan, coordinate, and scale-up existing training programs within the Biomanufacturing Technology Center (BETC). They will collaborate and strategize to improve curriculum, guide programmatic elements for student support, help employers identify and specify desired skills requirements, provide job placement opportunities, and build an effective marketing and recruitment strategy that promotes this rapidly growing industry.

For more information about the SCALE Planning Grants and additional funding opportunities on the CommCorp website: https://commcorp.org/funding/