Commonwealth Corporation, on behalf of the Baker-Polito Administration, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, and the Workforce Skills Cabinet, has awarded its first Replenishing Employer iNvestment in Education & Workforce Training (RENEW) Demonstration Grant to the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges, in the amount of $366,700.
“Part of the Workforce Skills Cabinet’s overall upskilling strategy, RENEW is a new funding model pilot that provides a sustainable pathway for individuals to access high-quality training and job placement programs that fill in-demand occupations,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The concept of RENEW is to invest public resources in programs that encourage employers to help replenish the fund, allowing for its sustainability over time.”
Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the RENEW grant will be applied to the Be Mass Competitive workforce training initiative, a joint program of the Massachusetts Association of Community College (MACC) and the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP). Be Mass Competitive workforce initiative participants will receive specialized training through Bunker Hill Community College, on-the-job training, and career placement services. The program is available at no cost to participants, and stipends will be provided.
“Programs like Be Mass Competitive are an example of a community collaboration that truly helps the unemployed and underemployed,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. “This program seeks to both support and advance the successes of those within underserved communities by providing upwardly-mobile career pathways at MACP companies, including Wayfair, Vertex, and Boston Scientific.”
Such participating companies are committed to building a diverse workforce and addressing equity in employment opportunities. By allocating job vacancies to successful trainees, program participants have a clear goal to work toward–employment that offers higher wages and more security.
“As the Commonwealth begins to focus on pandemic recovery, our community colleges are uniquely positioned to partner with businesses to help train a skilled workforce,” said Nate Mackinnon, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges. “We are grateful to Commonwealth Corporation and the Baker-Polito Administration for the funds to support this important work.”
“This innovative public-private model will ensure sustainable investment in building a human capital pipeline in critical, high-demand occupations,” said Secretary of Education James Peyser. “Equally important, it matches training programs with real employer needs, so that graduates can move directly into the workforce.”
The RENEW Demonstration Grant offers awards of up to $2 million to community partnerships that must include at least one training provider and one employer partner. Eligible lead applicants must have experience and existing capacity to recruit, train, support, and broker job opportunities for job seekers.
“Training a skilled workforce is critical to maintaining the Commonwealth’s economic competitiveness, and through this RENEW grant, the Be Mass Competitive program will play a major role in our strategy of expanding access to new career opportunities, especially for people from communities that are traditionally underrepresented,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “I want to congratulate the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges and the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership for developing this innovative approach and we encourage all of the business leaders and innovative companies that power our economy to take advantage of the Workforce Skills Cabinet’s offerings, including RENEW.”
RENEW is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The application process is rolling and open to new applicants. Learn more and apply here: https://commcorp.org/available-funding/
About Commonwealth Corporation:
Commonwealth Corporation is a quasi-public workforce development agency that strengthens the skills of Massachusetts youth and adults by investing in innovative partnerships with industry, education, and workforce organizations.