MA gets closer to workforce funding win.

July 24, 2012

Skills2Compete-MA, led by SkillWorks in Boston, has been hard at work over the past two years trying to pass the Middle Skills Solutions Act (SB 921/HB 2713), state legislation that would support the alignment of labor market information, pathways and bridge programs, and regional sector-based solutions to address the middle-skills gap in Massachusetts. Part of their funding request included a recapitalization of the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF), a sector-based training fund that was originally financed in 2006 with $18 million in state funds, which have since been depleted. 

This past week, the Massachusetts Jobs Bill (SB 2350) passed the full Senate with a $5 million dollar appropriation for WCTF from the general fund, as well as adopting much of the middle skill language from the Middle Skills Solutions Act. You can read more about this in Senate President Therese Murray’s press release on the bill. This progress has been in large part due to the persistent efforts of Skills2Compete-MA and one of their key legislative champions, Senator Ken Donnelly, also the lead Senate sponsor of the Middle Skills Solutions Act. 

While much needs to be done in conference, this vote was a huge step forward in providing Massachusetts workers with additional resources for workforce training. Over the next couple of weeks, Skills2Compete-MA members will reach out to House legislators thanking them for their commitment to WCTF and asking them to match the Senate strategy of using general fund dollars.