In each edition, Chamber Exchange: The Newspaper includes one question-and-answer-style interview with a Chamber member who’s making a change in the community. This month, I sat down with Arianna Drummy, the new director of the Worcester Jobs Fund (WJF).

WJF was created to better connect Worcester residents with good jobs made available through development projects and job expansion activities. The effort prepares residents for employment in viable long-term career pathways where there is an immediate workforce need by providing free job training programs, job recruitment, and related services. WJF is administratively housed within the MassHire Central Region Workforce Board and guided by a committee of representatives from the MassHire Central Career Centers, Worcester Community Labor Coalition, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Worcester Public Schools.

Ms. Drummy took over in late-December of 2021, still in the midst of an ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and at a time when so many of the nation’s employers—Worcester not immune— have been struggling to find employees and fill open positions. Below are excerpts from the interview with Ms. Drummy, edited for length and clarity.

Arianna, you just started this new position with Worcester Jobs Fund—welcome aboard! What prior experience do you have and what made you pursue and accept this position? 

I went to college for youth development and studied nonprofit studies as well. After I graduated, I was on track to become a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst), but after that experience I figured out I wanted to work with young adults. I started working as a case manager out in the Berkshires with young adults who had learning differences like autism. And that was great work, but it was a for-profit company and I really wanted to get back to nonprofit work since that’s what my background is in. So, I was looking for a new opportunity and Jeff Turgeon [Executive Director of MassHire Central Region Workforce Board], actually, told me about the Worcester Jobs Fund and explained the amazing work it does: the programs, the projects, and how it helps Worcester residents get these viable long-term careers. I thought that was such a unique workforce position and I wanted to take on a new challenge, get back to my roots, and help underrepresented populations get great jobs. It just felt like a natural next step and I’ve been really happy and excited to be here!

For readers unfamiliar, what are some of the training and certificate programs the WJF has historically offered?

We’ve had CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) A and B programs. We’re currently wrapping up our Building Pathways Pre-Apprenticeship program—that’s for the trades. We’re also wrapping up a Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) cohort. We’ve had medical administrative assistant programs, school bus trainings, and right now we’re recruiting for our upcoming Coding Dojo technology program which is very exciting—that will help students who want to learn coding software take that class and then be able to get a really good job in a lucrative career field.

Of course, you’re still new to the job so I imagine you’re still spending a lot of time trying to get acquainted, but when you’re more settled, what will your day-to-day responsibilities look like?

It depends on where I’m at with the program. Right now, I’m doing a lot of outreach and recruitment. So the cycle is first: outreach and recruitment, then I’m helping walk those trainees through the application process. Then once they’re in the program, I’m providing that case management to make sure they feel supported and can finish and commit to the program—because that’s the goal. Then it doesn’t end once they’re done with the program. I’m going to be helping them with the job search, resumé writing, and job placement. And even after that, I’m going to be following up to make sure they’re doing well and they’ve been placed in a job. So it’s really a wrap-around approach, and I want to make sure they feel supported the whole time.

I can tell you’re very passionate about the work you’re doing. Is there a particular training or field you’re looking to prioritize or expand? And what’s your number one goal for WJF?

One of the trainings I’m extremely passionate about and definitely want to prioritize is the Building Pathways program—specifically looking to get more women into trade work. This is a huge challenge; women make up only about 3% of the construction population, so we definitely want to even the playing field and make sure that we diversify that workforce with people of color and women. Lots of work to be done there.

My number one goal is to have a high success rate in terms of placement. We want at least 85 – 90% of students who go through these trainings placed at a job when they graduate—and not any job, but a job where they can grow and have a good, long-term career. With that, it’s a responsibility [for me] to provide great case management to help them overcome any barriers they may have.

What programs are you actively recruiting for right now? And where can people go for more info?

We’re currently recruiting for our upcoming Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) program. That’s a 16-week program which includes classroom instruction and an externship, then they take the national exam to become a CMA. We’re also recruiting for a new Coding Dojo technology program; that’s completely online and a 16-week program. Worcester residents receive a $5,000 stipend. That will start mid-March. And we’re recruiting for an Environmental Remediation program; this is a great program for someone who loves hands-on work and doesn’t mind getting dirty. It involves asbestos removement, which is very important, especially in Worcester. There’s a lot of need for this particular area. Worcester residents will receive $200 a week in stipend. We’ll have five cohorts, but that one starts in April. In the future, we’ll be offering another CDL permit class and school bus driver training program. 

To find out more, go to Under ‘Training Resources,’ there’ll be a list of all the upcoming trainings. You can also email me,, or call me at 508.373.7641.


Dominique Goyette-Connerty is the Director of Communications at the Worcester Chamber. She can be reached by email here.

This story was originally published in the February 2022 edition of Chamber Exchange: The Newspaper, a quarterly publication of the Chamber. All newspaper editions are archived here.