While the Commonwealth’s workforce is among the best educated, a high concentration are aging and our younger workforce is neither large enough nor well enough educated to replace those who will soon retire.
Add to that the substantial wait list for vocational schools and it’s evident significant gaps exist between workforce preparedness of that generation and the demands of the labor market and employers.
This conundrum was the impetus for the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce’s BV Ed Hub. A training center in Whitinsville, the BV Ed Hub is equipped with design, fabrication, and computing equipment and supports 13 public high schools as well as the Grafton Jobs Corp. Classes introduce students to lucrative career paths in advanced manufacturing.
Recently, the Blackstone Valley Chamber and the BV Ed Hub received substantial grants in support of its mission to slove this issue. Monetary awards include a $565,000 Skills Capital grant (2018- 2019); a $95,000 U.S. Chamber of Commerce award supporting remote learning technology (2019- 2020); an $80,000 Mass Growth Capital Corporation grant offering technical assistance, training sessions, and counseling to small businesses (2020); a $169,000 Regional Economic Development Organizational grant from the MA Office of Business Development shared with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce to promote economic development (2020); and a 2020 $112,000 grant from the Commonwealth Corporation to partner with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department on an inmate re-entry training program.
A core tenant of the Blackstone Valley Chamber’s work is to secure jobs, with living wages, to help local residents afford the high cost of living in Massachusetts.
Jeannie Hebert is the President and CEO of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce. If you have any questions, please contact Emily Gowdey-Backus via email.