Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants to Design Career Programs to Advance English Proficiency and Financial Stability in the Workforce

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that Catholic Charities of Boston's El Centro ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program is the recipient of a Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly Workforce Success Grant for ESOL-Enhanced Training and Placement Programs.  Please see the release below for detail: 

 

MassachusettsToday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly Workforce Success Grants for ESOL-Enhanced Training and Placement Programs. These grants will support workforce programming that better serves individuals for whom English is not their first language and/or have limited English proficiency, resulting in improved job access and financial stability for individuals and their families while meeting employer demand for talent.

“English proficiency not only opens doors to jobs for immigrants, but it is also a gateway to economic opportunity for all,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “Investing in ESOL training today leads to a more productive workforce in the future and will ultimately expand the growth of local and regional economies.”

This round of Donnelly Workforce Success Grants is a part of an ongoing strategy given persistent racial inequities and related workforce challenges in the Commonwealth, and in the context of rapidly shifting economic conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative is intended to support pilot programs that will leverage learning from previous WCTF programming and ongoing best practices in ESOL educational services to reach populations who have traditionally experienced higher rates of unemployment and barriers to employment, including populations emphasized by the Black Advisory Commission and Latino Advisory Commission.

“Working towards an equitable workforce has been one of the top priorities of our administration,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. “We’re confident that these training programs will continue to break down barriers that impede members of our community.

The award recipients will work with Commonwealth Corporation to design or re-design a training and placement program that incorporates English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Outcomes include improved job access, higher wages, and meeting employer hiring needs.

“Being an immigrant from Cuba, I know first-hand the importance of learning English and how difficult it can be,” said Secretary Rosalin Acosta. “These programs make it easier for people who come to America seeking a better life. In order to achieve equitable economic growth, our workforce needs their tremendous talents and cultural contributions.”

The WCTF is administered by Commonwealth Corporation on behalf of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. In 2018, the Massachusetts Legislature voted to rename grant awards from the WCTF in memory of the late Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly, who spent his career promoting workforce opportunities for people who might lack a pathway to economic stability. Donnelly Workforce Success Grants serve people across Massachusetts whose life experiences and circumstances make it difficult for them to succeed in employment without targeted support.

“These trainings ultimately produce bilingual or multi-lingual candidates who will join or rejoin the Massachusetts workforce,” said Commonwealth Corporation President and CEO Christine Abrams. “Having proficiency in multiple languages in addition to English is an incredibly asset in the workplace, and we look forward to partnering with these program teams to strengthen the Commonwealth’s workforce and local communities.”

The Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly Workforce Success Grants in this round of funding are awarded to:

  • Catholic Charities (DBA El Centro)
    • Will develop training and placement services for Commonwealth residents to obtain IT computer user support specialist jobs in the Greater Boston region, with a focus on Boston.
    • Employer partners include: Logically, First Republic Bank, Softworld Inc., and FishBuffalo Inc.
    • Additional partners include: MassHire Boston Workforce Board, MassHire Downtown Boston Career Center, MassHire Boston Career Center, Operation ABLE, Year Up, and Tech Goes Home.
  • City of Worcester Public Schools
    • Will develop training and placement services for Commonwealth residents to obtain certified welder jobs in the Central Massachusetts region, with a focus on Worcester.
    • Employer partners include: Worcester Manufacturing and Package Steel Systems, Inc.
    • Additional partners include: Adult Learning Center, MassHire Central Region Workforce Board, MassHire Central Career Center, Worcester Jobs Fund
      Ironworkers Local 7, and the Joint Apprentice Committee.
  • English for New Bostonians
    • Will develop training and placement services for Commonwealth residents to obtain food manufacturing jobs in the Greater Boston region, with a focus on Boston and Chelsea.
    • Employer partners include: Boston Baking Company and My Grandmas of New England.
    • Additional partners include: MassHire Boston Workforce Board, MassHire Boston Career Center Boston, MassHire Downtown Boston Career Center, MassHire Metro North Career Center - Chelsea, Mass Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and the Boston Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development.
  • MassHire Merrimack Valley Workforce Board
    • Will develop training and placement services for Commonwealth residents to obtain machine operator jobs in the Merrimack Valley region, with a focus on Lawrence, Methuen, and Haverhill.
    • Employer partners include: 99 Degrees, and JSB Industries/Muffin Town
    • Additional partners include: The Lawrence Partnership, Greater Lawrence Technical School, Merrimack Valley Workforce Board, Merrimack Valley Career Center, and Greater Lawrence Technical School.
  • University of Massachusetts – Amherst
    • Will develop training and placement services for Commonwealth residents to obtain culinary worker jobs in the Western Massachusetts and Merrimack Valley regions, with a focus on Springfield and Lawrence.
    • Employer partners include: University of MA, Smith College, Westfield State College, City of Lawrence Public Schools, and the City of Springfield Public Schools in partnership with Sodexo.
    • Additional partners include: The Partnership for Worker Education, MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Investment Board, MassHire Greenfield Career Center, MassHire Holyoke Career Center, Massachusetts AFL-CIO, AFSCME Local 1776, AFSCME Local 1067, SEIU Local 211, Food and Commercial Workers Local 1459, and DESE School Nutrition.          

The five program design grants represent an initial investment of $125,000. Program design grants will be awarded for approximately four months, followed by program implementation grants of up to 2 years for an additional combined total of up to $1,675,000; grants are not re-occurring.

                                                                         ###