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Worcester to Benefit from $4 Million From US Dept. of Labor

Sunday, March 04, 2012

 

The Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP) announced that the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded MassMEP and the Workforce Development and Educational $4 million. The grant will be used to fund MassMEP’s More Skilled Workers program, a service designed to give jobs to American workers first, ahead of H-1B visa holders.

The funding will be used by the More Skilled Workers program to focus on 960 participants. The program's services include career seminars and resume assistance for all program participants. In addition, 216 degreed/accredited workers will be given training, placement, and mentoring for specific jobs / careers in advanced manufacturing. The program is based on the success of a job training and placement program facilitated by MassMEP. The program successfully placed over 1,000 workers in manufacturing jobs over the past several years.

Custom Designed Training

The training program is custom designed for each employer and involves multiple phases, including training for the equipment being used as well as training for the employees who will operate the equipment. Trainees will be certified and receive mentoring to develop a career blueprint. One of the grant requirements is that the jobs will be identified prior to the start of the training program.

“The goal of this jobs program is to provide well qualified employees to manufacturers who are ready to hire, and to eliminate reliance on foreign workers,” stated Jack Healy, Director of Operations MassMEP. “The Massachusetts More Skilled Workers program is a solution to the dearth of qualified workers for advanced manufacturing jobs that are ready to be filled here in this state.”

Jobs & Skilled Workers

The goal is to build capacity by creating qualified workers. To accomplish that, MassMEP and its partners will work closely with communities to (1) Identify the skills needed by local high-tech and advanced manufacturing companies; (2) Identify the occupations that have the strongest demand for additional skilled workers, (3) Provide technical skills training and individualized career pathways to unemployed, underemployed and transitioning workers through mobile services; and (4) Offer on-the-job training and mentoring to ensure success for the employee and employer.

“As we continue to emerge from the recession, we need to do a better job of matching American workers with the opportunities that do exist – especially in areas like advanced manufacturing,” Rep. Jim McGovern said. “MassMEP is a national model in this work, and I commend the Department of Labor for this significant funding.”

“Targeted programs such as this are crucial as the Partick-Murray Administration seeks to train workers for middle-skills jobs,” said Joanne Goldstein, Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development. “We’re very excited by the news of the grant and look forward to seeing its impact through MassMEP’s work.”

About the H-1B Grant Program

The H-1B grant has been funded through fees paid by employers to bring foreign workers into the U.S. under the H-1B program. The grants are intended to raise the technical skill levels of American workers and, over time, help businesses reduce their need to use the H-1B program. The grants will provide education, training and job placement assistance related to high-growth fields in which employers are currently using H-1B non immigrant visa program to hire foreign workers.


 

 

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