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Mayor Walsh, Office of Workforce Development devote $2.4 million in Neighborhood Jobs Trust funds to emergency workforce support, tech training for residents

Jun 10, 2020

Distributed funds will address the needs of Boston’s workforce impacted by COVID-19

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development today announced the dedication of $2.4 million in Neighborhood Jobs Trust (NJT) funds to address the pressing needs of Boston’s workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. These needs include educational and financial support for college students, remote learning assistance for English language learners, re-training for hospitality and restaurant workers who lost jobs due to the pandemic, and continued funding for community-based organizations that are crucial to Boston’s long-term economic recovery. The NJT funds will also support training programs to help job-seekers enter tech sector job openings as cybersecurity analysts, computer support specialists, application developers, IT business analysts, and network field engineers.

“Supporting our students, workers, and community-based organizations that are re-training our workforce to be ready for the economy post-COVID-19 is crucial for Boston's equitable, long-term recovery," said Mayor Walsh. "Leveraging funding from new development to invest in job training and job placement was our priority before COVID-19, and it will continue to be a priority so that all of residents have opportunities to succeed."

The Neighborhood Jobs Trust is a public charitable trust that funds education and job training programs for low- and middle-income Boston residents. The Trust is replenished by linkage fees paid by developers of large-scale commercial projects in Boston. Since 2014, new development approved by the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) is generating over $75 million in linkage fees, with $61.6 million to support affordable housing and $13.5 million to support job training.

Since the start of the pandemic, NJT has issued more than $500,000 in emergency grants to nonprofit organizations that provide front-line support to Boston’s workforce. For example, BEST Hospitality Training – which traditionally trains workers for Boston’s hotel industry – is pivoting to train job-seekers for environmental services positions in healthcare settings. Another nonprofit, Tech Goes Home, is using NJT funds to help adult education and ESOL English programs transition to remote learning by providing technical training to instructors and laptops to students.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen how quickly low wage work, language barriers and historic systems of exclusion have exacerbated income inequality in our communities and neighborhood,” said Lisette Le, executive director of VietAID, an emergency grant recipient. “As our organization responded to addressing basic needs – food insecurity, support with unemployment – with support from NJT, we also saw it as an opportunity to provide workforce training to those who were unemployed and underemployed because of COVID-19.”

NJT has also devoted nearly $30,000 to an emergency fund for Tuition-Free Community College (TFCC) Plan students struggling to continue their spring semester due to financial or educational challenges brought on by the pandemic. Approximately half of all TFCC students applied for support to help with college completion. Nearly two-thirds of the applicants indicated that they or their family had experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19.

“I am super thankful and blessed for the emergency funds that I received because it helped me finish up this semester when I didn’t think I could,” said Shayne Clinton, a student at Bunker Hill Community College.

Last year, NJT funded 23 community-based organizations that provide low-income Boston residents with job training and support services. The Trust is committing $1.27 million to level-fund these programs in order to support their work, stabilize their budgets, and ensure they can continue to serve the City’s growing number of job-seekers.

This year, the Trust is distributing more than $550,000 to 12 organizations that will train residents for careers in the tech sector, Boston’s second largest industry. The programs, selected through an open Request for Proposals (RFP) process this spring, employ unique designs to confer particular technical training. Resilient Coders, for example, teaches software development skills to low-income people of color in a coding bootcamp environment that emphasizes communication, collaboration, and networking. Another grantee, Apprenti, prepares tech trainees from under-represented populations for paid, registered apprenticeships with local employers.

“This funding from the Neighborhood Jobs Trust will provide the opportunity to train more Black and Brown young adults as full stack software developers and connect them with tech jobs in which the average starting salary of our last class was $98,200,” said David Delmar, executive director of Resilient Coders. “The Trust’s funding will significantly impact the lives of Black and Brown men and women and their families, and help reduce Boston’s income inequality.”

A comprehensive list of NJT tech training grantees can be found below.

FY21 NJT Tech Training Grantees

Organization Funding Program Description

Apprenti

$85,562

Technical training culminating in registered IT/technology apprenticeships with employer partners

CodeSquad

$90,000

Training program focused on software development

Fenway Community Development Corporation

$25,000

Recruitment program to connect job fair attendees who have tech-related skills to ongoing training programs

Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens

$25,000

Training in the QuickBase database application for individuals returning from incarceration

Mujeres Unidas Avanzando

$25,000

Training in desktop support for English language learners

Per Scholas

$92,000

Computer service technician training program leading to CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications

Resilient Coders

$95,000

Coding bootcamp that recruits people of color and people who identify as female/non-binary

Roxbury Community College

$20,000

Training in green building maintenance technology

St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children

$25,000

Technology training component for [email protected], a job readiness program for women with multiple barriers to employment

STRIVE program of BPS and Wentworth Institute of Technology

$25,000

Technology training for young adults with disabilities

Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts

$50,000

Training in software development and web development


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