Lawmakers collaborate with education and business communities on workforce development

Committee on Labor and Workforce Development holds Education Pathways to Success event

BOSTON (WWLP)—Lawmakers plan to develop partnerships with the education and business communities to help students find jobs when the get out of school.

Dozens of representatives from vocational schools, community colleges and businesses gathered at the State House Wednesday for the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development’s Education Pathways to Success event. Lawmakers hope the event will help forge new partnerships between government, education and business.

“We kind of need everyone at the table for long term job security so that businesses are getting what they want so employees are getting the best jobs they can get,” State Rep. Paul Brodeur (D-Melrose) said.

Superintendent Andrew Linkenhoker of Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton came to Boston for the event. The high school allows students to explore a wide range of careers including construction, manufacturing, agriculture and even culinary arts.

“Specifically in Northampton, we have a very large agricultural contingency-a lot of farms, a lot of businesses looking for ag and we’re really the only ag program in western Mass.,” Linkenhoker told 22News. “We struggle sometimes finding teachers for our students.”

This comes at a time when Massachusetts has a relatively low unemployment rate, but the state struggles to reduce the workforce skills gap in Massachusetts.

“Collaborating with folks in various parts of workforce development are very important in trying to find solutions that will improve the pipeline of workers for the future,” David Ferreira, Executive Director of Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators, said.

The state plans to announce $225,000 in grants for culinary workforce training in Springfield Thursday.