Workforce development contributing to economic success in western Massachusetts

4,900 people are currently unemployed in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The current unemployment rate in Massachusetts is 4.2 percent, but in Springfield it’s almost double that with nearly 4,900 people unemployed.

One executive office is working to change this.

Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Rosalin Acosta told 22News that workforce development is a major component to the regions economic success..

Acosta told 22News skill gaps often make finding the perfect candidate difficult.

But through workforce training grants and apprenticeship programs, she said people will be given the tools they need to succeed in the workplace.

“Right now we’ve got about 9,000 apprentices in the state of Massachusetts but mostly just in the building trades,” said Acosta. “What we’re looking to do is expand that initiative because we know that we need to diversify the industries on that.”

The President of Springfield Technical Community College said this is a great time to find work in Springfield, especially with the addition of MGM Springfield and possibility of Amazon’s second headquarters being built here.

“MGM obviously is tremendous, and we’re excited about our partnership with Holyoke Community College to build up a casino training institute,” said Cook.

The Baker administration also recently expanded job opportunities by awarding more than 120 Massachusetts companies with over $11 million in workforce training fund grants.

Some of these companies are in western Massachusetts.

The grants are projected to create 1,000 new jobs and train roughly 7,000 workers.