MA report needs increased investment in workforce training / Public News Service

Technology is changing many industries in Massachusetts, and the state needs to improve its workforce development capacity to adapt to this change and help people get better jobs, a new report finds.

The study, from the state’s Future of Work Commission, established by the General Court in 2020, noted that the typical worker in Massachusetts is now expected to hold more than 12 different jobs over the course of their career.

Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Springfield, who co-led the commission, said Massachusetts needs to at least double its current workforce training pipelines to keep up with technological transformation.

“So it’s very important that the training of our workforce becomes more agile, more flexible, more iterative,” Lesser stressed. “Credentials can kind of ‘stack’ on top of each other to develop skills over time as technology evolves.”

The report recommended investing heavily in technical training, apprenticeships, on-the-job and industry-based learning programs. He also stressed the importance of scaling up programs to integrate into the labor market people who are often left behind, such as people with disabilities or who are reintegrating into society after their incarceration.

More jobs require post-secondary degrees or credentials. And while income- and race-based gaps between high school graduation and college entrance have narrowed in recent years, college graduation gaps have widened. .

Lesser workplace disruptions during COVID have had an outsized impact on women and people of color.

“As we look around the corner here, through COVID, at what the future of our economy and workforce envisions, we must continue to focus on equity and inclusion. in all its forms: racial equity, gender equity, and geographic and type of worker equity,” Lesser insisted.

The report found a growing divide between professional workers who can do their jobs in hybrid or entirely remote environments, and frontline and service industry workers who have endured the economic strain of the pandemic. He also highlighted the need to meet the basic requirements for many people to work, from childcare and elder care to housing, broadband and transportation.

Support for this report was provided by Lumina Foundation.

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Michael A. Bynum