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Mayor's Office of workforce development releases first annual report

October 28, 2015

Workforce Development

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Workforce Development

The Mayor's Office of Workforce Development (OWD), formerly the Office of Jobs and Community Services, today released its first annual report, Building an Inclusive Economy.  Mayor Martin J. Walsh restructured and rebranded the office earlier this year after a thorough assessment of community resources, best practices, and efforts of workforce development programs around the country. OWD has since aligned its goals and strategies to leverage funding sources in order to address the Mayor's citywide economic opportunity agenda, focusing on tackling income inequality.

"We have made it a priority to advocate for innovative policies and programs that provide career ladders for all of our residents," said Mayor Walsh. "From concerned residents and workforce development experts alike, I've often heard that existing programs could be more helpful indirectly leading to good jobs. OWD's reorganization will create more opportunities for Boston's residents and employers."

The new report reviews OWD's successes from July 2014 through June 2015. The office operates and funds a variety of initiatives to support upward financial mobility for individuals and families in Boston. Some of its signature offerings include the Office of Financial Empowerment, Boston's one-stop career centers, employment programs for hard-to-reach youth, children's literacy programs, and the Boston Tax Help Coalition. OWD also helps manage the Neighborhood Jobs Trust, which is funded by fees associated with private development projects and provides grants to nonprofit collaboratives such as SkillWorks and English for New Bostonians.

"This past fiscal year we were able to provide over $19.2 million in funding to more than 120 training programs, English for employment programs, bridge programs, youth employment programs and other educational services to help people find stable career paths," said OWD Director Trinh Nguyen. 

Highlights from the annual report include:

  • SkillWorks, which received $350,000 in funding through the Neighborhood Jobs Trust, was able to leverage additional financial resources in order to serve over 1,000 limited English speakers to improve their language skills and employment opportunities.
  • Youth Options Unlimited, an education, and employment program that works with hard-to-reach youth provided case management services to 377 young people and placed 88 youth in private employment positions.
  • The children's literacy program ReadBoston gave away 60,000 new books to young readers across the city, and WriteBoston served 535 high school students with its deep learning through writing model.
  • The Boston Tax Help Coalition was able to prove 12,291 residents with free tax preparation services that resulted in approximately $23 million in refunds for Boston families.

The full Building an Inclusive Economy report can be found on OWD's new website, www.owd.boston.gov. The new site was designed to be more accessible to partners and program participants. It offers information about partnership opportunities, funding initiatives, and news and updates about OWD's programs. The Office is also on Twitter at @OWDBoston.   About the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development   The Mayor's Office of Workforce Development (OWD) is an innovative public agency that seeks to promote economic self-sufficiency to ensure the full participation of all Boston residents in the city's economic vitality and future, seeking to connect low-income residents with job training and employment opportunities and to promote lifelong literacy and educational pathways.   Supported by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the primary focus of OWD is to enable competitive workforce development initiatives and policies to put Boston's youth and adults on career paths toward economic security. While OWD continues to support adult basic education, ESOL, and Hi-set related programs, OWD stresses the importance of collaboration with the city's workforce development and education initiatives, with an overall emphasis on empowering Bostonians to fulfill their educational and employment aspirations.