Workforce Development Annual Report Highlights Investments Made To Benefit Boston’s Working Families
The Office of Workforce Development (OWD), led by the Worker Empowerment Cabinet, distributed more than $10 million to various community based organizations, according to the newly released Fiscal Year 2022 OWD Annual Report titled Advancing the Lives of Boston’s Working Families. The report, which covers the period July 2021 - June 2022, highlights the work OWD has done to ensure the full participation of residents in Boston’s economy through equitable access to education, financial literacy resources, skills and jobs training programs, and career pipelines.
“I am pleased to announce OWD’s FY22 Annual Report, as a snapshot of our various efforts to advance the lives of Boston workers and working families,” said Trinh Nguyen, Chief of Worker Empowerment. “This work would not be possible without our staff, who remain dedicated to serving Boston’s residents; our partners, who collaborate with us to drive this work forward; and the residents who participate in our programming to improve their lives. Together, we will continue to create a better Boston for all.”
As outlined in the report, OWD administers funding from various sources that support a broad range of services for Boston residents. One significant funding source is the Neighborhood Jobs Trust (NJT), which distributes the jobs linkage funds paid by developers of large-scale commercial construction projects. In Fiscal Year 2022, NJT awarded $2.7 million to 30 community-based organizations, providing job training, education, and support services to 1,300 low- and middle-income Boston residents. An organization that was funded by NJT for the first time is the African Bridge Network.
“Thanks to the unwavering support of the City of Boston, the African Bridge Network has been able to create career pathways for immigrants/refugees with college degrees in the healthcare industry,” said Emmanuel Owusu, Executive Director. “The Neighborhood Jobs Trust support and funding has been a catalytic investment that has enabled a viable model for developing the skilled immigrant workforce. We are immensely grateful for the City's commitment to creating an inclusive and prosperous Boston for all."
An important part of OWD’s mission is to foster the economic independence and mobility of Boston’s working families, and OWD provides critical, free financial education and asset-building resources. For example, during Fiscal Year 2022, Boston Saves, the City of Boston’s children’s savings account (CSA) program, worked with Boston Public Schools (BPS) families to save money for their child's future college or career through seed funding and regular incentives. More than 1,300 BPS families earned a total of $32,825 for their children through a January 2022 promotional offer.
“Boston Saves is a great initiative from the City of Boston to help families learn about the importance of saving,” said Erin DiCarlo, parent of two Boston Saves’ students at the Adams Elementary School. “With financial literacy often lacking in schools, this program helps teach families to have their children begin saving for their future at a young age. It also gives students an incentive to read!”
Another valued program, the Boston Tax Help Coalition (BTHC), enables low-to-moderate income Boston residents to maximize their tax refunds and keep money in their pockets by providing free tax preparation services. In 2022, BTHC served 10,710 taxpayers through a combination of in-person and virtual tax preparation, returning $15,469,772 in total tax refunds to people’s bank accounts.
This report is OWD’s first major update as a department in the Worker Empowerment Cabinet. Mayor Michelle Wu created the Cabinet in September 2022 to lead Boston's work in advancing the well-being of all working Bostonians in both the public and private sectors by linking worker empowerment policy and programs to create a safe, healthy, and climate resilient city for all. Led by Chief of Worker Empowerment Trinh Nguyen and Deputy Chiefs Rashad Cope and Jodi Sugerman-Brozan, the Cabinet houses the Center for Working Families, the Office of Labor Compliance and Worker Protections, and the Office of Youth Employment and Opportunity in addition to the Office of Workforce Development.
Learn more about the Office of Workforce Development at boston.gov/workforce.