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Jobs Creation Commission Releases Final Report

October 4, 2012
Senator Spilka discussing the Commission’s findings and recommendations

BOSTON – On Wednesday, members of the Jobs Creation Commission released their final report, including their recommendations on how to mitigate barriers to job creation, leverage the strengths of the Massachusetts economy, and better align the needs of employers with the available workforce.

The Commission was established by an act of the legislature to make an investigation and study relative to the economy in order to create and maintain quality jobs in the Commonwealth. To address its mission, over the past year and a half, the Commission has convened monthly meetings, conducted a regional hearing tour, and formed three subcommittees – Inventory, Demand, and Supply.

In their final report, the Commissioners outlined four main strategies to reach their overarching goal of creating jobs as well as suggested tactics to accomplish these strategies: (1) increase demand for goods and services produced throughout the Commonwealth; (2) increase state investment in infrastructure; (3) support public educational institutions and better align education and training to job demand to ensure an appropriately skilled workforce; and (4) ensure a robust and coordinated system of workforce training programs and job search resources.
“Over the past few years, we have seen many positive signs that our economy is on a path towards continued recovery and growth, but our work is not done,” said Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), co-chair of the Jobs Creation Commission. “We must remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting our economy, our business community, and our workforce. This report is a truly bipartisan, collaborative effort between the public and private sectors and I look forward to continuing this partnership as we take active steps to implement our recommendations to ensure long-term economic growth and job creation throughout the Commonwealth.”

“Massachusetts possesses a wealth of economic strengths, but sound public policy and continued investment are needed to maintain our competitive edge,” said Chairman Joseph F. Wagner (D – Chicopee), co-chair of the Jobs Creation Commission. “Focusing our efforts on the key priorities identified in this report will position the Commonwealth well for continued growth.”

“Veterans can and should play a critical role in driving our overall economic success and the Commonwealth is working hard to make sure they build on their military skills and training to seize new opportunities and successfully transition to the civilian workforce,” said Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Coleman Nee. “I commend the Commission, its members, and all the stakeholders for the countless hours listening to suggestions and concerns and developing a strong roadmap that will drive the economy of Massachusetts starting with our highly competitive workforce.”

“EOLWD applauds the hard work and vision of the Jobs Commission in developing a comprehensive and strategic economic and workforce development plan for increase job creation and retention in the Commonwealth. These strategies encompass best practices that include partnerships between public, private, and non-profit stakeholders across all regions of the Commonwealth,” said Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne Goldstein.

“I am so pleased with the work that this commission has done to stimulate job creation, and in turn, promote economic growth in the Commonwealth,” said Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham), a member of the Commission. “This report is an excellent start to laying the foundation for a solution, but of course there is still work to be done. As we continue to struggle with high unemployment rates, it is our responsibility, as a legislature, to do all we can to facilitate increased economic opportunities throughout Massachusetts.”

“Working families are in constant need of creating jobs of high quality and in high quantity, especially in this stubborn recovery. The work of the Commission highlights the many strengths of Massachusetts that will allow us to continue improving our approach to economic development. It was an honor to be part of a diverse and productive group that put jobs front and center right when workers need that focus from all sectors the most. The report shows we can attract and grow responsible employers to hire workers into family-sustaining jobs and I was proud to be part of it,” said Tim Sullivan, Legislative and Communications Director, Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

“Representing an agency that serves hundreds of unemployed residents from Boston’s lowest income neighborhoods every year, the need for a coherent and ambition jobs plan is plainly undeniable. I was proud to have served on this Commission and to provide a roadmap for our Commonwealth towards new job creation for workers in most need of these opportunities,” said Aaron Tanaka, Executive Director, Boston Workers Alliance.

Specific tactics suggested by the Commission to create jobs in the Commonwealth include:

  • Continuing current reforms to lower business costs and regulatory burdens;
  • Creating a preference in government purchasing for goods produced in Massachusetts;
  • Addressing regional disparities to employment by targeting incentives and economic development efforts to address regional needs, including expanding access to broadband everywhere in Massachusetts;
  • Investing in the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, state and municipal buildings, sewer and water treatment facilities;
  • Conducting a job vacancy survey at least annually to provide data on available job market to education and workforce training institutions;
  • Creating a supported internship program for unemployed job seekers;
  • Address potential barriers to employment among certain job seekers, including those experience bias related to age, disability, court activity records, or military experience;
  • Recapitalizing the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to support programs that help give workers the skills they need to qualify for current job openings; and
  • Increasing collaboration among business, education, and Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) to ensure alignment between education and training programs, available jobs, and the needs of businesses.

Commissioners in attendance and on-hand to discuss the work of the Commission included: Senator Spilka; Secretary Nee; Dr. Alan Clayton-Matthews, co-chair of the Inventory Subcommittee and Professor of Professor of Qualitative Studies at Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs; April Anderson-Lamoureux, Assistant Secretary for Economic Development at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and co-chair of the Demand Subcommittee;  Eileen McAnneny, Director of Public Policy at Fidelity Investments (on behalf of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts) and co-chair of the Demand Subcommittee; and co-chairs of the Supply Subcommittee, Tim Sullivan and Aaron Tanaka.

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