SkillWorks, a public/private partnership between the Boston Foundation and the City of Boston, launched in 2003 to improve workforce development in Massachusetts. The program has four key focus areas: driving demand, deepening capacity, increasing employability, and targeting impact. Since inception, Skillworks has helped advocate for $100 million in local, state, and national funding for workforce development and resources. While SkillWorks doesn’t have an explicit sector focus, it has targeted several awards at helping people enter Greater Boston’s large healthcare and IT industries.
The program has run in three phases so far, with phase I running from 2003-2008, phase II running from 2009-2013, and phase III running 2014-2018. Since the start of the program, SkillWorks has helped over 6,000 job seekers and incumbent workers, 1,700 of them in phase III. In phase III, 68% of job seekers who completed the program found employment, 95% of those are still employed, and 21% saw either wage increases or got a second job after finishing. Of incumbent workers, 68% of those who completed the training got a raise or second job and 98% are still employed.
SkillWorks is currently entering phase IV, running 2018-2021. It outlined goals for the next phase include a 75% rate of completed training for enrolled job seekers and an 85% rate of people earning wages higher than the Boston living wage.