Yesterday, the Neponset River Regional Chamber along with statewide and regional business associations from across the Commonwealth have launched the Massachusetts Business Coalition on Skills (MBCS). The new statewide coalition will advocate for policies that develop the skills of our current and future workforce.
The MBCS formed because there are two sides to the skills gap and both can drag job and economic growth. On the employer side, it is difficult to find qualified talent: a 2019 survey by coalition member Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE) found that 73% of Massachusetts employers find it “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” to find people with the right skills to fill open positions. For workers, new skills are the springboard to job opportunities and growth: a 2016 Pew Research Center survey found that 87% of working adults believe developing new skills throughout their work life will be “essential” or “important” to career success.
Over the last year, members of the Coalition’s steering committee researched, discussed, and refined policy proposals to address both the employer and employee side of the skills gap. The recommendations aim to leverage the state’s entire workforce, not just graduates with 4-year degrees, by creating a statewide standard of essential skills, expanding access to career and vocational technical education (CVTE), and incentivizing employers to provide ongoing skills training to employees.
Closing the skills gaps in Massachusetts requires targeted solutions. As part of the coalition’s launch, the MBCS releases its policy agenda aimed at ensuring every resident can acquire the in-demand skills needed to be successful in the workforce. The MBCS’s policy agenda includes the following seven priority areas:
We look forward to working with our partners across the state to advance this agenda and begin to match worker's skills with existing job vacancies.
Tom O'Rourke, CCE
President and CEO