Special to the Patriot-Bridge
Mayor Michelle Wu and the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (OWD) has announced the allocation of $3.4 million of Neighborhood Jobs Trust (NJT) funding to 26 community-based organizations across Boston’s neighborhoods, including Charlestown Adult Education (CAE).
CAE proposes a job training program with comprehensive wraparound services, including ABE and ESOL classes, case management services, career exploration support, and financial literacy courses, supporting participants to obtain jobs in healthcare or construction. The majority of those served will be residents of Charlestown BHA housing, English Language Learners, or court-involved youth..
This marks the largest one-time grantmaking round in the Trust’s history and will serve approximately 1,500 Boston residents while allowing grantees to leverage $10.6 million in additional funding. The recipients were celebrated at More Than Words bookstore in the South End, an NJT grantee. Funding from the NJT supports local organizations that provide low to moderate income residents with job training and support services, enabling them to obtain higher paying jobs in diverse fields including human services, technology, hospitality, and healthcare.
“The Neighborhood Jobs Trust is a critical tool in our work to connect our residents to crucial job training and support services and ensure Boston is a city for everyone,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m thrilled to support these critical community organizations that invest in our city’s workforce and people and look forward to their work in strengthening our communities and economy.”
“The Neighborhood Jobs Trust funding will help provide residents the opportunity for training and a pathway to a meaningful career,” said Council President Ed Flynn. “Many of the community-based organizations that are funded are neighborhood anchors that provide important language training, digital literacy, workforce development, and youth programs that are essential to our immigrant and at-risk families.”
“As a trustee of the Neighborhood’s Job Trust and the Boston City Council Chair of the Labor, Workforce & Economic Development committee, our office is invested in creating workforce opportunities for our residents while strengthening our economy,” said Councilor Julia Mejia. “I am pleased that, through this funding process, we were able to apply an equity lens in the selection of our recipients. This funding cycle gets us closer to addressing the wealth gap by uplifting community-based organizations that are seeking ways to support some of our most vulnerable communities, such as English for New Bostonians and Breaktime. I am also excited to see work focused around closing the digital equity gap and helping Boston residents strive in the 21st century through the work of Tech Goes Home.”
The Neighborhood Jobs Trust is a public charitable trust replenished by linkage fees from developers of large-scale commercial projects in Boston. Since its inception, the NJT has received over $55 million in Linkage funds to support Boston’s education and workforce development efforts, with $2.8 million disbursed in fiscal year 2022. Changes to the linkage policy were approved in March of 2023. The changes include lowering the threshold and exemption from 100,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet, increasing the total linkage fee for lab uses over two years to $30.78 per square foot for lab space and to $23.09 for other commercial uses, up from $15.39. Sixteen percent of the fees will support job training and job preparedness programs, while the remaining 84 percent will support the creation and preservation of affordable housing. The increase in the fees will be phased in over two years beginning in January 2024.
“I am excited about the City’s increased investment in the innovative programs our community based organizations provide,” said Chief of Worker Empowerment Trinh Nguyen. “These programs enrich Boston’s talent pool by connecting residents to job and skills training and support services that will enable them to obtain high paying jobs in high growth industries and growing markets.”
“In 2022, the BPDA Board approved new development projected to generate approximately $7.5 million in linkage fees to support job training,” said City of Boston Chief of Planning Arthur Jemison. “We’re proud to continue to support the Neighborhood Jobs Trust through the work we do at the Boston Planning & Development Agency. I am hopeful that there will be even more funding to go towards high-paying, quality jobs for Bostonians, in the years to come.”
The Neighborhood Jobs Trust award recipients were selected through a public Request for Proposals (RFP) process released by the Office of Workforce Development in October 2022. This year’s grantees will provide programs that focus on careers in high growth industries and growing markets including clean energy and technology. Additionally, the programs are designed to serve individuals with barriers to employment and incorporate supportive wrap-around services.
“Mothers for Justice and Equality (MJE) is proud to partner with Mayor Wu’s Office of Workforce Development on creating jobs for individuals who are dealing with chronic unemployment as a result of generational traumatic experiences,” said Monalisa Smith, Founder, President, and CEO of Mothers for Justice and Equality. “The support MJE was given from the Neighborhood Job Trust will allow us to triple the number of women served. Thank you, Mayor Wu for sharing our vision for quality human services to people of color living in underserved communities with high rates of mental health, incarceration and unemployment. Together, I believe we will make all the difference.”
“English for New Bostonians is thankful for NJT support — this is a win for Boston’s immigrant communities and a win for the city’s economic prosperity,” said Claudia Green, Executive Director for English for New Bostonians. “With today’s tight labor market, there’s not a moment to waste. Funds will support online and in-person English classes, career coaching, job skills training, and connections with employers and entrepreneurship opportunities that promote immigrants’ economic mobility.”
“Access to high-quality digital devices, reliable internet service, and relevant digital skills training are all critical to helping Boston residents find and keep good jobs,” said Dan Noyes, CEO of Tech Goes Home. “This funding from the Neighborhood Jobs Trust will make it possible for more than 100 new learners to participate in Tech Goes Home’s proven, workforce-focused programming, where they will gain critical tools and knowledge that will expand opportunity for them, their families, and our communities. We are grateful to the City of Boston and the Office of Workforce Development for their support and partnership in our ongoing work to advance digital equity.”