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Reebok hosts event with Lt. Governor Polito and Labor and Workforce Development Ronald Walker, II to announce grants.

CANTON, MA, DECEMBER 8, 2015….Finding ways to make sure Massachusetts residents get the skills and training they need to get good paying jobs is one of the biggest challenges facing the state.

Governor Charlie Baker often talks about a meeting he attended in Washington, D.C. with other governors from around the country. When asked what their biggest impediment to economic growth was, many governors said the skills gap. They didn’t say taxes or energy costs – but the skills gap.

0121_8058Companies across the nation cannot find enough skilled workers to fill jobs.

That’s why it’s so important employers have resources to train their workers.

The Baker-Polito administration this week awarded $8.9 million in Workforce Training Grants to 87 companies that will use the funds to advance workers’ skill sets. The Workforce Training Grant funds will provide training for more than 7,500 workers across the Commonwealth.

The Workforce Training Grant fund is administered by Commonwealth Corp. – a quasi-public state agency focused on workforce development.

Reebok Corp., headquartered in Canton, MA, hosted an event with Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald L. Walker to announce the awards. Reebok received $114,440 to train 130 workers in digital design tools.

Lt. Governor Polito said the grants, awarded to numerous industries, help employees do their jobs more productively so they can “edge out” the competition.

“We feel a workforce that is well-trained is a real asset. It is an asset to our economy and it’s certainly an asset to your enterprise here.” Lt. Governor Polito said to a crowded room of Reebok employees.

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Reebok executives said the training will help their designers learn the latest technologies to stay competitive.

“We’re incredibly thankful for the support of the Baker-Polito Administration,” said Reebok President Matt O’Toole.  “Attracting and maintaining top talent is always a major priority at Reebok. It is critical that our people are supported with the tools and knowledge they need to be their best. This grant will help in our effort to not only create great product, but also ensure that the most talented designers want to work right here in Massachusetts.”

Secretary Walker said companies need to be able to attract and retain the best employees in the Commonwealth.

“We need to have a pipeline of individuals to fill the needs of companies like Reebok,” he said.

Secretary Walker, who chairs the Workforce Skills Cabinet created by Governor Baker, said he and Education Secretary James Peyser and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash work together to focus on  the “demand-side of the equation” to understand the needs of companies, both large and small, in order to align state economic and workforce strategies.

Lt. Governor Polito said, “We are making sure we are connecting people with the right skills to the jobs we have here in the commonwealth, and we want to make sure that Massachusetts is most competitive on a lot of levels, including making sure our workforce is top-notch.”

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Communications Director

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