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MassDOT Formal_LogoMassDOT has been awarded a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Workforce Development grant to support the Massachusetts Construction Career Development (MCCD) program preparing the next generation of skilled workers in construction trades. MassDOT is one of 19 grant recipients from 13 states, as announced this month by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The $750,000 grant will provide funding for the MCCD program and four Coalition for Equal Access to Jobs community partners across the Commonwealth to improve existing and successful pre-apprenticeship programs in the construction trades with a focus on under-represented groups including women and minorities.
MassDOT worked in partnership with the Coalition for Equal Access to Jobs in pursuing this grant opportunity.

“The Federal Transit Administration’s support for workforce development programs will allow us to prepare future generations for construction trades,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This targeted investment in our Commonwealth’s talent pipeline will have a major impact on the future of our construction industry and help us to ensure we have the skilled workforce needed to maintain and repair our roads, bridges and public transit systems, and build new developments that spur economic growth.”

“This grant will enhance the successful efforts already in place to provide training and apprenticeships that will lead to outstanding careers in public transportation and the construction industry,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “It is also especially important that we continue to focus on attracting women and minority candidates to these opportunities.”

The Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN) organized the Coalition for Equal Access to Jobs in 2009 to work on funding pre-apprentice construction training to especially enable more people of color and women to get these jobs. The Coalition met with MassDOT for several years on this issue and MassDOT began initial funding to two pre-apprentice training programs this year. Coalition members met with MassDOT staff to help in writing this application that we are very pleased was funded by the US Department of Transportation

Jack Livramento, the Massachusetts Communities Action Network Board President and a participant in the Coalition for Equal Access to Jobs, said, “Over the past decade or more, workers in the city of New Bedford, where I live, are continually searching for jobs that pay a living wage. Our citizens are always looking for the proper training to find a good job. This pre-apprentice training program will assist them in finding that position that leads to a stable job. Finding the training that helps persons in their employment is an opportunity that our young men and women need. Hopefully this is just the beginning.”

The Massachusetts Construction Career Development Program is a statewide partnership collaborating to enhance and augment existing registered pre-apprentice programs for minorities, women, and disadvantaged individuals in order to increase the targeted groups’ participation in the transportation industry.

The Coalition for Equal Access to Jobs includes a number of programs and initiatives, including the following:

•Community Works- a multi-partner pre-apprenticeship program which provides low-income and low-skilled Springfield and Holyoke residents, particularly minorities, women and disadvantaged young adults, access to family-sustaining careers in construction.
•Building Pathways- a state registered pre-apprenticeship sponsored by the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District in partnership with the Boston Housing Authority and Action for Boston Community Development, Inc., providing training to low-income and minority participants with the skills and certifications necessary for successfully entering into post-secondary apprenticeships and employment in the construction industry. .
•Pre-Apprentice Construction Training (PACT)-a registered pre-apprenticeship program of the South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Inc., conducted through the Martin Luther King Jr. Business Empowerment Center.
•Youth Build Boston- a registered pre-apprentice program that seeks to empower and assist underserved young people with essential social, vocational, academic and life skills necessary to navigate a positive pathway to self-sufficiency and neighborhood responsibility.

Federal Transit Administration workforce development projects develop or expand strategic partnerships with transit agencies, labor unions, nonprofits, and academic institutions, and some also support small businesses in the transit sector owned by women and minorities.

The FTA says reports show employers nationwide will need to hire and train a total of 4.6 million new workers – 1.2 times the current transportation workforce – due to expected growth, retirements, and turnover in the transportation industry from 2012 to 2022.

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