MetroWest Chamber helps fuel growth in the state economy

By Mounira Al Hmoud, The MetroWest Daily News

BOSTON – MetroWest members of the state’s Economic Development Planning Council are touting the area’s leadership in advancing an economic growth plan that emphasizes the need to train workers for middle-skill jobs and support innovation and entrepreneurship.

Bonnie Biocchi, president and CEO of MetroWest Chamber of Commerce and member of the council, told a meeting of the council on Thursday that her group has formed partnerships with other local educational institutions in the area to help train future workers.

“Together with 495/MetroWest Partnership and our colleges and universities we have begun to find ways to advance education and workforce development,” said Biocchi. “MetroWest will work toward supporting regional development through local empowerment.”

The council met at the State House to review its plan, called “Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century,” which intended to serve as a roadmap to boost the state’s economy.

State Rep. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, said the plan focuses on many strengths of MetroWest.

“MetroWest has high-quality schools, one of the highest rates of skilled workers in the state, and is a center for educating all levels of employees. It is the state’s economic engine and center of innovation.”

Housing and Economic Development Secretary, Greg Bialecki, who serves as the council chairman, said Massachusetts has dramatically improved its competitive performance in job creation through long-term investments in education, innovation and infrastructure.

“Massachusetts ranked 45th among the 50 states in its job growth performance from 2000 to 2006; it has ranked fifth among the 50 states since August 2009, when we began our recovery from the Great Recession.”

Bialecki outlined some of the concrete actions, such as increasing the number of students internships at local companies, appointing a senior economic development official as a regulatory ombudsman, and improving the access to capital of growing small businesses.

“I want to emphasize that this is a plan that will create greater economic opportunities in every region of the state,” said Bialecki. “The membership of the council comes from all over the state.”

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