Jobs Commission unveils improvement plan
BOSTON – Legislators are praising a report calling for targeted job training and infrastructure investment. But they warn it could cost taxpayers more money to turn those recommendations into reality.
“Wonderful proposal, lots of work, but we need the old-fashioned green stuff (money) to make a lot of this work,” said Rep. Jim Miceli, a Democrat from Wilmington, after the release Wednesday of the Legislature’s Job Creation Commission report.
The Jobs Creation Commission was formed during the recession in 2008 to come up with a plan to improve the job picture in the state. Although employment numbers have improved over the past four years, the report comes after the state unemployment’s rate increased two months in a row, from 6 percent in June to 6.3 percent in August.
State Sen. Karen Spilka, a Democrat from Ashland, who chaired the commission with state Rep. Joseph Wagner, a Chicopee Democrat, said the report will serve as a “blueprint” for the state to rise out of the recession.
The commission outlined four key strategies to create jobs, including plans to increase demand for goods and services produced in the state, an increase in infrastructure investment, efforts to align employee skills with job demand and a “robust and coordinated” system of workforce training and job-search resources.
Spilka said people should start to see effects of the plan in coming months, noting that some of the work, such as the jobs bill passed this summer, has already been done. She said other steps, such as forming partnerships between employers and the state’s education system to improve student training, will take longer.
State Sen. Barry Finegold, a Democrat from Andover, agreed that emphasis on education is an important factor in the future of the job market, noting recent initiatives to develop partnerships between UMass Lowell and local high schools in Tewksbury and Dracut.
“The better trained our workforce is, the better chance we can keep jobs here in Massachusetts,” he said.
Sen. Jaimie Eldridge, a Democrat from Acton, echoed the need for public schools to focus on science, math, technology and engineering education, even if funding for those programs is limited.
“I think it would create a whole new generation of engineers and scientists that really is the strength of the state’s workforce,” he said.
Link to the original article: http://www.lowellsun.com/business/ci_21696681/jobs-commission-unveils-improvement-plan