SkillWorks is a nationally recognized workforce funder collaborative, launched by the Boston Foundation in 2003 to improve workforce development in Boston and across Massachusetts.
Skillworks unites philanthropy, government, community organizations and employers to address the twin goals of helping low-income individuals attain family-supporting jobs and helping businesses find skilled workers.
Phase I (2003–2008) Invested $15 million to help more than 3,000 workers receive skills training with hundreds entering the workforce or receiving raises and promotions.
Phase II (2009–2013) Continued its important work with added emphasis on better connecting Massachusetts’s community colleges and other postsecondary institutions to the workforce development system. SkillWorks raised $10 million for Phase II for investments in Workforce Partnerships, Public Policy Advocacy and Capacity Building, and served nearly 1,700 entry-level job seekers and incumbent workers for jobs in healthcare, construction, hospitality and financial services. SkillWorks also successfully advocated for and aligned with $70 million in state workforce resources for workforce training.
Phase III (2014–2018) SkillWorks has served more than 1,700 individual jobseekers, incumbent workers, and youth and young adults. As of summer 2017, over 64 percent of jobseekers who have completed training since the beginning of 2014 have been placed in employment, and over 90 percent of those placed are still employed. SkillWorks surpassed its fundraising goal for this phase, raising more than $5.7 million, enabling it to reach even more youth, young adults and under/unemployed workers.
Since 2003, SkillWorks has been an innovative funder and partner with the Boston Foundation while influencing the policies and practices of dozens of organizations in the region. As the pendulum of the economy has swung dramatically from periods of high unemployment to a tight labor market, SkillWorks has applied its practice, knowledge and experience to respond nimbly to support our region’s workforce needs. SkillWorks has become a model for cities across the country and for the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.