Our vision for the Workforce Development Strategy is that all Greater Boston residents will have access to family-sustaining careers. Our efforts focus on increasing the number of people receiving training for low-, middle- and high-skilled jobs and careers in sectors like healthcare, hospitality, and IT/tech.
The Boston Foundation’s primary strategic partner in helping to build job skills for Greater Boston residents is SkillWorks. SkillWorks is a nationally-recognized workforce development funder collaborative formed in partnership with the City of Boston, with a mission to improve the workforce system’s effectiveness, resulting in improved economic outcomes for low income jobseekers, while also meeting employer needs. SkillWorks acts as a workforce intermediary that aggregates funding from public, private and corporate philanthropy to create a flexible set of resources that support innovative solutions across community based organizations, vocational training, community colleges and employers, while also leveraging its leadership position and collaborative model to convene business, labor, education and civic leaders to catalyze systems change through innovative investments, adoption of best practices and policy advocacy. SkillWorks deploys integrated strategies of sector-based training, community leadership and capacity building, and policy development and advocacy. SkillWorks has been a dynamic partner to aligned funders, intermediaries, organizations and employers, an innovative platform to link talent to employers, a responsive driver for diversity and inclusion, and a strategic shaper of policy and practice.
Project Catapult: Investing in next-generation workforce solutions
Project Catapult is an innovative prototype for SkillWorks and the Boston Foundation to jointly test a new approach to workforce development, building off of SkillWorks 15 plus years of proven success. The goal of Catapult is to invest in the exponential growth of Greater Boston’s most effective, market-driven training and education organizations in partnership with the region’s most savvy businesses to build and sustain the region’s talent pipeline. Catapult will create a new way of doing business as usual in workforce development that is at the intersection of social/economic mobility, business needs and job seeker opportunities.
Our goal for this strategy is to champion for the strengthening of the Black and Latinx businesses ecosystem in Greater Boston, promoting access to capital, connections, capacity, and contracts.
A key investment in this strategy is The Business Equity Fund. The Business Equity Fund at the Boston Foundation is designed to address longstanding barriers to growth financing and technical assistance that have historically limited opportunity for entrepreneurs of color. The Fund strives to grow businesses owned by people of color, strengthen communities and help close the racial wealth gap.
To create a thriving Black and Latinx entrepreneurial class that creates opportunity and wealth for their communities, we must fill the gaps in access to growth capital for Black and Latinx-owned businesses.
Grantee Spotlight: Commonwealth Kitchen
Founded in 2009, CommonWealth Kitchen (CWK) is Boston's only nonprofit shared use kitchen, with the mission to close the racial wealth gap by helping aspiring food entrepreneurs create a pathway to economic mobility through launching and operating a small business. CWK does this by providing a shared state-of-the-art commercial kitchen plus the robust education, training, support, and a network of industry partners that entrepreneurs need to succeed. The organization works with both start-up food businesses that require the incubation space and technical assistance to launch, as well as established food businesses looking to grow and take on high-volume production.
Located in Dorchester, CommonWealth Kitchen is currently incubating over 50 community-based businesses that have created over 150 jobs locally. Of these businesses, 75% are owned by women, immigrants, and/or people of color. The Boston Foundation has been a partner in supporting CWK's work since 2012.