"Building Partnerships for a Better Workforce"
The Metro North Regional Employment Board (REB) is a public-private partnership whose mission is to enable area residents to gain the skills to maximize their economic self-sufficiency and provide employers with the workforce they need to effectively compete in the changing world economy. As one of 16 local Workforce Development Boards established in Massachusetts by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (recently superseded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014), the REB was formed to: set local workforce policy, determine how state and federal funds are best used for workforce development, develop partnerships to align the needs of employers to the needs of area residents, and oversee the Metro North One-Stop Career Centers where both job search and employer services are provided. By law, business leaders must constitute a majority of the Board with other members representing education, training, labor and economic development.
The functions of the Metro North Regional Employment Board include the following:
- Addressing business’ workforce needs through strategic partnership building
- Coordinating local workforce activities with economic development strategies
- Developing industry-specific consortia focusing on strategic planning and implementation
- Establishing workforce development policy for the region
- Chartering career center operators and overseeing career centers
- Matching the needs of business for skilled employees with training opportunities in the area
- Assessing the effectiveness of the local workforce system
- Administering federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds for the region
Metro North REB Committees
REB Standing Committees
The REB carries out the majority of its work through its committee structure, and it is expected that each board member will actively participate in at least one committee, and participate in the REB’s industry collaboratives in his/her field. The REB currently convenes the following committees: Career Center Committee and Policy, Funding and Oversight Committee (acting as a Joint Committee); Adult Basic Education Transitions to College and Careers Committee; Metro North Disability Committee, and the Youth Council.
Joint Committee of Career Center Committee and Policy, Funding and Oversight Committee
Career Center Committee:
Oversees Career Center procurement and rechartering process:
- Ensures implementation of career center vision
- Reviews broad conceptual issues related to center services and establishes career center policies
- Evaluates career center performance
- Recommends strategies to ensure ongoing financial viability
Conducts ongoing career center oversight and evaluation:
- Oversees the Consumer Advisory Group
- Reviews customer feedback
- Reviews and recommends Consumer Advisory Group member composition
Policy, Funding, and Oversight Committee:
- Makes planning decisions regarding regional service priorities
- Determines allocation of funds among training providers, career centers, and the REB
- Develops WIOA performance standards and criteria
- Determines funding formula for career centers
- Develops Memoranda of Understanding with One-Stop Career Center partners
- Approves the Annual Plan for regional workforce development services/activities
Adult Basic Education Transitions to College and Careers Committee (ABETCC)
The Adult Basic Education (ABE) Transition to College and Careers (ABETCC) Committee was established to address ABE issues within the region and the state as a whole. The primary goals include identifying barriers that ABE students face while advancing their education and careers, as well as developing solutions to address those barriers. Committee members include representatives from career centers, ABE programs, community colleges, and other ABE stakeholders within the region.
Metro North Disability Committee
The newly formed Metro North Disability Committee will identify, and develop effective solutions to address, education and employment-related issues for people with disabilities. Members include representatives from career centers, local non-profits, community colleges, and other relevant stakeholders within the region.
Metro North Youth Council
The Metro North Youth Council supports the development and implementation of effective workforce training programs to help ensure that local youth experience a successful transition into a productive working adulthood. The key functions of the Metro North Youth Council include: developing portions of the local plan relating to eligible youth; reviewing and recommending youth and education services to be awarded on a competitive basis; networking and sharing best practices; sponsoring other youth activities; supporting efforts to increase funding; coordinating youth service activities in the region; consistently involving youth in planning and evaluation activities, and advising the REB on youth employment issues.
The REB leads the following industry partnerships/consortia:
- The Metro North Retail Advisory Council is focused on developing strategies that assist retail employers with critical workforce needs and help job seekers be prepared for careers in the retail industry. Comprised of local employers, the council will work with the REB and Metro North Career Centers to ensure a detailed and mutual understanding of the workforce needs of retail industry and effective strategies to meet these needs. These efforts will inform the overall design and implementation of the Metro North Program for Retail Opportunities Project, which will address the talent needs of the local retail industry through providing training for job seekers to enter retail careers, job placement, and training for incumbent workers.
- Metro North Healthcare Partnership is focused on aligning curricula with employer needs, and developing career pathways.
- Metro North STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Network is focused on ensuring a pipeline to technical occupations for youth and adults making career transitions, through promoting a skilled and sustainable STEM workforce in the region. It is one of nine STEM Networks across the state that have been charged with promoting STEM careers and coordinating regional STEM activities.
- Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (NAMC) is a collaboration among industry, academia, and workforce development that was created to define and implement the Commonwealth’s advanced manufacturing strategy within the Northeast region of Massachusetts. This four-region partnership consists of community colleges, vocational technical schools, workforce development boards, and One-Stop Career Centers. Key areas of focus include: developing the pipeline for job openings; developing training and aligning education/training curricula with employer needs; and promoting manufacturing as a career option.
- Skilled Careers in Life Sciences (SCILS) is a four-region partnership, currently funded by a U.S. Department of Labor grant to the Boston PIC/EDIC, focused on providing training and internships in the biotech/life sciences industry.
Metro North One-Stop Career Centers
The Metro North Regional Employment Board charters two career centers, both operated by Middlesex Community College, to serve the 20-community Metro North region: Career Source in Cambridge and Chelsea (CONNECT), and The Career Place in Woburn. In Metro North, the career centers operate as businesses, not as traditional workforce development programs; prospective operators submit business plans, not proposals, for consideration. REB staff work closely with career center operators to ensure that their business plans are fully implemented.
In order to assess career center performance, the REB reviews performance reports and customer satisfaction survey results, as well as convenes the Consumer Advisory Group to solicit feedback on services directly from customers (job seekers, training seekers, and employers). Each center must go through a formal review process once a year and meet performance criteria in order to be funded for the following year.
Membership of the Workforce Development Board
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) prescribes who must serve on each local Workforce Development Board. The goal is to appoint a diverse Board that adequately represents the interests of both business and workers, infuses decision-making and strategic development with private-sector practices, and ensures that stakeholders play a part in the formation and implementation of local workforce development strategies. WDB membership must have a majority of business representatives, therefore 51% of the Board must be made up of private-sector members, with priority given to representatives of critical and emerging industries. Other members include local education entities, organized labor, community-based organizations, economic development agencies, and each of the One-Stop Career Center partners.
For a current list of our Board members and their affiliations, please visit: http://mnreb.org/board_staff.php.