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News & Announcements

Sunny Schwartz Named New REB Executive Director (May, 2016)


The REB Executive Committee is delighted to announce that following a comprehensive search, Sunny Schwartz has been selected to serve as the REB’s new Executive Director. Sunny will succeed Linda Bass, who has recently retired after 27+ years of dedicated service with the REB.


Sunny's extensive experience in workforce development includes establishing and cultivating strong employer partnerships, serving key roles in the areas of non-profit management and leadership, and developing programs in adult basic education, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and workforce training. She has also partnered with various officials to increase funding and support of such initiatives. Sunny has worked for the state’s quasi-public workforce development agency, Commonwealth Corporation, and for the past eleven years has served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Asian American Civic Association in Boston. She holds a Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


Working with the Board, staff and partners, Sunny’s skills and commitment will support the REB in its next phase under the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. On her new role, she comments, “I am thrilled to join the team of the Metro North REB and to work with the talented staff and Board to reduce unemployment and poverty in the region while addressing businesses critical workforce needs.”


Sunny will officially begin on June 1, 2016, at which time she may be reached at: and 617-864-1570. Until then, REB Associate Director Peter Farkas will serve as REB Interim Director.

Board Elects New Chair, Vice Chair (May, 2016)

The REB is pleased to announce that REB members Sandra Smith of Microsoft, and Lisa Amaya Price of Biogen Idec, have been elected to the positions of REB Chair, and Vice Chair, respectively. 

Sandra Smith, REB Chair, is the Site Human Resources Leader for Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Center, affectionately known as the NERD. Sandra has 20+ years of HR/talent experience in life sciences and high tech industries, working for both start-up and multinational companies. She is passionate about developing people, teams and organizations, and would continue to do this work even if she won the lottery. She has an undergraduate degree in Government from Harvard College and is a graduate of the MIT Sloan School Greater Boston Executive Program. She founded the Kendall Square High Tech HR Forum and serves on the Women@NERD Board. Sandra is a mom of three and who loves to garden, refurbish things, and needs “bubble tea” on a hard day.  From Sandra: “I am excited and honored to serve as the Chair with Sunny, Lisa, the MNREB, staff members, and our many partners to develop and support win-win approaches that will serve both those who are un/underemployed in our region, and the local economy.”

Lisa Amaya Price, REB Vice Chair, is Senior Director, Human Resources Business Leader at Biogen, where since 2012 she has led HR for the company’s medical affairs function, made up of over 500 employees in 29 countries. Lisa is incredibly inspired by working at the intersection of business and inclusion, and grateful for the many opportunities she has had to do this kind of work at Biogen.  Prior to her current role, she held the position of director of global talent acquisition programs. In prior roles at Biogen, she was responsible for developing and implementing strategic talent acquisition programs including university relations, onboarding, contingent workforce management, employer marketing strategy, global mobility and talent acquisition operations.  In 2011, Lisa cofounded Biogen’s Women’s Innovation Network and launched the company’s first Diversity & Inclusion function. Lisa joined Biogen in 2008 as the lead global HR Business Partner for Information Technology, Supply Chain, Engineering, and Technical Development. Prior to Biogen, Lisa held HR leadership roles with global companies in the media & communications and high technology industries, including positions with Weber Shandwick, Metro International, and Keane, Inc.  In addition to her HR career, Lisa spent several years teaching English and playing music around the world.  She received her MBA, summa cum laude, in global management from the F.W. Olin School of Business at Babson College in 2005, and also holds an MA in Teaching from Simmons College in Boston, MA. She received her BA in Music, summa cum laude, from Bard College.

Welcome Returning REB Member, Antonio de la Serna! (March, 2016)

The REB is very pleased to announce that Antonio de La Serna, who previously served as Vice Chair of the Metro North REB, has recently returned as a member of the Board.  Antonio is a research and development engineer at DRAPER.  He holds an MSEE from the University of California, Davis and is a California Predoctoral Fellow and a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow. Antonio has worked for several high-tech companies in the semiconductor market in both the U.S. and Canada, and he founded Simile, a consulting and research company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Antonio has published a dozen technical papers in digital signal processing and has developed inventions in bioinformatics, hardware security, compiler design, and reconfigurable computing.  In 2011, Antonio was nominated for the 2011 Musoff Mentor Award and for the Task Leader of the Year at DRAPER.

Antonio serves on the Steering Committee of the IEEE Midwest Symposium on Circuits and Systems and is the Co-Chair of IEEE MWSCAS 2017, to be held in Boston and co-hosted by Tufts University and DRAPER. After founding two professional chapters and four student chapters of MAES: Latinos in Science & Engineering, Antonio served as the Region 4 Vice President on the MAES National Board of Directors in 2012. Antonio is a recipient of the prestigious MAES Medalla de Oro.  Antonio was also a lead founder of the Massachusetts Council of STEM Professional Societies and has served as a Massachusetts delegate to the College and Career Readiness Workshop of the Next Generation Science Standards.

Antonio has participated in the Hispanic Advisory Committee of Big Brothers / Big Sisters of Boston, he has been a member of the Industry Advisory Council for Minority Education at MIT, and he currently serves on the Industry Advisory Board for the Center for STEM Diversity at Tufts University.  Antonio previously served on the Industry Advisory Board of Beyond Benign, a green chemistry education nonprofit. Antonio is a past vice president of the Boston chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), a past vice president of Engineers Week - New England, and has been a 27-year member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Beyond his distinguished engineering career, Antonio has also completed 17 marathons and several triathlons in the U.S. and Canada.

EOHED Awards Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium $220k (December 8, 2015)

The Metro North REB is pleased to announce that on December 3, 2015, the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (NAMC), in which the Metro North REB is a member, was awarded a $220k grant from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. The Metro North REB will be the lead on this grant, which will be used to support the advanced manufacturing industry through increasing the pipeline of job seekers to emtering the Advanced Manufacturing industry. Part of a $1.5M program that has been awarded to ten workforce development teams from across Massachusetts, the grants will focus on specific demographic groups that experience higher than average unemployment rates, as well as those who are traditionally underrepresented in the manufacturing industry.  During the awards ceremony, Governor Baker remarked, “The Commonwealth continues to be a national leader in advanced manufacturing, and the sector is an important component of the state’s overall economic health…these grants will create additional opportunities for training and growth, and will help connect residents to good-paying jobs, while meeting the increasing demand for a skilled manufacturing workforce.”

Advanced Manufacturing Regional Meeting and Networking Event Drew Over 150 Industry Leaders and Job Seekers


The Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (NAMC), of which the Metro North REB is a member, recently joined forces with the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative (AMC) to host a unique meeting and networking event focused on advanced manufacturing. This two-part event, held in Lowell, MA on October 26, 2015, convened over 100 leaders from throughout Northeastern Massachusetts to discuss strategies for creating a sustained and thriving manufacturing industry in Massachusetts, followed by a networking session in which over 60 job seekers attended. Pictured at left, NAMC Partners Mary Sarris, Gail Brown, Linda Bass and Rafael Abislaiman (l-r).

Kevin Murphy, manager of the City of Lowell, welcomed participants to the meeting portion of the event, followed by comments from Jacqueline Maloney, Chancellor of UMass Lowell, and Steven Tamasi of Boston Centerless and NAMC.  Ronald L. Walker III, Secretary, Executive Office of Labor and workforce Development, gave the keynote address. Three separate panel discussions explored the following subjects: The Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium and its role in filling the workforce pipeline with skilled workers; Massachusetts Innovation Grants, a state initiative to help assist manufacturers working on product and process innovation; and practical information for employers regarding the Workforce Training Fund.   

Following the Regional Meeting, employers and job seekers met in a structured and timed group format.  Employers had the opportunity to discuss their companies and workforce needs; job seekers were invited to discuss their skills, ask questions, and distribute resumes. The event was part of a broader effort to promote sustained collaborations between industry, academia, and workforce development to provide sustained support to the manufacturing industry in northeastern Massachusetts. [Pictured at left, NAMC Consortium Manager Robin Dion (l) and Brian Norris].


The Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (NAMC) is a collaboration among industry, academia, and workforce development that was established to define and implement a strategy to meet the needs of the advanced manufacturing industry within the Northeast region of Massachusetts.  The Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative (AMC), established by the Patrick Administration, is a group comprised of leaders from industry, academia and government – to help inform, implement, and evaluate state policies to support the competitiveness of Massachusetts manufacturers. 


Welcome New REB Member Valerie Sutton!

Valerie Sutton, Director of Career Services, Harvard Graduate School of Education, is a thought leader in career theory and student services in university settings. An experienced career coach within the MBA and education sectors, she has an expertise in applying research to practice, by utilizing technology to help create a "career consciousness" with her clients. As a Director of the Career Services Office, she has oversight of services that reach over 900 students annually at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Valerie's prior experience includes the Fox School of Business at Temple University, the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania, and the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Valerie is qualified in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, CareerLeader assessment, and has knowledge of the Strengthsfinder assessment. Her interest is in training and development of individuals and teams in managing their career progression and understanding market demands, as it relates to recruitment and retention of employees. Through the use of career theory and coaching techniques, her goal is to teach individuals to take the initiative and lead the success of their own career. Welcome Valerie!

New! Metro North STEM Network Brochure

The Metro North STEM Network is a strategic alliance between education, business, workforce development, and the community to promote 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 the regional STEM activities in congruence with the MA STEM Plan 2.0, an initiative of the Governor’s STEM Avisory Council.  For more information, download the brochure.


New!  Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium Brochure!

The Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortum (NAMC) is a collaboration among industry, academia, and workforce development that was established to define and implement strategies to meet the needs of the advanced manufacturing industry within the Northeast region of Massachusetts.  To learn more about NAMC's mission, partners, membership benefits for employers, and contact information, please visit the online brochure by clicking here.


Fifth Annual Metro North STEM Event a Huge Success! (May, 2015)

The Metro North Regional Employment Board, through its role as lead of the Metro North STEM Network, recently joined forces with Cambridge Science Festival recently joined forces to host the fifth annual Metro North STEM event, "From Classroom to Career: Discover In-Demand STEM Jobs and Career Pathways!"  Held at the Microsoft New England Research and Development (NERD) Center in Cambridge on April 23rd, the event brought together over 130 parents and children, as well as representatives from business, schools, training providers, community colleges, and career centers. Facebook’s Ryan Mack, as well as Daniel Theobald of Vecna, kicked off the events of the day with a welcome address, and were followed by speakers from local, cutting-edge companies including Microsoft, Biogen Idec, Google, and CDM Smith. In a timed, roundtable format, each professional spoke about what a typical day is like, career qualifications, and key job highlights and challenges. The positions represented at the event – which reflected the STEM areas of Information Technology; Life Sciences; Healthcare; Advanced Manufacturing; and Engineering – were chosen in large part because they are all currently in-demand in the region, and also each represent one step on a viable career pathway in STEM. The event was developed by REB Associate Director Meelynn Wong, with guidance and support from the Metro North STEM Network.  For more information about the Metro North STEM Network, please visit:

Metro North One-Stop Career Centers 2015 Legislative Report

Please click here to access the Metro North One-Stop Career Centers 2015 Legislative Report, which highlights the remarkable accomplishments of the Metro North One-Stop Career Centers.

MA Establishes Storm Loan Fund for Small Businesses

The Baker-Politico Administration has announced a lending program to help small business that may have lost revenue to due to the unprecedented recent storm and cold weather conditions. The low-interest loans will be range from $5k to $10k, and the total amount of funding available for this program is $1M. For the news release, please visit:  for information on applying, please visit:

DCS Awarded U.S. DOL Grant on Behalf of Metro North REB, and Central MA and North Central WIBs (February, 2015)

The REB is pleased to announce that the MA Department of Career Services (DCS) has recently been awarded a Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) grant, on behalf of the Metro North REB, the North Central MA WIB, and the Central MA WIB. The grant is part of a $15M U.S. Department of Labor program that is designed to support strategies that will serve to increase the number of people with disabilities who are engaged in the public workforce system. The REB will use its share of the grant, approximately $530k, to support workforce training and placement efforts for people with disabilities in the Metro North region. The REB’s workforce partners in this effort include the Metro North One-Stop Career Centers -- Career Source in Cambridge and Chelsea, and The Career Place in Woburn -- as well as Triangle, Inc., based in Malden.  These organizations will work in concert with local education providers, including Bunker Hill Community College, who will provide training, to approximately 100 individuals with disabilities, for positions within the growing sectors of hospitality and healthcare. The grant will address the employment needs of both young adults and adults.  With a focus on recruitment, case management, and placement, Triangle, Inc. will work with high school students to prepare them for their first career, and the Metro North One-Stop Career Centers will work with adults who are seeking employment.  The U.S. DOL established this program in 2014, citing the many untapped opportunities that exist for people with disabilities in today’s workforce.  In a May 2014 press release, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez stated, “People with disabilities have enormous contributions to make to our economy, and they are still disproportionately represented among the unemployed.”

 Metro North REB, Fresh Pond Mall, 186 Alewife Brook Parkway, Suite 216, Cambridge, MA 02138