The single biggest issue that the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce staff hears from our broad membership base on a regular basis — regardless of the member companies’ size or sector of the economy that they operate in — is the need for skilled and motivated employees.
As a result, the WRCC is heavily involved in and leading a variety of workforce development initiatives to assist our member businesses and provide economic opportunity for area residents.
One of those initiatives is the Alliance for Vocational Technical Education, which was launched in 2015 by the WRCC, Massachusetts Community Action Network and Massachusetts Alliance for Vocational School Administrators.
The creation of AVTE followed a successful statewide summit on vocational technical education held by the three organizations in 2014, which brought stakeholders from across the state to Worcester’s DCU Center to discuss strategies to expand access to the high-quality Chapter 74 vocational/technical programs offered by our vocational technical schools and increasingly by our traditional comprehensive high schools as well.
Since 2015 through strong advocacy and collaboration, AVTE has been able to secure funding to expand access to vocational technical programs across the state and reduce the statewide waiting list of students seeking to participate in these successful programs.
During the past 12 months, AVTE — working with the Baker-Polito administration and state Legislature — helped secure funding for the following:
• Capital Skills Grant Program — For more than