Governor Deval Patrick today proposed to fully fund the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund Program (WTFP) at $21 million for Fiscal Year 2012 while shifting the program into a trust fund that would remove it from future budget deliberations.
WTFP is the primary program through which Massachusetts funds initiatives to train and educate workers. It has provided $193.2 million in grants since its inception to some 2,500 Massachusetts employers to train 277,351 workers.
The governor’s budget comes as welcome news to workers and employers alike after three consecutive years in which the WTFP has operated with less than full funding. The program has approximately $19 million available this fiscal year after being cut in half during Fiscal Years 2010 and 2009.
A full appropriation of $21 million is important because Massachusetts employers pay for the program though a surcharge on Unemployment Insurance bills. Using less than $21 million to help employers train new or incumbent workers amounts to an unnecessary diversion of that money.
As president of Associated Industries of Massachusetts and Chair of the state's Workforce Training Fund Advisory Council, I commend Governor Patrick for his commitment to the type of training that will lead the commonwealth out of the worst recession in 50 years. One of the greatest challenges facing Massachusetts is the gap between the skills our workers have and the skills they need to succeed in the global economy.
We agree with President Obama’s comments during the State of the Union address that education and training will play a key role in maintaining U.S. competitiveness.
WTFP is currently accepting applications for its next round of funding from employers seeking to train new or incumbent workers. It’s a great opportunity for companies to secure some financial support for training initiatives to boost employee productivity and improve skill levels. Contact Bill Baldino here at AIM (617.899.4951, firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.