“I am proud that we have been able to successfully re-invest our City’s economic gains into the workers who make up the backbone of our economy,” said Mayor Martin Walsh. “A stronger workforce makes for a stronger Boston, now and in the future.”
The NJT, created in 1987, collects linkage fees, based on square footage, from large-scale commercial developments being built in the city. Stewarded by the OWD, this money is invested annually in jobs and job training programs. NJT funds are specifically intended to benefit lower-income Boston residents facing multiple barriers to employment.
“The Neighborhood Jobs Trust is a valuable instrument for transforming Boston’s construction boom into critical workforce gains for residents,” said Trinh Nguyen, NJT trustee and director of the OWD. “We want to make sure that Bostonians’ educational and career attainment rises with their skyline.”
Over the course of Fiscal Year 2015, the OWD awarded over $1 million in NJT funds to 20 training programs in industries as diverse as the hospitality, health care, construction, culinary, early education, and banking & finance sectors. Of the 336 Boston residents who participated in NJT-funded programs, 90 percent completed their training. Collectively, NJT-funded programs are 79% of the way toward completing their goal of 217 participants placed.
Project Hope, a program of Little Sisters of the Assumption, is one of several programs highlighted in the report. The organization, which works specifically with low-income and homeless women, used NJT funds to provide job training in the healthcare industry.
With the help of her Project Hope training, graduate Danisha Jean-Baptiste secured a job as a staff assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital. “I can guarantee that had I attempted to do this on my own, had I turned away from guidance and support, I would not be here heading in the direction I am heading in now,” she said.
Many NJT-funded programs focus their services on specific industries and populations-in-need. The International Institute of Boston, for example, prepared new immigrants for the service industry, while the New England Center and Home for Veterans trained veterans for jobs as security officers and commercial drivers.
NJT funds can help workforce organizations leverage other funding sources. SkillWorks, a public-private partnership that matches workers with businesses’ employment needs, received $900,000 from community partners in FY15 to match its NJT dollars.
In addition to its funded job training programs, the NJT impact report highlights a unique contribution made to the trust by the developer of the Aloft and Element hotels in South Boston. Using the jobs creation contribution option, developer CV Properties funded the participation of 42 residents in BEST Corp’s hospitality training program and committed to hiring at least 29 of the graduates in the development’s new hotels.
“The beauty of the Neighborhood Jobs Trust is that it leads to actual jobs,” said Mark Ciommo, NJT trustee and Boston city councilor. “And not just any jobs. The trust specifically seeks to fund programs that develop career pathways to permanent, well-paying, quality employment.”
Of the Boston residents served by NJT-funded programs over the most recent fiscal year, 92 percent were people of color and 81 percent held a high school degree or less. While a high concentration of program participants hailed from Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan, residents from every neighborhood in Boston were helped by NJT-funded programs.
The OWD is an affiliate of the Boston Redevelopment Authority.