MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board News

As spring marks the fourth quarter of FY21, we are pleased to share with you some of the many things happening here at MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board, at our Career Center, in the Commonwealth, and beyond.

We welcome your feedback and thank our staff and partners for their contributions.

David Slutz, Chair
James Oliveira, Executive Director
MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board Welcomes New Staff

Joseph Lopes
Deputy Executive Director
Joe Lopes joins the MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board after a long career as a Vice President Commercial Loan Officer and current City Councilman. Joe is a New Bedford native and a proud graduate of the New Bedford Public School system. After graduating from New Bedford High School, Joe attended and graduated from Bristol Community College, majoring in Business Management, and also the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth where he earned his Bachelors of Arts Degree in Political Science. He is also a graduate of Johnson and Wales University where he earned his Master in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business.

Joe is currently serving his sixth term as City Councilor for Ward 6 and has been elected four times as City Council President. He was first elected to the New Bedford City Council in November 2009 and was elected the 2014 City Council President. He has also been the chair of various council committees and is an active member of several local community organizations. Joe looks forward to continuing to contribute to his New Bedford Community with the MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board where he has the opportunity to utilize his 17 years of expertise in the areas of business, networking, and general needs of the community.

Taylor Nichols-Xavier
Program Monitor and Administrative Assistant

After many years with the MassHire Greater New Bedford Career Center, Taylor Nichols-Xavier is eager to utilize her array of expertise in serving the Greater New Bedford Region’s job seekers in a new capacity here at the MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board. Taylor began her career as a graduate of Dartmouth High School and the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology. During the summer of 2013, Taylor was offered an opportunity to work as an Administrative Assistant for the New Directions Southcoast Youth Summer Jobs Program. Upon officially returning home from college, Taylor earned a promotion as a Youth Case Manager for New Directions Southcoast, Inc. in December 2016. Taylor has been cross trained in many aspects of the MassHire Career Center in both the youth and adult capacity and has much knowledge of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) policies and procedures. This knowledge, and many years of cross training, will prove advantageous in her new position at the Workforce Board as the Program Monitor and Administrative Assistant. Taylor looks forward to continuing to support the MassHire initiative by providing opportunities for our region’s job seekers and serving the local community and employer needs.
National Apprenticeship Act 2021 Gains Congressional Momentum
Passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in a bipartisan vote, the National Apprenticeship Act 2021 is now headed to the Senate with high expectations for enactment. It will provide historic funding to further develop our nation’s workforce in meeting the competitive demands of a world economy.
A Long-Proven and Evolving Program:
Initially launched in 1937, Bill HR447 further invests $3.5 Billion into the U.S. Apprenticeship System with a focus on the nation’s growing Registered Apprenticeship Program. Funding will greatly enhance, expand, and streamline the already successful Program which now encompasses 1,500 occupations across 170 industries while preserving job quality and labor standards. Earlier Program transformation began in 2014 with a $1 Billion investment resulting in the creation of one million new Apprentices during the last seven years. The 2021 Act will provide sustained funding over the next five years, giving millions more career-minded Americans “learn as you earn” opportunities for skill development and economic prosperity.
Expansion Industries Targeted:
While apprenticeships have flourished in trade occupations for many decades, the primary emphasis of 2021 Act funding will be promoting and supporting the Program within promising “Expansion Industries” that offer Apprentices higher wages, job security, and career advancement. Such employment sectors include Health Care, Cyber Security, Environmental Protection, Computer Science, Renewable Energy, and Advanced Manufacturing among others. The Program will also fund occupations related to the nation’s recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as proposed national infrastructure improvements.

Apprenticeship Opportunities:
Beyond the 2021 Act’s central performance goal of helping adults transition into highly skilled workers, the Program aims to expand opportunities significantly at every level of the apprenticeship development model with greater emphasis on Youth Apprenticeships and Pre-Apprenticeship Programs. Apprenticeship resources will be applied that equally benefits women, people of color, veterans, the disabled, and other persons facing barriers to employment.

Employers… explore the possibilities of how the Registered Apprenticeship Program can supplement your existing workforce planning strategy. Contact Rick Marshall, our Apprenticeship Integration Manager, at 774-425-4092 or by email

Find out more. >>>
Spring's Partner Spotlight:
Massachusetts Workforce Association (MWA)

The Massachusetts Workforce Association (MWA) is a statewide membership association that leads, advocates and convenes on behalf of the Massachusetts workforce development system.
MWA is composed of an array of partners and stakeholders, including the MassHire Career Centers and Workforce Boards, and serves as the unified voice for the Commonwealth’s workforce development system. Led by a 15-member Board of private sector leaders in business, nonprofit, labor and workforce development, MWA strives to ensure our workforce system is responsive to the dynamic demands of businesses, job seekers, incumbent workers, and youth. Working on behalf of its members, MWA serves the Commonwealth’s workforce system at the federal, state, and local levels with testimony, legislative visits, state agency engagement, and advocacy for workforce related issues.
Benefits for all MWA members include:
  • Access to in-person and virtual training and networking opportunities.
  • MWA’s monthly Workforce Connections newsletter, with the latest policy news, funding opportunities, and system updates.
  • Access to the MWA member’s only Quarterly Voice Newsletter.
  • Inclusion in a statewide voice dedicated to innovation and lifting up proven and promising practices in workforce development.
Additional benefits for MWA Affiliate Membership level include event, program, and job postings on the MWA website, program and sponsorship discounts, participation in sub-committees, advisory groups and potential for MWA Board nomination. MWA Champions are eligible for individual  benefits including event sponsorship opportunities, additional discounts and vouchers for training and workshops.
Follow this link for more about MWA membership benefits and how to join. >>>

Meet MWA's Staff

Tonja Mettlach
Executive Director
Tonja Mettlach is the Executive Director of MWA and over her career has worked in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Previously, Tonja was the Director of Government Affairs for the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN). In this role, Tonja led MNN’s state and federal advocacy efforts and collaborated with government officials and external stakeholders on policy issues impacting the nonprofit sector. Tonja previously worked at the MA State House, first as chief of staff to former Representative Tom Conroy on the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development and then as committee counsel for Representative Jennifer Benson, House Chair of the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee. Tonja holds a B.A. and M.S. from Clark University and a J.D. from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University.

Raija Vaisanen 
Associate Director
Raija Vaisanen is the Associate Director of MWA and has more than thirteen years of experience in workforce and economic development policy implementation and applied social science research. Previously, Raija was Director of Research at Commonwealth Corporation; Massachusetts’ quasi-public workforce development agency. Raija also worked for the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development under the Patrick Administration as Project Manager for Manufacturing and Innovation.  From 2007 to 2013, Raija was a researcher in the Economic and Public Policy Research unit at the UMass Donahue Institute. She is a graduate of UMass Amherst (B.A., M.P.P.A.)

Visit >>>
Highlighting the Importance of Soft Skills In An Ever Changing World
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” —Charles Darwin
Education is dominated these days by the emphasis on STEM instruction. Learning hard skills like Math and Science are very important, but in an ever changing work dynamic, soft skills are more important than ever. A combined study between Harvard & Stanford Universities stated that only 15% of your career success is provided by your hard skills, whilst the other 85% of your career success is determined by so-called soft skills.

Recently, the Connecting Activities Partnership has engaged students in the region with workshops designed to give students a better understanding of just how important the intangible soft skills are. Emphasis was placed on personality driven skills like etiquette, getting along with others, listening, positive attitude, time management, and good communication skills.

Part of our goal is to educate students heavily on soft skills, just as much as hard skills are emphasized in the classroom. One student from one of our partner schools had an excellent question asking about which skills are better or more important. Diplomatically, we answered the question by emphasizing that both are equally important and serve different purposes. However, later that day, I read a blurb in some grant research that backs up the 85% statistic mentioned previously. It stated: “Employers are finding that where they struggle is with a lack of employees' preparedness around soft skills.” The majority of employers defined qualified applicants as “being in possession of a strong work ethic and critical thinking skills”!!!!! These quotes were coming from leaders in an emerging industry here in the Greater New Bedford region.

Like we said, soft skills matter. 

MassHire Greater New Bedford Connecting Activities Team
Connecting Activities (CA) is a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education initiative that leverages a statewide infrastructure to support college and career readiness for all students. The CA line item (# 7027-0019) in the state budget, establishes public-private partnerships through the 16 local MassHire Workforce Boards to connect schools and businesses. The initiative provides structured work-based learning experiences for students that support both their academic and employability skill attainment.  Visit for more on Connecting Activities. >>>
Request for Proposals WIOA Out-of-School Programs RFP Greater New Bedford Region Fiscal Year 2022
MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board is seeking robust proposals from educational institutions, training providers, private businesses, labor organizations, trade and professional associations, and social service, faith-based and community-based organizations interested in operating an FY 2021-22 Out-of-School Youth Program.

Follow this link for more details, or contact Brian Silva-Boutwell at, telephone 508.979.1504 x 112.
Career Center

MassHire Greater New Bedford Career Center Certification and Support teams.

Career Center Certification

MassHire Greater New Bedford Career Center successfully completed the Career Center Certification evaluation in early March and was officially certified on Friday, March 5, 2021. A committee led by Jim Oliveira and chaired by Donna Ramos, included John Fernandes, Ron Melbourne, Nelson Abreu, Andrea McLaughlin, and Marie Franqui. During the 2 day evaluation, the certification team members had many questions. The Career Center support team, composed of Elizete Perry and Beth Costa, addressed these with expertise and insight.

The Career Center staff found the process very rewarding and walked away with many new ideas and direction for the Center in the coming years. The team felt the certification process was an outstanding opportunity for growth, learning, and exploring what is next for the MassHire Greater New Bedford Career Center. The evaluation provided an opportunity to reflect on what was done in the past and the improvements made over the last two years. The Career Center expresses many thanks to the volunteer committee for their time and effort in the career center certification. Learn more about our Career Center. >>>

Career Center Success Story

Hello Dr. Daniels,

Please excuse my interruption to your day, but I’m writing with excellent news!


Many thanks to Ms. O’Brien and Ms. Furey in the Greater New Bedford Career Center - they were instrumental in my success!

Ms. O’Brien offered an exceptional resume-writing and proofing webinar, and tailored mine to better fit professions and opportunities that fit within my skill sets.

Ms. Furey was also extremely helpful; so supportive and encouraging in coaching me through rejection, and supporting my progress every step of the way.

The GNBCC team is exceptional, and I’m deeply humbled and grateful to have had the options and resources available to me.

If I may offer any further accolades, it will be my pleasure to do so!

Yours - in employment!!!

Nathan Pierce

Learn more about  MassHire GNB Job Seeker Services. >>>

New BSR for the Career Center

My name is Paul Levesque and I am very excited to join the team here at the MassHire Greater New Bedford Career Center as a Business Service Representative through the WorkPlace. As a little background about myself, I come from the world of agency recruiting. I have worked with candidates and clients in manufacturing, IT, production, and service industries.

During my tenure at Micro Tech Staffing, I was responsible for supervising the Engineering Recruitment team’s efforts. Prior to entering my career in staffing, I graduated UMass Dartmouth with a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a focus on writing.

I currently live in Berkley, MA with my wife, Kate, and our cat, Clementine, and dog, Harley.

Learn more about MassHire GNB Career Center Employer Services. >>>

Thanks to James Daniels, Director MassHire Greater New Bedford Career Center for his contributions.

Southeast Massachusetts Middle and High School Community Invited to Second Annual "Make It In Massachusetts: Manufacturing the Future" Month Long Event
Make history and take part in the second MAKE IT IN MASSACHUSETTS: Manufacturing the Future! Virtual Manufacturing Event. MassHire Workforce Boards across the state are providing an opportunity for students to experience how STEAM is driving cutting edge manufacturing in Massachusetts. This event is supported by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Governor Baker’s office. Both Governor Baker and Secretary Peyser have contributed brief keynotes for the event. 
MAKE IT IN MASSACHUSETTS: Manufacturing the Future virtual event is a statewide collaboration of manufacturers, educators, and community leaders to raise awareness of advanced technology in the world of manufacturing and post-secondary careers utilizing these advanced technologies. 
What you need to know about MAKE IT IN MASSACHUSETTS: Manufacturing the Future Event
  • It is taking place during the entire month of May
  • It is FREE.
  • It comes with a lesson plan for teachers with curated learning experiences for your students.
  • It is designed to flexibly fit into a single class period at any time or day.
  • It can be plugged into a remote, hybrid, or in person content delivery model.
  • It takes approximately 45 minutes for a student to complete the learning activities.
  • It includes a certificate of completion for each student upon finishing the exit ticket, which could be provided to the teacher for accountability.
  • It includes a month long access to the website (available May 1st) that will host edgy content of technology to engage students such as: 3D printing, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Engineering/Design, vignettes of real people in the industry, inspiring women and many more companies highlighting their MA manufactured product
  • NEW ADDITION: Live sessions with Apple that discuss the future of technology in manufacturing!    
Middle or high schools interested in participating can follow this link and sign up to receive the latest information. >>>
Follow this link for a list of free Training Programs
Upcoming Training Programs:


SAMC focuses on connecting manufacturers with the resources for developing a sustainable, talented pipeline of employees. We achieve this by providing input on educating and training for your current and future workforce, and by identifying best practices in advanced manufacturing workforce activities.

Visit today.

Visit SAMC's Calendar page for a complete list of training, workshops, seminars, meetings, and industry events for the advanced manufacturing industry.

View Calendar now! >>>

Submit your news or event! 

MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board accepts workforce and economic development related press releases and upcoming events for consideration.

All submissions are subject to approval by MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board.

Submitted items may appear in our next newsletter and/or be added to our website's news section or event calendar at any time. All press releases must be submitted in digital format and should contain the following information:
  • Organization name and contact information
  • Date of release
  • Press release headline
  • Press release copy
  • Photo, JPG file (if available)

Submit your news to
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Since its inception in 2012, MassHire BizWorks has enhanced and aligned the resources and services available to businesses throughout Massachusetts. Offered by MassHire Department of Career Services’ Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, this initiative partners with agencies in workforce development, economic development, and education to help businesses grow and thrive.

The BizWorks' model offers assistance to employers for every stage of the business cycle. Services are available for business growth, expansion, maintenance, and downsizing.

Interested in learning more about how MassHire BizWorks can help your business? We are happy to schedule a meeting to speak to you further about the various programs available.

Do you have a group of businesses that would like to schedule an informative session? We offer that as well!

Contact MassHire BizWorks in your region for more information.
Statewide Office & Metro Southwest Region
Ken Messina
Boston/Metro North Region
Chuck Bennett
617-661-7867 x 246
Central Region
Sandra Foley
978-534-1481 ext.237

Northeast Region
Norca Disla-Shannon
Southeast Region
Helder Teixeira
Western Region
Carol Snyder
We hope that you found our newsletter to be useful and informative. Your views and feedback are very important to us. Please feel free to send an email to with any comments, suggestions or questions you may have.


The MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board is a business-led, policy-setting board that oversees workforce development initiatives in the ten-community region stretching from Dartmouth to Wareham, MA. Appointed by New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, the Board is composed of business, civic, education, labor, and community leaders.

The workforce board oversees workforce development efforts in Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Freetown, Lakeville, Marion, Mattapoisett, New Bedford, Rochester, and Wareham. The board oversees the MassHire Greater New Bedford Career Center operated jointly by The WorkPlace and the MassHire Division of Career Serves (MDCS).

The Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board is one of 16 similar Boards in Massachusetts. Workforce Investment Boards direct federal, state, and private funding for educational and occupational skills programs.

In addition to responsibilities mandated under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA), Boards have been called upon to play a major role in a variety of workforce initiatives, and to define the board’s goals based on local community needs.

The MassHire Greater New Bedford Career Center serves as a hub of activity focused on connecting job seekers and employers, to meet the employment and career advancement needs of individuals and the workforce needs of businesses. The Career Center dedicated to providing high-quality services in a professional and welcoming environment, including counseling, education, and technology to support job search, and labor market information and recruitment opportunities for businesses.

  • Secured $5,014,400 in Workforce Board grants
  • Facilitated $4,430,200 in Partners grants with an additional $1,350,000 grants still in process
  • Spearheaded initiatives in Manufacturing, Youth Programs, WIOA Planning, Apprenticeship and collaboration in our Regional Labor Market Blueprint 
  • 4308 job seekers and 491 employers served through our Career Center
  • 796 job seekers entered employment with an estimated return to the community of between $10.4M and $24.4M in annual wages
  • Pre-COVID 90 individuals completed manufacturing training in regional Workforce Board sponsored programs. Post-COVID Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development pre-approved $125K in manufacturing grant funds were repurposed for safety training, apprenticeship liaisons, and 2 virtual welding machines with over 40 virtual training modules included.
  • 78% completion rate for WIOA Out-of-School Youth  programs with 4 vendors and 44 participants completing the program
  • Our Connecting Activities Program served 4,500 youth participants throughout 9 schools, with 3 additional schools signing on for 2021
  • Our YouthWorks Summer 2019 served 191 participants at 26 different employer worksites
  • Our SouthEast Cyber Security Program 2019 had an 83% completion rate with 24 student participants and 16+ employer sponsors
  • Initial planning and implementation strategies for a Youth Council coming in FY21

MassHire creates and sustains powerful connections between businesses and job seekers through a statewide network of employment professionals.

MassHire envisions a better future for people and businesses of Massachusetts through meaningful work and sustainable growth.

MassHire promises to champion prosperity, connecting employers with talent and job seekers with tools, services, and connections to achieve meaningful and sustained employment.
    MassHire believes in the power of partnership and streamlined integration of services to achieve effective and timely results for those we serve.
    MassHire is committed to understanding and valuing the diverse, unique requirements and professional goals of the businesses and people we serve.
    MassHire creates trust and reliability by consistently delivering high quality professional services at each location and in every interaction.
    MassHire leverages flexibility, expertise, and knowledge to successfully meet our mission, regardless of new challenges and circumstances.
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