MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board

For Immediate Release:

New Bedford, MA–February 1, 2022

MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board Awarded $2.9 Million in Local and Regional Healthcare Grants in the First Half of FY’22

This January MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce, as the lead partner for MassHire Southeast Region 6 Workforce Boards, received approval for $524,000 in funding from the Behavioral Health Partnership Expansion Grant issued by the Commonwealth Corporation (CommCorp). Working closely with organizations that offer community-based behavioral health and substance/opioid use disorder treatments, the Boards’ effort will improve the number of qualified mental health professionals throughout the Southeast Massachusetts. Composed of a multifaceted approach, the initiative includes entry-level training for unemployed individuals, career track advancements for existing workers, and funding to assist those in need of supervision hours as they work toward licensure in the behavioral and substance abuse field. A portion of the funding will also be used for strategic planning to address longstanding employee recruitment and retention challenges in the behavioral and substance/opioid treatment sector within the workforce development areas of MassHire Greater New Bedford, Bristol, Greater Brockton and South Shore Boards.

This project is funded by a Behavioral Health Partnership Expansion Grant through the MassHealth Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Statewide Investment Program and RIZE Massachusetts Foundation, Inc. and is administered by the Commonwealth Corporation.

Dave Slutz, MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Development Board Chair, stated, “This award will enhance our efforts in the healthcare sector and is a great extension of the current healthcare training being done regionally through The CommCorp Healthcare Workforce Hubs Grant and locally with our recent award from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide training and employment services to people and their families affected by the opioid crisis.”

Following a 6-month planning grant initiative of $19K, MassHire GNB, as the regional Workforce Board lead, was awarded $381K earlier this summer for healthcare training initiatives throughout Southeastern Massachusetts. This funding is providing cohort-based training for the direct care occupations of Nursing Assistant, Home Health Aide, and Medical Assistant and includes a customized workshop in cultural competency. Training for incumbent workers will focus on cultural competency and leadership development based on substantive surveys conducted throughout the region. MassHire Southeast Region 6 Career Centers have begun recruitment for these free training programs. Unemployed persons or healthcare employers interested in participating should contact Jacqueline Sylvia at (508) 979-1504 extension 116 or email jacqueline@mhgnb.com for information.

This project is funded by a Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly Workforce Success Grant (Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund FY’20 Appropriation) through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and is administered by the Commonwealth Corporation.

Mr. Slutz added, “This healthcare effort has positioned the Workforce Board to develop proven strategies to attract grant funding for other key training initiatives.”

In a local award, the U.S. Department of Labor earlier this year approved a two-year grant in the amount of two million dollars ($2,000,000) for MassHire GNB Workforce Board to provide training and employment services to victims of opioid abuse in the greater New Bedford area. This grant is one of three grants across the state to address the high incidence rate of opioid abuse, which is considered a national emergency. It is designed to assist former opioid users to access training, potentially attain “recovery coach” status and enable them to work in our community helping others address their addictions. The grant also provides training funds to others who may have been affected by addiction such as family members to pursue living wage career pathways as a means of offering alternative mainstream jobs.

While the grant is under the purview of the MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board, the Board is working very closely with several community partners to provide outreach, counseling, and training services necessary for the road to recovery. The crucial partners are the MassHire Division of Career Services (MDCS), Positive Action Against Chemical Addiction (PAACA), Massachusetts Fishing Partnership Support Services (FPSS), Bristol County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) and the City of New Bedford Health Department (NBHD).

To continue to effectively address substance abuse challenges requires a dedicated team. We are honored that the decision by the U.S. Department of Labor to award these funds is a recognition of the strong collaboration that exists among our local agencies working together to assist those ready to change their lives.

If you have been affected by the opioid crisis and would like to get trained to work in the industry to help others or work in the private sector, please call 508.203.1822 NOW. Bi-lingual assistance is available.

Our local name is “Greater New Bedford Recovery Works”. Check us out on FB https://www.facebook.com/recoveryworksgnb and our website RecoveryWorksGNB.org.

MassHire Programs & Services are funded in part by US Department of Labor (USDOL) Employment and Training Administration grants as well as non-federal funded grants. (Additional details furnished upon request.)