Mass Workforce AssoiationOn February 8, 2024, the first ever Workforce Advocacy Academy graduates presented their workforce policy briefings at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Lawmakers and their staff, MWA members and supporters, and other invited guests were among those in attendance.

Created by the Massachusetts Workforce Association (MWA), the Advocacy Academy was made available thanks to a design grant from SkillWorks. In partnership with Black Lion Strategies, the MWA convened a cohort of 10 individuals from across Massachusetts for policy and advocacy training sessions held from October to December 2023. The Academy’s mission was to train a diverse network of professionals in workforce-related advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels. Academy participants gained communication and advocacy skills, were introduced to the federal and state workforce systems, and participated in experiential learning opportunities.

Four teams of participants tackled the workforce topics of youth employment, dismantling occupational segregation, supporting untapped talent, and employer engagement.

Select any image to view larger.

Policy Project Group Presentations

  • Team 1: Youth Employment
    • Alicia Smith, Director of Employment Services, Perkins School for the Blind
    • Colleen Lanza, Center Director, Shriver Job Corps Center
    • Bruce Mendelsohn, Resource Development Coordinator, MassHire Central Workforce Board
  • Team 2: Dismantling Occupational Segregation
    • Beth Griffith, Founder, Renewable Renegades
  • Team 3: Supporting Untapped Talent
    • Ramona Rivera-Reno, Executive Director of Reentry and Recovery Programs, MassHire Holyoke Workforce Board
    • Kira Khazatsky, CEO, JVS Boston
    • Asiala Rivera, CEO, CCR Freight Logistics LLC
  • Team 4: Employer Engagement
    • Marisol Carmona, Program Specialist, Perkins School for the Blind
    • Jacqueline Sylvia, Communications Manager and Regional Healthcare Sector Program Manager, MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board
    • Jibrael Younis, Operations Manager, MassHire Central Career Center