Low-income individuals who do not speak English as a first language face many challenges in trying to obtain meaningful full-time positions with stable wages and the potential for upward mobility. Many first and second generation immigrants lack the necessary English skills (both verbal and written) to obtain full-time employment in key industry sectors or to excel in careers. Many of these people also have not completed accredited degree or certificate programs that would qualify them for certain jobs.
What was the problem?
What is the solution?
Mayor Kim Driscoll helped create an occupational skills training program in Salem, Massachusetts aimed at low-income, unemployed or underemployed non-native English speakers that focuses first on key career skills (i.e. Microsoft Office and general computer skills) and then on specific emerging industry sectors.
The City partnered with the regional Workforce Investment Board and Career Center, the community college system, local major healthcare employers (two major hospitals), and other community level stakeholders to help make this program a success . The program has already successfully matched many of these individuals to full-time
employment in its first year and Mayor Driscoll is hopeful for expanding the program to reach more participants.