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Massachusetts employees need training, childcare, equity, report finds

The Future of Work Commission meets at the Massachusetts Statehouse.
Office of Sen. Eric Lesser
The Future of Work Commission meets at the Massachusetts Statehouse.

Massachusetts will need to re-train thousands of employees to keep up with changes in the workplace brought on by the pandemic, a focus on social and racial issues and rapidly evolving technology. These are some of the findings in a new report from the Future of Work Commission.

Democratic state Sen. Eric Lesser of Longmeadow co-chaired the commission with state Rep. Josh S. Cutler, a Pembroke Democrat.

“(About) 300,000 to 400,000 jobs are going to face displacement in Massachusetts in the coming years, and it's going to disproportionately impact women, Black and Hispanic workers to the greatest degree,” Lesser said.

The 53-page report highlights the need to place an emphasis on equity and inclusion, expand existing workforce training, keep up with modern technology and offer alternatives to traditional degrees and certifications.

Harry Dumay, president of Elms College and a member of the commission, said one recommendation is to offer shorter training programs for workers that also count towards college credits, also known as stackable credentials.

“Both stackable skills as well as general education are necessary to help workers in this environment in which they will have multiple jobs, if not multiple careers, in the future,” Dumay said.

Dumay said issues such as childcare, transportation and the digital divide will also have to be addressed.

The commission is made up of 17 members from across the state, including political officials and people specializing in everything from workforce development to education and health.

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