Thousands of people are in need of new work as the job market continues to pick up in Massachusetts, creating a high demand for job training services. But like many other industries, these programs have taken a big financial hit during the pandemic.
Massachusetts lost 250,000 jobs permanently, according to some estimates. Subsequently, hundreds of thousands of people are now trying to transition to new jobs and even new fields, putting a big strain on employment services and training programs.
Folks at Jewish Vocational Services said they've been meeting the demand head-on and quickly had to pivot to re-employment assistance. They've seen a significant uptick in people looking for help in the last year, with many people looking to move away from jobs in areas like hospitality into health sciences.
One woman said her job, which was focused on event planning, was eliminated. Gail Rogers is currently receiving job training as she attempts to search for work and sharpen her skills.
“People have lost their positions for a year plus, so it really helps boost your confidence when you develop those new skills," Rogers said. "And I think it helps prepare you to go out there and search into the world of employment”
The job services sector is pushing to ensure it receives the federal funding it needs to keep up with demand.
“There's been a lot of great help. The PPP loans have been a lifeline but frankly the financial challenges are still there," said Jim Klocke of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. "We need to do more to keep the sector strong and this in turn will support more jobs and help more people get back on their feet.”