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Verizon Executive Heads New Workforce Board

Posted on February 29, 2016

A Verizon executive who last year co-chaired the Associated Industries of Massachusetts centennial will lead a new state panel charged with improving the Massachusetts work-force development system.

Cupelo.jpgVerizon New England Region President Donna Cupelo will chair the Massachusetts Workforce Development Board, created by Governor Charlie Baker in December to improve the accountability of the state’s One-Stop Career Centers and regional workforce boards. The board will also include three members of the AIM Board of Directors and several representatives of AIM-member employers.

“The Workforce Development Board will allow us to reimagine how we create skill-building programs across the state,” Baker said while swearing in board members last Thursday.

“Our administration is focused on driving economic growth and creating new job opportunities by designing programs that meet the demands of businesses in each region, and give workers the skills they need to fill job openings.”

The primary task of the board will be to ensure that the commonwealth’s far-flung training programs develop the skills demanded by employers.  The board will also recommend strategies to promote workforce participation of women, people of color, veterans, and persons with disabilities across industry sectors.

The Workforce Development Board reconstitutes the former Workforce Investment Board by reducing its membership from 65 to 33 members and ensuring the makeup of the board complies with federal requirements under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The board will consist of 17 business representatives and seven work force representatives ” including four representatives from community-based organizations and two from labor, one of which is chosen by the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE).

Executive Branch representatives from the Executive Offices of Labor and Workforce Development, Health and Human Services, Housing and Economic Development and Education will also serve in addition to the governor’s designee, two state legislators and two local government representatives.

WIOA was signed into law by the President on July 22, 2014 replacing the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, with the goal to transform the nation’s workforce system and to invest in a skilled workforce.

In addition to Cupelo, AIM members serving on the board include:

  • Joanne Berwald, an AIM director and vice president of human resources at Mestek Inc., a global HVAC manufacturer in Westfield.
  • Anne Broholm, also an AIM director and chief executive officer of AHEAD, LLC, which provides a variety of products to the golf industry.
  • Gerard E. Burke is the president and CEO of Hillcrest Educational Centers Inc., a role he has held since 1992.
  • Susan Mailman is the owner and president of Coghlin Electrical Contractors, Inc., a fourth generation family-owned electrical, telecommunications, and networking business located in Worcester.
  • Joanne M. Pokaski is director of workforce development at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
  • Elizabeth Williams, an AIM director and president and CEO of Roxbury Technology Corp., a Boston-based company that remanufactures recycled inkjet and laser toner printer cartridges.

“Finding employees with the requisite skills to succeed in the global economy is the dominant concern of Massachusetts employers in 2016. We’re delighted that Donna Cupelo will chair the new Workforce Development Board with the able collaboration of so many gifted employers,” said Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of Associated Industries of Massachusetts.