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Growing Skilled Labor a State and Local Goal

On Wednesday, November 15th, Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Lauren Jones (second from right) and Rep. Jeff Roy, (left) met with apprentices (shown) at Tegra Medical, an international medical device manufacturer, at its Franklin location. The state was celebrating Massachusetts Apprenticeship Week (Nov. 12-18) and has invested $3.5 million so far in FY24 to connect individuals to registered apprenticeship.

Local Chamber Launches Skilled Trade
Program; MA Pushes Apprenticeship

By J.D. O’Gara

“Learn a skill. You’ll never go wrong if you learn a skill.”

That’s advice to students from Laura O’Callaghan, President, and CEO of the Tri-County Regional Chamber. She points out that local employers are feeling an acuteneed for skilled workers.

“We get so many calls all the time from members. They’re desperate, they’re crying out for help, and they’re mostly in the skilled trades industry,” says O’Callaghan. The Chamber just this year created the Maximum Impact Foundation - a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Its mission: to support local businesses and programs that foster business growth and entrepreneurship through educational initiatives, training scholarships, and grants. 

O’Callaghan refers to figures that show a decline in skilled trades. 

“At this point in Massachusetts alone, for every three skilled trade businesses that retire, there’s literally only one that’s coming in,” says O’Callaghan, who explains her office’s research at showed a staggering decline in construction license renewals in the state, from 57,000 just a few years ago to 39,000 this year. 

“We recognize the profound effect that local businesses and skilled tradespeople have on our community’s development,” said O’Callaghan, in the new foundation’s sponsorship letter, “We also see the challenges that individuals face when pursuing careers in the mechanical, building & service trades. Due to the increasing cost of education, licensing, tools, and essential training, many aspiring tradespeople find it increasingly difficult to break into these industries.

The Maximum Impact Foundation is holding a Live & Silent Auction Fundraiser to raise money toward its goals on Saturday, December 9th. Dueling for a Cause will take place at 6 p.m. at the Milford Portuguese Club, 119 Prospect Heights in Milford. The night will entail a family style dinner catered by Savini’s Pomodoro, music from the Flying Ivories dueling pianos, dancing and over 100 auction items. Visit for more information.

Speaking to the need for skilled workers, the Healey-Driscoll Administration kicked off Massachusetts Apprenticeship Week (November 12-18), in conjunction with the 9th anniversary of National Apprenticeship Week. The administration hosted a weeklong series of events across the state to highlight the Registered Apprenticeship Program as a key resource for employers to address workforce shortages and encourage residents to pursue apprenticeship pathways in sectors like construction and building trades, life sciences, health and human services, early education, advanced manufacturing, and other industries. 

“The Registered Apprenticeship Program is instrumental to providing residents with the hands-on training and hard skills that lead to a long-lasting, family sustaining careers, while meeting the workforce needs of our state’s employers,” said Governor Maura Healey. “Our investments in Registered Apprenticeships will make the program more accessible to populations that have been underrepresented in the workforce and provides employers with tax credits to expand Registered Apprenticeships in all industries across the state.”  

Currently, 88 percent of apprentices are in the building and construction industry.

 Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Lauren Jones and Rep. Jeff Roy took a trip to Franklin’s Tegra Medical during Massachusetts Apprenticeship Week to meet the company’s apprentices and learn about the career path enabled by Tegra’s apprenticeship program.

“Registered Apprenticeship is a vital tool in the state’s toolbox to help solve the workforce shortages in industries like construction and the building trades, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, finance, and more,” said Jones. “To maintain Massachusetts’ competitive edge, we need to invest in our people—both existing workers and untapped talent—and Registered Apprenticeship is a proven, effective model to build the skilled talent that employers need.”

Roy noted that international companies like Tegra and Plansee, both with sites in Franklin, have taken it upon themselves to invest in training and apprenticeship programs in order to build the workforce they need.

While visiting Tegra Medical, which manufactures medical devicees, Jones said Apprenticeship Week served to “help celebrate apprenticeship programs, both within the building trades and construction, but also in new and expanded areas like we’re celebrating here today at Tegra medical. It’s an opportunity to provide technical training and on-the-job training and clear a pathway for individuals to gain industry- recognized credentials, and certainly a path for a meaningful career.” 

The Healey-Driscoll Administration’s FY24 budget invests $4 million to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion for the state’s construction and building trades and to expand registered apprenticeship in expansion industries. So far in FY24, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development has invested $3.5 million overall to connect 740 individuals to registered apprenticeship. 

For more information about the Commonwealth’s apprenticeship program, visit .

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