Advocacy – The power of a United Voice
The JTA was founded to create a meaningful collective voice to represent and advance the interests of its members and the clients we serve.
As the JTA enables its members to work together in pursuit of common funding and policy goals, magnifying the impact that just individual agencies, each trying with limited resources to influence public funding and policy. The JTA, by aggregating the financial contributions of its members, following a long-term strategic approach, and structuring focused advocacy efforts:
- Leverages the value of the financial investment in advocacy by its membership
- Provides its membership with a framework for focusing advocacy efforts, But above all, it:
- Maximizes the impact of our voice and, of equal importance, demonstrates the presence of the workforce development community and its value to the community
The governing goal of the JTA’s advocacy efforts, at present and in the past, has been securing dependable and predictable public funding for the job training programs and career support services of low-income residents of the Commonwealth
A long-standing focus has been gaining passage of enabling legislation and effective recognition in the commonwealth’s annual budget. With the dramatic expansion of commercial real estate development in Boston, the JTA has actively worked at the local level to increase funding for job training initiatives from the linkage fees paid by developers to the City of Boston.
- JTA members received funding to conduct an impact study, Job Training Works, Pays, and Saves. The study was released at a celebration at the Massachusetts State House with the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, the Commissioner of DTA, and Boston workforce development officials providing remarks on the effectiveness of job training.
- The Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF), an essential funding resource for job training was formerly a special add-on and occasional item in the commonwealth’s budget. JTA contributed to the effort for it to become a fixed line-item
- To ensure that there is funding for the WCTF line-item, the JTA was instrumental in securing passage of the Donnelly bill, which transfers funding from the Workforce Trust Fund to the WCTF
- In January 2021, the JTA, in association with local advocates for affordable housing, successfully concluded a multi-year effort to make the “Linkage Fees” charged to developers of commercial property in the City of Boston which support affordable housing and job training programs, a meaningful source of funding. The effort included gaining the support of the Boston City Council, the Mayor’s office, approval by the State Legislature and Governor of a home rule petition, encouraging and supporting the Mayor’s request for a 35% increase in the Linkage Fees
Advocacy in practice
The JTA’s Advocacy Committee is responsible for establishing advocacy goals and the strategy and tactics to be followed in pursuing those goals. The committee, chaired by a volunteer who becomes a member of the JTA’s executive committee, is elected annually by the membership.
The JTA’s advocacy strategy and execution is assisted by a contracted government relations firm. Their insight into decision-making practices, current concerns, and influential leadership at the State House and Boston City Hall has been essential to the effectiveness and success of our advocacy efforts. The contract with the public relations firm is supported by voluntary financial contributions from the JTA’s membership.