Mass. job trainers aim to fulfill needs of recycling sector

Massachusetts job trainers aim to fulfill needs of recycling sector

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

As recycling programs develop nationwide, the companies at the center of the action are poised to bring more jobs into their communities. But how can those businesses be assured they'll actually be able to fill those posts with capable workers? That's the question at the center of a new study out of Massachusetts.

"Recycling and Jobs in Massachusetts: A Study of Current and Future Workforce Needs" outlines a series of recommendations made by a task force recently convened by the Northeast Recycling Council and funded by SkillWorks, a partnership between nonprofit organizations, government, unions and employers. The creation of the task force, which contained members from both the workforce-development and recycling sectors in the state, was a follow-up to a 2012 SkillWorks study that found that although the Massachusetts recycling industry was predicted to grow by 15 percent over two years, recycling companies worried they wouldn't be able to find suitable candidates for the new jobs. Perlmutter Associates was the lead consultant on both projects.

Among the task force's recent recommendations:

  • Appoint a statewide liaison from the recycling industry to work with workforce development professionals on recycling staffing issues
  • Survey recycling employers to determine the exact nature of their workforce needs and the specific skill/certifications they're looking for
  • Create a searchable online database that clearly lists the state's recycling employers, their locations and the jobs they are seeking to fill
  • Develop case studies highlighting instances of recycling firms successfully tapping the state's workforce development
  • Further integrate information about recycling jobs into the Mass Careers website
  • Hold workshops to educate recycling employers on the state's workforce training grants and services


"Even though there may not be a consensus about the first steps on the path forward," the report's authors state, "it is clear that there is a need and interest among workforce development professionals and recycling employers to work together and that there are a number of different approaches that can be taken to achieve this."

The recycling industry section of the task force included individuals from the following companies and organizations: Cooperative for Energy, Recycling and Organics; Metech Recycling; Northstar Pulp and Paper; Save That Stuff; MassRecycle; and City of Lowell Recycling.

The workforce side was represented by MassCosh, Workforce Central Career Center in Worcester, Futureworks Career Center in Springfield, Boston Career Link, Boston Private Industry Council, and the Massachusetts Department of Career Services.

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