Collaboration, Innovation Urged At MassHire Cape and Islands Workforce Board Annual Meeting

Sen. Susan Moran and Undersecretary Jennifer James issue calls-to-action to proactively address workforce issues at the MassHire Cape and Islands Workforce Board’s (CIWB) Annual Meeting June 1.

Moran (D-Falmouth) spoke to the need for stakeholders to collaborate across functions, noting that advancements in housing, childcare, and workforce challenges require a holistic approach.

She applauded the work being done by the CIWB, making special mention of their efforts to reach students through creative mentoring and internship opportunities in the region.

Undersecretary of Labor and Workforce Development Jennifer James echoed Senator Moran’s comments about collaboration and shared a candid assessment of existing workforce challenges. Undersecretary James noted that the current climate is in sharp contrast to that of the Great Recession more than a decade ago.

“Back then, it was about a jobs shortage. Today, it is about a workforce shortage,” said James, emphasizing that employers, educators, and community leaders must consider new approaches in their efforts to attract workers. She pointed to apprenticeship opportunities, career technical initiatives, and programs tied to attracting foreign workers as potential areas that can spark innovative solutions.

The morning meeting was a mix of insightful workforce development commentaries, Board of Directors business, and community celebration.

CIWB Executive Director, Kara O’Donnell-Galvin, welcomed attendees which included state Rep Kip Diggs (D-Barnstable) and state Rep. Steven Xiarhos (R-West Barnstable). Business leaders in healthcare, construction, hospitality and tourism, and financial services were among the more than 80 attendees, as were CIWB’s partners in academia and the non-profit sector.

“The CIWB Annual Meeting is one of my favorite days of the year as it offers an opportunity to celebrate the collective work of our broad spectrum of strategic partners,” said O’Donnell-Galvin. “This cross- section of community leaders plays an integral role in the CIWB’s work to advocate for innovative workforce solutions as we strive to create a resilient and self-sufficient workforce on the Cape and Islands.”

O’Donnell-Galvin touched on various CIWB areas of impact in the region over the last fiscal year, including the CIWB’s enrollment of more than 1,000 students in work-based internship opportunities in tandem with academic partners and employers. Additional highlights of the past year included:

  • Implementation of dedicated healthcare training initiatives;
  • Ongoing career pathway explorations in tandem with educators across the region;
  • Generating new funding opportunities in alignment with in-demand sectors;
  • Reinforcing the importance of addressing diversity and inclusion in workforce development;
  • Strengthening of internal systems and staffing to support operational efficiency.


    The meeting also served as a celebration for the CIWB’s 2023 Outstanding Partner Award Winners, which included: Academic Partner of the Year – Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School; Business Partner of the Year – Encore Construction; Mentor of the Year – Jeanne Tassinari; Mentor of the Year – Aiste Zitnikaite; and Nonprofit Organization of the Year – Arts Foundation of Cape Cod.

    For the first time, the CIWB presented six Rising Star Awards. The 2023 winners were Cheri Armstrong, Lee Moynihan, Jacob Stapeldon, Anne Tochka, Broad Reach Healthcare, and Relief Home Health Services. Deborah Maranhas from the Jobs Training and Education Corporation was recognized with a special distinction for her commitment to workforce development administration.

    Carol Woodbury, Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District Superintendent, was honored with the CIWB’s Legacy Award for her dedication and lasting contributions to the CIWB initiatives. Woodbury is retiring at the end of the school year and has been a steadfast proponent of the CIWB’s work during her tenure.

    CIWB Board Secretary Lindsay Cole presided over the meeting, during which the Board of Directors unanimously voted Samantha Aronne as the CIWB’s newest board member. Aronne, Designer with Encore Construction, has been an active member of the CIWB’s Youth Council and Scholarship Committee, as well as an advisor for Residential Construction Career Day.

    The CIWB also released its 2023 Annual Report, emphasizing the workforce board’s alignment with MassHire’s systemic core values of “Collaboration. Respect. Reliability. Ingenuity.”