JANUARY 2016
around the table
Executive Director's Message

Dear Members,

The New Year is already off to a fast start! With the support of our members, the Roundtable is advocating for a range of public education initiatives that add up to increased opportunities for youth across the state and better preparation for the 21st century workforce. Governor Baker has proposed nearly $100M in workforce development and education initiatives that are MBR priorities (see below). In addition, we have long supported increasing access to public charter schools, and we are working with a coalition calling for a modest cap lift. And, Roundtable member Jay Gonzalez convened a new MBR Ad Hoc Committee on Early Childhood Education this month to explore ways to increase both access and quality. While energy, transportation and the ballot questions will consume significant attention in the months ahead, I am grateful for the engagement of the members on education/workforce development, which remains a top priority for the Roundtable.


Governor Baker Proposes Funding for MBR Priorities in Workforce Development and Vocational Educations

With strong support from our members, the Roundtable became an active member of the Alliance for Vocational Education, a coalition of business and community groups advocating for expanding vocational education opportunities and reducing waiting lists at schools across the Commonwealth. That advocacy yielded notable results, when Governor Baker announced plans to increase by more than $83 million the state’s support for vocational education.

MBR worked with the coalition during the past year to develop policy recommendations, meet with Legislative and Executive branch leaders and commission a survey by Northeastern University’s Dukakis Center of more than 5,000 businesses, students, alumni, vocational school superintendents, and community groups about ways to strengthen vocational schools, which serve 58,000 students.

Charlene Banard, Senior Vice President from Roundtable member Shire spoke at an event with Governor Baker, business leaders and educators highlighting the important role vocational schools play in producing skilled workers to fill high demand positions. At the event, Governor Baker announced that his FY17 budget and economic development legislation will include calls for “a substantial capital grant program for vocational equipment that further aligns the administration’s investments with local economic and workforce development needs and employment partnerships.” Highlights of his proposals include:
  • $75 million over five years: new capital authorization to fund grants for equipment to expand and improve career technical education programs, building on a $9.2 million Skills Capital grant program announced this year.technical education programs, building on a $9.2 million Skills Capital grant program announced this year.

  • $7.5 million: work-based learning grants, including nearly doubling support for school-to-career connecting activities to $5.5 million, and doubling support for Dual Enrollment to $2 million, to expand and replicate STEM-focused early college career pathways, including middle school curriculum and workplace experience and learning.

  • $1 million: new Career Technical Partnership Grants, funded through federal Perkins Act grant funding, to strengthen relationships between vocational schools, comprehensive high schools, and employers.”

  • $2 million: Workforce Competitiveness Trust, which invests in training unemployed workers for in-demand jobs. MBR successfully advocated for this funding last year. IF the Governor’s recommendation is adopted, it will mark the first time this program has been funded for two consecutive years.

Roundtable members have deep partnerships with K-12 schools, community colleges and universities. MBR will continue to support partnerships that strengthen the Commonwealth’s educational system at every level.

READ Release | Survey

Roundtable Ad Hoc Committee on Early Childhood Education Meets in Boston
CelticCare CEO Jay Gonzalez convened a meeting of Roundtable business leaders this month as part of a new Ad Hoc Committee on Early Education at the MBR offices in Boston. Roundtable members and staff from RSM, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Northeastern University, Becker College, Skadden Arps, Museum of Science and others participated in a discussion with Tom Weber, Commissioner for the Department of Early Education & Care. Nearly two dozen Roundtable member companies volunteered to serve on the Committee. 

Roundtable members discussed ways to improve both the quality and availability of early education and care with Commissioner Weber, focusing on issues such as access, workforce development, and funding. They talked about prioritizing to maximize impact and potential partners to engage. The Ad Hoc Committee outlined several issues for further consideration and agreed to meet again in February to develop a set of principles and recommendations to present to the full Board.  

A Boston Globe editorial this month pointed out that data from Boston Public Schools “show that children who go to K1 outperform their peers in subsequent years — regardless of race or poverty.”

The Roundtable is developing and supporting a range of new policy initiatives designed to strengthen educational opportunities for students of all ages across the Commonwealth. Promoting STEM, computer science, vocational education, increased access to charter schools and high quality early education are all elements of MBR’s long-term approach to developing a workforce that is second to none.

Roundtable Welcomes New Member Thomas Brostrom, General Manager North America, DONG Energy
The Roundtable is pleased to welcome its newest member, Thomas Brostrom, General Manager North America, for DONG Energy, a world leader in clean energy headquartered in Denmark, which has launched Bay State Wind in Massachusetts.

Thomas is the General Manager of DONG Energy’s North American business. He was responsible for DONG Energy’s entrance into the US market and is responsible for the establishment of operations within the market. Thomas joined the company in 2009 as a Business Development Manager in the Wind Power business and in 2012 he became Head of UK Project Development in DONG Energy’s London office.

Since 2014, Thomas has been the Director for Market Development and Commercial where he has overseen the delivery of DONG Energy’s European development pipeline, which has been instrumental in contributing to the Company’s strategy of installing 6,500MW of offshore wind capacity by 2020. He holds a MSc in Finance and International Business.

To learn more about DONG Energy, please the company’s website at

Roundtable Joins 350 Groups Calling for Congress to Pass Perkins Act
MBR joined 350 groups across the country calling on Congress to pass the Perkins Act, which prepares students for college and the workforce through career and technical education. The letter to all members of Congress states that a reauthorized version of Perkins should:

  • Align CTE programs to the needs of the regional, state, and local labor market;

  • Support effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary and postsecondary institutions and employers;

  • Increase student participation in experiential learning opportunities such as industry internships, apprenticeships and mentorships; and

  • Promote the use of industry-recognized credentials.

READ Letter

Roundtable Advocates for Increased Access to Charter Schools in Massachusetts
The Roundtable and many leading business organizations joined the Great Schools Massachusetts coalition to urge the Legislature to lift the cap on public charter schools as a way to expand educational opportunity to students across the state.

In a letter to legislators, leaders from the Roundtable, AIM, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Mass Fiscal Alliance, Mass High Technology Council, Mass Taxpayers Foundation, Mass Technology Leadership Council, AICUM and NAIOP, advocated support for the Governor’s proposal, which would expand public charter schools by 12 schools annually focusing on communities with the most need.

Great Schools Massachusetts is a statewide coalition of parents, community groups, public charter schools and education advocates committed to providing families with equal access to public charter schools. More than 37,000 children in Massachusetts remain stuck on public charter school waiting lists due to arbitrary enrollment caps, including more than 13,000 children in Boston alone. New charters are also frozen in Lawrence, Holyoke, Fall River, and other urban districts where traditional public schools are underperforming and parents have shown a clear demand for public charter schools.

READ Letter

Roundtable Supports Statewide Regulatory Reforms
The state’s regulatory environment consistently emerges as a priority and is a key element of MBR’s public policy agenda. As such, the Roundtable and its members have been engaging with the Baker Administration both in their regulatory reform initiative, as well as the development of the state’s economic development plan, bringing the ideas of MBR members – collectively and individually – to their attention.
The Boston Globe on-line ran a story this month on the state’s regulatory environment. The story is a good summary of the issue and the concerns that MBR and others in the business community hear regarding the state’s regulatory regime. MBR will continue to work this issue with support and input from its members. 

READ Story | State’s Regulatory Review

Roundtable Members Serve on Baker Administration Task Force Addressing Chronic Unemployment
Roundtable members Donna Cupelo of Verizon and Anthony Benoit of Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology served on a special Task Force established by Governor Baker through an Executive Order to address issues related to chronic unemployment across the state. The Task Force was chaired by Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ron Walker and included business leaders, administration officials, educators, community-based organizations and economic experts, who held meetings across the state to hear from residents facing continued unemployment. Governor Baker announced $5 million to support community-based partnerships and job training funds targeting populations with barriers to employment.

“Whatever their barriers, we realize certain people need a hands-on touch when it comes to job seeking and more attention than the federally-funded career centers are able to give them,” Secretary Walker said in a press release. “One of the recommendations from the Task Force is to build a Massachusetts-based public workforce system by leveraging community-based organizations, which can meet the specific needs of the target populations.”

READ Full Report | Release

TwitterWhat's News on Twitter

@generalelectric HQ moving to Boston! Congrats to GE & thanks @MassGovernor @marty_walsh @MassEOHED  #mabiz

Voc tech & #STEM are key priorities for the Roundtable and the state's competitiveness #mabiz

Charlie Baker @MassGovernor
Our budget also includes nearly $8M to expand career tech edu & STEM programs via regional collaboration #VocEd4MA

 Congratulations to our member General Dynamics @GDMS, doing important work in a great part of our state #mabiz

#1 in innovation, #1 in education good week for Massachusetts!

Roundtable joins 350 groups urging Congress to pass #PerkinsCTE, modernize #education as key to better jobs opptys

Congrats to Roundtable member @easternbank and Rich Holbrook on this recognition as Community Banker of the Year

Roundtable leaders engage in discussion with @MassEarlyEdCare Commissioner Tom Weber on access and quality of education & care in MA

The Roundtable is pleased to welcome several new followers on Twitter. Please consider following them.

Sen. Joan B. Lovely @SenJoanLovely

Bay State Wind @BayStateWind

Sensata @Sensata 

POLITICO Mass. @politicoma

Women's Fund @WomensFundWMass 

Lahey Health @LaheyHealth 

Health Care For All @HCFA 

BNN News @news_bnn 

McCormackGradSchool @McCormackGrad 

Honda In America @HondaInAmerica 

Aaron Nicodemus @anic89 

Going Around the Table
News, links and information about members of the Roundtable

Roundtable Member GE Moves Headquarters to Boston
Longtime Roundtable member General Electric and major Massachusetts employer announced this month that it is moving its headquarters to Boston’s Seaport Innovation District. This is a tremendous victory for the Commonwealth to have a global leader choose Boston for its world headquarters.

“GE aspires to be the most competitive company in the world,” said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt in a press announcement. “Today, GE is a $130 billion high-tech global industrial company, one that is leading the digital transformation of industry. We want to be at the center of an ecosystem that shares our aspirations. Greater Boston is home to 55 colleges and universities. Massachusetts spends more on research & development than any other region in the world, and Boston attracts a diverse, technologically-fluent workforce focused on solving challenges for the world. We are excited to bring our headquarters to this dynamic and creative city.”   READ Release

Roundtable Member Shire Combines with Baxalta

Roundtable member Shire combines with Baxalta to create a global leader in rare diseases.  READ more

  • No. 1 platform in rare diseases expected to generate 65% of total annual revenues
  • Multiple, durable billion-dollar franchises, each with best-in-class products
  • Robust portfolio includes over 30 recent and planned product launches with $5 billion sales potential by 2020

Roundtable Member UMass Offers Master Class Opportunity for Businesses

The Center for Collaborative Leadership was established in 2001 by former UMass Boston chancellor, Sherry H. Penney. Dr. Penney has been a trailblazer and innovator in the field of collaborative leadership. The center offers a variety of ways to help the region’s major businesses, nonprofits and government agencies develop a diverse and engaged group of leaders–leaders who are essential to building a better city and state.

With the support of partner organizations, the center has been providing rising leaders with the tools to better prepare themselves through the Emerging Leaders Program. To kick off 2016, the center developed four Leadership Master Class Workshops. The workshops are day long sessions covering a wide variety of approaches that will position the participants to learn, grow and then contribute to their respective organizations. READ more

Does your company have news about industry trends, key milestones or other materials you are sharing with the public? We want to include news from our members in this space, so please send any story ideas or links to MBR Deputy Director Chris Kealey.

In this issue
Governor Baker Proposes Funding for MBR Priorities in Workforce Development and Vocational Education
Roundtable Ad Hoc Committee on Early Childhood Education Meets in Boston
Roundtable Welcomes New Member Thomas Brostrom, General Manager North America, DONG Energy
Roundtable Joins 350 Groups Calling for Congress to Pass Perkins Act
Roundtable Advocates for Increased Access to Charter Schools in Massachusetts
Roundtable Members Serve on Baker Administration Task Force Addressing Chronic Unemployment
What's News on Twitter
Going Around the Table
Upcoming events

FEBRUARY 26, 2016
MBR Energy Task Force
8:30–10:30 a.m.
Foley Hoag, 155 Seaport Boulevard, Boston
Open to all Roundtable members and representatives from member companies.

FEBRUARY 29, 2016
Ad Hoc Committee on Early Childhood Education with ReadyNation
1:00–2:30 p.m.
Skadden Arps, 500 Boylston Street, 23rd Floor, Boston
Open to all Roundtable members and representatives from member companies.

MARCH 17, 2016
Roundtable Board Meeting
Noon–1:30 p.m.
Location: TBD
Members only

MARCH 25, 2016
Behind the Scenes at iRobot
11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
8 Crosby Drive, Bedford
Open to all Roundtable members and representatives from member companies.

JUNE 16, 2016Annual Meeting
8:00–10:00 a.m.
Location: TBD

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