Scaling Innovative Workforce Training: J.D. LaRock of Commonwealth Corporation Shares How Education and Economic Development Go Hand in Hand

As thousands continue to enter the workforce each day, many wonder how their skills and knowledge will stack up against the competition. At the same time, employers need to find workers that are ready and prepared to do the job that needs to be done.

According to J.D. LaRock, President and CEO of Commonwealth Corporation, when employers utilize Workforce Training Fund grants to develop meaningful relationships with their workers, every party involved wins. Commonwealth Corporation is mostly known for their work with workforce development, but LaRock considers the public private corporation to be at an “intersection” between workforce, education, and economic development.

J.D. believes that just because Massachusetts is currently the leader in the education sector, the state cannot take its leadership for granted.

“Whether it’s the Governor’s commission, other innovative projects here at Commonwealth Corporation, or just the day-to-day activities of the workforce training fund, we hope to utilize all of these things to extend and maintain Massachusetts leadership in the domains where we’re first,” he says.

One of the main initiatives of the Commonwealth Corporation, says J.D., is to dramatically increase educational and training opportunities for Massachusetts residents; especially for those that need to continue to learn while they work.

“What we’re doing is shining a spotlight on innovative practices that we think hold promise to be scaled further,” he says. “Things like online competency-based education, experiential-learning, credit for prior learning, soft-skills and essential skills curricula.”

Listen in to our interview with J.D. LaRock to learn more about the programs, funds, and initiatives Commonwealth Corporation is taking on to combat the skills gap.

For more interviews with speakers and highlights from work+EDU, visit our event page.

Mariel Cariker

Mariel is a Boston-based freelance writer and audio producer who has covered news, technology and innovation for public media groups including WBUR and WGBH. Outside of work, she performs and writes spoken word poetry and voraciously reads true crime novels.