Mark Melnik, Ph.D. of the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute to Keynote Commonwealth Workforce Coalition Conference

February 18, 2016


Commonwealth Workforce Coalition Hosts Conference for Workforce Development Professionals on the Front Line of Employment, Job Training

The Commonwealth Workforce Coalition (CWC) is announcing that Mark Melnik, Ph.D, the Director of the Economic and Public Policy Research (EPPR) group at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute (UMDI), will keynote the organization’s 13th annual Sharing Skills ~ Building Connections conference at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center on May 17th.   Dr. Melnik is also the Managing Editor of MassBenchmarks, which publishes on a quarterly basis economic data regarding the Commonwealth.

“I am looking forward to keynoting the annual Sharing Skills ~ Building Connections conference,” said Dr. Melnik.  “The event helps workforce development professionals sharpen their skills and share information, which is so beneficial to the job seekers and others who rely on community-based programs and career centers to help them gain employment.”

At UMass Donahue Institute, Dr. Melnik leads a team of 14 research professionals working on a variety of economic, demographic, and public policy related research projects for stakeholders in government, private industry, and the non-profit sector. His team is currently working on a report for the Boston Private Industry Council on youth labor market trends and policy implications in Massachusetts and an analysis of economic trends and the workforce training system as part of the Citywide Masterplan for the City of Cambridge.  In addition, the EPPR team at UMDI produces MassBenchmarks, an economic journal that presents timely information concerning the performance of and prospects for the Massachusetts economy, including labor market and labor force issues.

Before joining UMDI, Dr. Melnik was Deputy Director for Research at the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).  As part of his work with the BRA, Dr. Melnik worked closely with the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (formerly known as Jobs and Community Services).  Melnik also previous worked as a Research Associate at the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University.  Dr. Melnik holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Youngstown State University.  He also holds a master’s and Ph.D. in sociology from Northeastern University, where his dissertation explored skill and credential mismatches in the Greater Boston’s labor market.

The Sharing Skills ~ Building Connections conference is organized by the Commonwealth Workforce Coalition (CWC), which is dedicated to improving the community-based education, training and employment system across Massachusetts.  For the past decade, the annual CWC conference has served as an opportunity for workforce development professionals to learn about tools and resources to improve skills training, education and job placement services to the Massachusetts’ workforce.  CWC is a community development program managed by the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC).

Over the past several years, the conference has brought together more than 300 participants, exhibitors and presenters from across the Commonwealth to network and enhance the tools that front line staff use to help job-seeking men and women.  Among workforce professionals in Massachusetts, the Sharing Skills ~ Building Connections conference is renowned for providing a wide array of workshops on current topics relevant to the field.  This year, among the 30 workshops are:

  • Job Readiness Training for Homeless Families – This workshop will use lessons learned from the Secure Jobs Initiative for Homeless Families to offer tools for providing job readiness training specifically to homeless parents.
  • Building a College and Community Based Organization (CBO) Collaboration – Representatives from Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and the Gandara Center, a community-based organization, will highlight the strengths and challenges each brought to the table, and will demonstrate how a cohesively developed plan achieves positive results.
  • Return on Investment: An Impact Study of Job Training Programs – Representatives from the Job Training Alliance will report on a return on investment study that examines the effectiveness of pre-employment job training programs. The report highlights the success rate achieved through job training and placement services, which lead to improved employment for participants and cost savings to taxpayers.

For more information on the May 17th conference, including registration and the schedule, please visit CWC’s conference Website at


About Commonwealth Workforce Coalition

The mission of the Commonwealth Workforce Coalition (CWC) is to strengthen the capacity of Massachusetts’ community-based education, training, and employment system to produce better employment and earnings outcomes for low income residents and low wage workers.  CWC accomplishes this by:

  • Partnering with statewide agencies, businesses, and community-based organizations;
  • Promoting professional networking and sharing through regional networks and the annual statewide conference;
  • Developing and facilitating professional development workshops, institutes, and customized trainings;
  • Supporting organizational development through technical assistance; and
  • Connecting the field to relevant resources, tools, and best practices.

For more information, visit

 About CEDAC

 CEDAC is a public-private community development finance institution that provides financial resources and technical expertise for community-based and other nonprofit organizations engaged in effective community development in Massachusetts. CEDAC’s work supports three key building blocks of community development: affordable housing, workforce development, and early care and education. CEDAC is also active in state and national housing preservation policy research and development and is widely recognized as a leader in the non-profit community development industry. For additional information on CEDAC and their current projects, please visit


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