Workforce and Talent Development

Our goals are to make Somerville a regional employment center with a mix of diverse and high-quality jobs, support a business-friendly environment to attract and retain a diverse mix of businesses, and invest in the talents, skills, and education of people to support growth and provide opportunities to residents of all social and economic levels.

  • Quality Jobs

  • Talent Equity Playbook

  • Job Creation and Retention Trust

  • Skill Building

  • Reports

Quality jobs improve employee performance, and thus company performance, through a series of management choices that empower and value employees.

As outlined in the Talent Equity Playbook, the City has identified Quality Jobs Practices that will help position Somerville as a national leader in providing quality jobs. They are:

  1. Predictive Scheduling - finding ways to allow company and employees to build schedules that enable employee planning and set upfront expectations for work
  2. Cross-training - Enabling employees to be familiar with full scope of products, stay busy with multiple company roles, and understand their personal contribution to company performance
  3. De-standardizing Tasks - Promoting opportunities for employees to participate in continuous improvement tasks to improve customer experience and service
  4. Supervisory Training - Working with supervisors to support career choices and training among front-line employees
  5. Retention Services - Deploying employee assistance programs that help navigate workplace conflict, address employee health and wellness, and offer child care, transportation and financial literacy solutions that get in the way of employee retention
  6. Skills and Benefits - Finding creative ways to promote employee access to and participation in credential attainment (tuition assistance, workplace sponsored learning) and benefits that build employee security (living wage, healthcare, family leave)

One way we have recognized employers that provide quality jobs is through our 2017 Best Places to Work Award. We are pleased to announce that six businesses were nominated as quality employers


2017 Best Places to Work Award: The Nominees

Click on the nominees below for more information.

Somerville Cambridge Elder Services

Somerville Media Center

Smiles by Rosie

Off the Beaten Path Food Tours

Winter Hill Brewing Co.

Zen Dog Training


These employers have been recognized by their employees as exemplifying the following four attributes:

  1. Provides great service to customers and/or great products
  2. Provides great service to customers and/or great products
  3. Employment benefits are generous and support a work-life balance
  4. Employees believe in and support company mission and values  

The vision of the Talent Equity Playbook is to empower Somerville residents to thrive in an ever-changing world and workplace. Check out this presentation to learn more about what the Talent Equity Playbook aims to do. You can also view the TEP embedded below, or click here to download a PDF version.


JCRT Board of Trustees responsibilities include managing the "jobs linkage" funding, working with OSPCD staff to implement workforce development strategies outlined in the Talent Equity Playbook, target industry sectors and resident demographics of interest for job training programs, solicit project proposals, and funding workforce development training programs.

The JCRT Board of Trustees is be comprised of the following representatives.

  • Mayor of Somerville or designee;
  • Board of Aldermen President or designee;
  • Superintendent of Schools or designee.
  • Representatives of two workforce development non-profits for a period of three years;
  • Two Somerville residents for a period of three years, with a preference that such residents have participated in workforce development programs in the City of Somerville;
  • Representatives of two local businesses for a period of three years

The creation of the Jobs Creation and Retention Trust is the result of the City’s 2016 approved home-rule petition to institute a workforce development linkage fee to support additional training programs to prepare residents for and connect them to new job opportunities.

After an extensive evaluation of the commercial development landscape, incoming industry sectors, and resident educational and skill attainment, as well as exploration to further conceptualize the future JCRT Board of Trustees structure, the Somerville Board of Aldermen voted in December 2017 to approve a zoning amendment creating the JCRT fund and setting the jobs linkage fee at $2.46 a square foot on commercial development projects of more than 15,000 square feet.

See below for the Nexus Study detailing jobs linkage calculations.

Skill UP Somerville

Skill Up Somerville logoSkill UP Somerville is a City run collaborative online platform to coordinate and support the out-of-school and adult lifelong learning programming happening, primarily in the areas of digital and science literacy. This platform allows for micro-credentialing through digital badging; a training provider validated indicator of accomplishments that allows badge earners to share the skills and competencies learned and projects completed in a course, program, or workshop. Badges are created by independent partner organizations offering aligned programming. The affordable and accessible digital and science literacy programming offered by partner organizations build strong skills in digital tool use, creative problem solving, and the critical and computational thinking. Students becoming literate in these tools will be well equipped to understand, access, and navigate an ever-changing world. 

Somerville High School FabLab

FabVille logo

What is Fabville? Fabville is a fabrication space in Somerville High School that focuses on engaging people in creative processes to design and implement projects through the use of light industrial, high tech equipment like 3D printers, laser cutters, and a CNC router. It is meant to complement professional and non-professional makerspaces already existing in the city and is designed to engage an entrepreneurial mindset and approach and provide the fabrication tools needed to solve all types of projects and problems. Click here to learn more.

FabVille 2019 Annual Report


Digital Literacy Survey