MassHire Staff Used Ingenuity to Expand Capacity and Serve Customers Effectively During the Pandemic

This blog post is the final in a series honoring and highlighting the great work of our MassHire members who were nominated and chosen as finalists for the 2022 MassHire Awards. This blog focuses on the finalists for the Ingenuity category, including the award winner, Samantha Fonseca, Data and Program Manager, MassHire Cape & Islands Workforce Board. 

MassHire is committed to understanding and valuing the diverse, unique requirements and professional goals of the businesses and people they serve. Nominations for this category were based on answers to the following questions: 

  • How did the work achieved by this individual or team effect innovative, sustainable change and positive outcomes for customers (both businesses and jobseekers), partner staff, community organizations, and/or MassHire colleagues? 
  • How was the nominee proactive in developing new skills, models, approaches, innovations, etc. which led to strong outcomes with a lasting impact on staff, partners, and/or customers?

MassHire Cape & Islands Workforce Board, Samantha Fonseca, Data and Program Manager

Sam started her career at the MassHire Cape & Islands Workforce Board on the day that Governor Baker shut the economy down in 2020 due to the pandemic. Although she was hired as a STEM coordinator to work with local public schools on the Cape, she quickly transitioned her skills to upgrading the Board’s social media and online communications, launching a revised newsletter, and implementing a YouTube channel for promoting programs and sharing successes. 

In addition to expanding communications, Sam’s support with the Connecting Activities program led to enrolling more than 500 students in FY22 – exceeding expectations. With her help, they have already reached their enrollment goals for FY23: more than 600 young adults. She also supports the HSSIEP program and Health Care Hub team. She has also participated in the annual monitoring for the past two years and helped with the Career Center Certification.

Sam has taken every opportunity to learn new skills that can help the Board run more effectively and efficiently. She has taken trainings on Grant Writing, MOSES and crystal reports training, performance training with the Department of Career Services, EMSI Burning Glass training, Suicide Prevention Training, and Massachusetts Work-Based Learning training. Sam’s ease with technology has also led her to becoming the region’s labor market expert, analyzing labor market data and maintaining a data dashboard on the Board’s website. 

According to Lindsay Cole, Director of Human Resources with Cape Associates, Inc., and the Board Clerk, “Samantha is the type of person that always says, ‘Yes,’ always asks how she can help, and is always seeking out new learning opportunities. She is an extremely valuable member of the CIWB team and we are so lucky to have her.” Congratulations, Sam, on winning this year’s MassHire award for Ingenuity!

Samantha Fonseca will be presenting a workshop for the Massachusetts workforce development community on the experience that led to their nomination on December 1st. Click here to register. 

MassHire Central Region Workforce Board, Bruce Mendelsohn, Resource Development Coordinator

Bruce has been an asset to the MassHire Central Region Workforce Board since he began working there. When Clark University approached the Board to join their new TechQuest Apprenticeship Program (“TQA Clark”) initiative, Bruce was able to develop innovative and creative approaches so that the Board could meet their needs. Thanks to his ingenuity, MCRWB has expanded the pipeline of qualified, trained individuals and raised internal and external awareness of, funding for, and participation in high-priority tech and IT-adjacent apprenticeships in Central Massachusetts. Now, the Board leads TQA Clark’s project partners by meeting their commitment to enroll 90 pre-apprentices per year. Part of this success comes from Bruce identifying two local partners with programs with which the Board could co-enroll training participants, MassMEP’s Front-Line Supervisor Apprenticeship Program and the Worcester Joint Apprenticeship Training Fund’s Inside Wireman Apprenticeship Program.  The policies and procedures that Bruce has developed for this program is being used as a template for future TQA Clark work. 

Bruce is always on the lookout for new partnerships and opportunities for the Board to help expand training and job opportunities for residents of all backgrounds in Central Mass. Bruce played a key role in the MassHire Boston, Metro South/West and Central Boards winning a Jobs for the Future/Google “Digital Health Jobs” grant (one of only four awarded nationwide).

According to Jennifer Thomas, Assistant Program Director for Workforce Grants at Clark University, “Bruce’s workforce knowledge, innovative approaches, and flexibility have played and continue to play vital roles in helping Clark University fulfill deliverables pledged in a $12 million grant we won from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (ETA). His collaborative spirit, creative energy, and courageous inquisitiveness have helped generate measurable results for the Tech Quest Apprentice (“TQA Clark”) initiative…” 

To learn more about this project or connect directly with Bruce, email him at

MassHire Greater Brockton Career Center, Jeff Cahill, Business Services Representative

Jeff Cahill was not daunted when the pandemic meant that working with businesses would need to change. Prior to the pandemic the MassHire Greater Brockton Career Center offered their  “Hot Jobs” list in their resource room and on the website to help match job seekers with employers. With services having to be delivered virtually, the Career Center couldn’t rely on their website listing alone to reach job seekers. Jeff started hosting a regular webinar he called “Hot Jobs Live.”  His idea was to hold a weekly Zoom event for job seekers where he would highlight specific jobs on behalf of employers and answer questions regarding those positions. While initially this project was only meant as a way for business services representatives to reach job seekers with available opportunities, Jeff quickly realized that this could also work as a way for businesses to talk directly to job seekers by allowing them to attend and create “virtual recruitment.”  This gave the company a chance to be the exclusive recruiter at the event and replaced the in-person, on-site recruitments offered pre-pandemic. 

Jeff used his prior experience in workforce development to add to the webinar offerings by including job search tips, as well as promoting upcoming online Career Center workshops.  Additionally, Jeff would stay on past the official “Hot Jobs” meeting time to answer individual questions and work with job seekers who needed assistance in applying for any of the jobs shared during the webinar.

Jeff held 48 “Hot Jobs Live” sessions in 2021, totalling 677 participants and 19 employer co-hosts. Jeff shared his model with the Workforce Boards and Career Centers in the broader Southeast Region and the model is now being replicated.  Jeff developed a new, innovative way to serve businesses and job seekers through the MassHire system that will live on beyond the pandemic.

To learn more about this project or connect directly with Jeff, email him at

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  1. Pingback: MassHire Profiles 2022 "Ingenuity" Award Finalists - MassHire Central Workforce Development Board

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