Workforce Development Programs

Student working on machine part

Workforce Development Programs

Connecting Activities

Connecting Activities (CA) is a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education initiative that leverages a statewide infrastructure to support "college and career readiness" for all students. The program establishes public-private partnerships through the 16 local workforce investment boards to connect schools and businesses by providing structured work-based learning experiences for students that support both their academic and employability skill attainment.

Connecting Activities enables staff to recruit employers; prepare and place students in brokered work-based learning opportunities; and structure those experiences through the use of the Massachusetts Work-Based Learning Plan. 

CES promotes school-to-career activities by partnering with schools to find and utilize resources to support internship programs for students. The goal of this program, whose office is located at 97 Hawley Street in Northampton, MA, is to boost school capacity to serve young people, and improve their education and career preparation by incorporating real life and work experiences into their schooling.

Studies have clearly indicated that supported internship placements have a very important effect on the at-risk population, such as the students CES’s Connecting Activities target and serve. Supported internship placements give these students a feeling of engagement and a sense of efficacy and success (even if they do not excel in the academic realm). Supported internships demonstrably help prevent students from dropping out.

The CES program provides resources to schools, including linkages to local employers, program funding, materials and—most importantly—program design and content support, including the MASS CIS career exploration online content developed my the State of Massachusetts.

Funding for Connecting Activities comes through grants from the Franklin-Hampshire Regional Employment Board and DESE. Therefore, for the students served, programs are offered at no cost to the participant or sending school. 

Please contact Matt Rigney at if you would like to discuss partnerships for Connecting Activities.

Perkins Consortium


CES has organized and managed a consortium of local school districts to access Perkins funding to support career-technical education programs in their high schools and to collaboratively pursue training opportunities for the teachers. 

Each school receives specific allocations for PD assistance, equipment, and non-expendable supplies to support career / vocational / technical education (CVTE) programs in the school.  CVTE programs also aim to help improve performance in Mathematics, Language Arts and high school completion and graduation. Perkins CVTE programs receive assistance to set goals; measure competencies in occupational skills; upgrade programs; develop new programs; develop entrepreneurship opportunities; understand high skill/high demand/high wage opportunities in Western Massachusetts; develop local support and advisory boards; and develop internship, mentorship, and work study opportunities for students.

Special focus is given to improving MCAS scores, improving graduation and completion rates, and providing pathways for students to identify high wage/high demand/high skill occupations. Programs receive professional development opportunities for staff members and financial support for upgrades and startup of new programs.

If you are a district wishing to be part of the Perkins Consortium, please contact Matt Rigney at

STEM Internships

The projected demand for STEM careers in the Pioneer Valley promises to be strong in fields ranging from IT and web development to medical health services and records, to financial bookkeeping and accounting. Most employers know the challenges of finding qualified applicants to fill positions requiring specific skills, while students preparing for these careers can find it hard to gain real-world experience.

CES, in partnership with the MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board, is working with high schools and STEM employers in Franklin and Hampshire counties to find and place local students in paid internships as part of the STEM@Work Paid Internship Program. 

To learn more about STEM Internships, visit the web page.

For more information, contact: 
Director, Workforce Development Programs