When the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (OWD) released a labor market study last March, the findings showed how much work was needed to address the city’s economic disparities: The average Boston resident, the report found, makes just over $35,000 a year, an income that barely covers expenses for many households with two working parents.

cover of Career Pathways report
Click for a PDF of the report.

Having studied the problem, the OWD is now studying solutions. A new report commissioned by the OWD explores the potential of three local industries to provide career pathways to family-sustaining jobs for low-income residents. The report, authored by researchers at UMass-Boston’s Center for Social Policy, finds that Boston’s construction, hospitality, and healthcare industries include promising entry-points for workers who may not have a college degree, as well as opportunities to advance. These career pathways are supported by job training programs, unions, employers’ workforce development initiatives, and colleges that offer credit for on-the-job learning. Some industry highlights:


  • Industry is projected to grow by 27% between 2012 and 2022.
  • Unions offer apprenticeships and opportunities to advance to journeyman wages.
  • Annual pay is on the rise and current average annual pay is nearly $95,000 per year.


  • Industry is projected to grow by 21% between 2012 and 2022.
  • Average annual earnings for hotel workers is $46,383.
  • The UNITE HERE Local 26 union offers housekeeping apprenticeships and opportunities to advance to journeyman wages.


  • Industry represents over one-fifth of all private sector employment in Boston and is projected to grow by 18% between 2012 and 2022.
  • The SEIU 1199 union offers educational benefits to members.
  • Several large hospitals have dedicated workforce development units and provide educational benefits to workers.

The report’s industry-specific recommendations will help guide the OWD’s continuing work in supporting pathways in these sectors.

Read the report, “Career Pathways to Quality Jobs in Construction, Hospitality and Healthcare.” Or read the press release to learn more.

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