Mayor Wu announces new cabinet for worker empowerment to advance workers’ rights and welfare

Mayor Michelle Wu today announced the establishment of the Cabinet for Workers’ Empowerment led by Trinh Nguyen, who will serve as the city’s Chief Workers’ Empowerment Officer. The Cabinet, with oversight and resources, is charged with advancing the welfare of all Bostonians who work in the public and private sectors. The mayor also announced that Jodi Sugerman-Brozan and Rashad Cope will both serve as deputy chiefs of staff.

“Boston can do so much more to advance and empower workers in all of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Our economy is at a turning point, and as we work to recover from the effects of the pandemic, we will support one of Boston’s greatest strengths: our workforce and employees. When we do Boston a city for everyone, every family and every business benefits from our growth. I am delighted with the leadership of Trinh, Jodi and Rashad, and look forward to working with this new firm on policies and programs that advance this crucial work. for all Boston workers and their communities.

The Cabinet will advance the Mayor’s work to improve and strengthen Boston’s workforce and economy by:

  • Bring together related roles and functions that were spread across multiple city departments and agencies under one unified cabinet
  • Set the city’s future policy and vision for workers with an immediate focus on implementing Boston’s Green New Deal
  • Regulate, supervise and improve the working conditions and health of workers
  • Expand economic opportunities for workers through access to quality jobs, skills training and career paths

This newly formed cabinet, led by Chief Nguyen, will provide greater accountability and coordination, and closely align worker empowerment policy and programs with the administration’s broader commitment to making Boston a better city. safe, healthy and climate resilient for all. Led by Nguyen, the Cabinet for Worker Empowerment will play a major role in implementing the Boston program Green New Deal for Boston Public Schoolswhich includes creating green jobs with decent wages, good benefits, and strong worker protections across the city.

“I am excited, honored and honored by this great opportunity to serve the city and its residents,” said Trinh Nguyen. “Boston has recently experienced tremendous economic growth and prosperity, but the future promises even greater opportunity if we prioritize equal access to quality jobs and skills training for all Bostonians. We look forward to collaborating with employers, workers and public and private stakeholders towards this collective vision. »

Trinh Nguyen is the current Director of the Mayor’s Office for Workforce Development (OWD), a division affiliated with the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA). As Director of OWD, she pioneered initiatives such as the Tuition-Free Community College Program, the Greater Boston American Apprenticeships, and various career paths for the healthcare, clean energy, and construction industries. Prior to his role at OWD, Nguyen was chief of staff at the Boston Housing Authority.

Nguyen has nearly 25 years of experience in operations, program, resource and budget management. She has worked in the executive management of various non-profit and public sector community organizations. She is currently President of the Neighborhood Jobs Trust, Trustee of the United States Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council, and Trustee of Bunker Hill Community College. Nguyen holds two graduate degrees and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and served as a community researcher in MIT’s Department of Urban Planning.

Deputy Chiefs Jodi Sugerman-Brozan and Rashad Cope will work with Chief Nguyen to execute key Cabinet priorities such as workplace safety and workforce career paths respectively.

Deputy Chief Sugerman-Brozan will focus on improving labor standards oversight as well as strengthening and creating a culture of workplace safety and health across the city. Recently, the City of Boston has continued to see a string of preventable workplace incidents and fatalities, particularly at construction sites across the city. The Cabinet will play a major role in understanding the causes of these incidents and in developing and implementing prevention strategies.

“I am incredibly excited to join the new Cabinet for Worker Empowerment,” said Jodi Suggesterman Brozan. “I want to thank Mayor Wu for this opportunity and for his commitment to workers’ rights and health and safety in Boston. Like the mayor, I believe that all working people should be able to return safely to their families, especially to the city I call home. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

Sugerman-Brozan is currently the executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH). During her tenure at MassCOSH, she focused on the role of worker injury and pain on workplace opioid addiction and safety protocols regarding COVID-19. She also played a key role in implementing the law that extends OSHA-level protections to public sector workers as a member of the Occupational Standards Department’s Safety and Health Advisory Council. Prior to joining MassCOSH, she had 22 years of experience with nonprofit environmental organizations, focusing on a wide range of issues, including the effects of environmental factors such as diesel exhaust on asthma and other respiratory conditions. Sugerman-Brozan holds a master’s degree in urban and environmental policy from Tufts University.

Deputy Chief Cope will primarily coordinate and build on the work of the City’s workforce employment initiatives. It will focus on building crucial career pipelines between the city and Boston’s educational institutions, and ensuring workers are connected to job opportunities and skills programs.

“I am beyond excited to take on this role to advance the Mayor’s priorities around workforce empowerment,” said Rashad Cope. “Thank you to Mayor Wu and Chief Nguyen for your commitment to training and developing pathways for workers. Boston has a thriving community of current and emerging professionals who will truly benefit from retraining and development opportunities to support their growth and success in the workplace. I appreciate the great time to serve our city in this capacity.

Cope currently serves the City of Boston, serving as Director of the Department of Youth Engagement and Employment – ​​where he provides leadership and oversight to advance the lives of Boston’s youth through programs and partnerships. strategies with stakeholders. He is responsible for developing a broad youth development strategy and plan that addresses inequities, improves quality of outcomes and elevates the work of: Hiring youth through the jobs program mayor’s summerthrough the SuccessLink program); strengthen the development of young people’s careers and skills and educational training; engaging young people in civic opportunities, connecting young people to services and resources; and amplify the voices of young people.

Cope is a proud Boston native. He earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Fitchburg State University; and a Master of Science (MS Ed.) in Educational Studies; and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Organizational Leadership from Wheelock College. Rashad’s motivation comes from being a loving and dedicated triplet and father to his son Tavaj O. Cope.

Mayor Michelle Wu has been a consistent and fair champion for Boston workers by elevating the work of critical unions, advocacy organizations, and ensuring Boston is a city for everyone. Mayor Wu reaffirmed the right of all workers to organize and bargain collectively and expanded opportunities for all to share in Boston’s economic prosperity. In 2015, then-City Councilwoman Michelle Wu drafted and passed a law guaranteeing parental leave for city workers. In 2018, then-City Councilor Wu introduced legislation to establish a fair workweek for workers at city-contracted companies.

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