The future is taking shape in Boston. As a world-renowned hub for higher education, innovation, and as New England’s largest employment center with over 750,000 jobs, Boston draws on a deep pool of talent from its own residents and neighboring communities.


However, the pandemic shed light on the shameful truth we all have known for some time: the deep roots of inequities in our Boston neighborhoods still very much exist. Immigrant workers, women, and single-head households who make up a significant portion of low-wage workers and front-line healthcare workers have borne the brunt of the economic fallout. No candidate understands this better than John does.


To build back better, John will seize the opportunity to provide skills training and industry credentials for rapid re-employment, and educational choices that lead to career pathways that pay family-sustaining wages for Bostonians. 


John’s Record

With institutional knowledge and an understanding of hiring trends, John is able to implement (re)employment strategies that are more equitable, to ensure that residents of color and women have access to skills training and credentials to compete for quality jobs as the economy recovers. 

Forward Thinking Strategies for Quality Job Creation 

  • As Chief of Economic Development, the City of Boston enjoyed one of the biggest economic booms in history, with 140,000 new jobs added to spur the economy, and an historically low unemployment rate. 

  • John convened the $15 Minimum Wage Task Force with employers, labor organizations, workers, legislators, and stakeholders which drafted, developed, and helped pass Massachusetts’ $15 minimum wage law with family and paid sick medical leave.

  • John supported equitable employment in the construction industry. Under his leadership, the Boston Residents Jobs Policy Ordinance was updated with increased targets of 51% residents, 40% people of color, and 12% women on large construction projects, and led to the creation of a reliable system for ensuring compliance.

  • John and Trinh Nguyen, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, co-authored the Untapped Report, which addresses degree inflation and offers solutions to break down barriers to employment, particularly in the tech sector.


Equitable Job Growth in Emerging Industries

  • John worked to create accelerators for entrepreneurs in Robotics and Digital Health, to foster hubs where Boston has an advantage. Seeing the potential job growth in growing industries, John worked with the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership to facilitate the growth of the digital health ecosystem and supported the creation of Pulse@MassChallenge. He partnered with MassRobotics to locate their accelerator in the Ray Flynn Marine Industrial Park. 

  • As Chief of Economic Development, John earned a five year US Department of Labor Demonstration Grant to engage employers, BPS students, and training organizations within the Life Sciences industry in order to diversify hiring and create career ladders for residents of color and women. With John’s leadership, 523 individuals were trained and hired through a network of 225 local employers in the Life Sciences and healthcare industries. Of those graduates, 85% gained new employment within the industries. 

  • John led the creation of the Regional Life Sciences Corridor, a partnership between Braintree, Quincy, Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Chelsea, to foster collaboration in attracting and supporting businesses working in the life sciences.

  • John and his team launched StartHub, a partnership between the City of Boston, IBM, and Venture Cafe to support and accelerate the start-up community.

  • John supported efforts to diversify the tech industry with initiatives like Hack.Diversity and the Innovation Studio in Nubian Square.

  • John and his team created Women Entrepreneurs Boston (WeBOS) to support women entrepreneurs by connecting them with growth resources, capital, funding, and networks, which culminated in an annual series of events.


Increased Access and Training for Life-Sustaining Careers

  • John was part of the team of researchers, real estate developers, and housing and jobs advocates that led a feasibility study on Boston’s Linkage Law and how to successfully increase developer fees into the Neighborhood Jobs Trust. He also used Linkage to connect specific developers with job training programs related to their projects.

  • John and his team developed the City’s Tuition-Free Community College program which pays for up to three years of college for low-income eligible students. 

  • Under John’s leadership as Chief of the Economic Development Cabinet, over 15,000 job seekers and 750 employers were served in two of the largest career centers in Massachusetts and over 2,400 Boston residents received skills training for growing and emerging industries such as IT, e-commerce, healthcare, and social services. 

  • John and his team established City Academy, a tailored training program that recruits directly from Boston’s diverse neighborhoods, provides credentials, and then works with State, City, and private employers for direct hiring. Through either Commercial Driving License (CDL) and heavy equipment operators or the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) training programs, graduates obtain good paying jobs with health benefits, pensions, union memberships and opportunities for advancement.

  • John helped create Boston Hires, a city-led program that works with employers, small businesses, and community-based organizations to secure good jobs for Boston residents. John defines “good jobs” as jobs paying at least the living wage, offering employer-sponsored benefits, and upward mobility career ladders for incumbent workers.

  • John and his team secured a $3 million, 5-year US Department of Labor American Apprenticeship Initiative grant to create a quality alternative to college. The Greater Boston American Apprenticeship Initiative (GBAAI) works with labor, training agencies, community colleges, and Wentworth Institute of Technology to train participants for apprenticeships in construction, emergency medical services, facilities maintenance, and hospitality. GBAAI has placed more than 400 graduates in apprenticeships that provide living wages, benefits, and built-in wage increases. For workers without college degrees, these apprenticeships provide a valuable route to the middle class. GBAAI provides a path to college, too—offering college credit for on-the-job training and tuition assistance for continued coursework.


Increased Youth Job Opportunities

Providing Boston’s youth with early access to training, jobs, and potential careers not only helps contribute to a families’ wealth and helps lay a foundation for future education, but also strengthens Boston’s economy and invests directly in our homegrown talent.


As a summer youth jobs participant himself, John knows firsthand how much this matters not just for young people, but for families that depend on their additional paychecks. Many youth contribute their summer paychecks for their families' household expenses, in addition to saving up for college. As Boston’s first Chief of Economic Development, John drove private sector investment in summer jobs by framing it as a talent development strategy, convincing the business community that when you invest in young people today, they will become the future of your workforce.


When John becomes the Mayor, he will continue to invest in Youth Summer Jobs, an evidence-based model to ensure that youth are set up for success not just for summer but beyond.  


  • During his tenure as the Chief of Economic Development, John recruited over 200+ employers to participate in the Mayor's Youth Summer Jobs Program to ensure that young people have meaningful work experience. 

  • To build on the success of this program and guarantee positive outcomes for youth and the local economy, John invested in a 5-year (still ongoing), randomized control study of Boston’s Youth Summer Jobs Program in partnership with Northeastern University. This evaluation showed that youth who participated in summer jobs were less likely to engage in criminal activity, more likely to graduate from high school, and have better employment outcomes in the long-term. 

  • John also piloted a “real estate career pathway” program for summer youth jobs; with Boston’s historic building boom, John got creative in identifying new industries that are not only lucrative, but were also looking for a diverse source of talent. 

  • In 2020, due to the pandemic, we experienced a summer like no other. As the Chief of Economic Development, John secured $4.2 million CARES Act funding to quickly pivot and stand up innovative options for youth, including the following programs:

    • The Learn & Earn Program: over 500 youth were paid to take college courses and earn college credits during the summer. The program attracted over 1,000 applicants in a few short months. 

    • The Blue Shirt Program: over 150 youth cleaned and beautified Boston’s streets, parks, and public spaces, which provided a productive, active outlet for youth suffering from increased screen time. 

    • Virtual engagement sessions: hundreds of youth participated in various project-based online curriculums.

    • COVID Peer Education: Boston youth were tasked with developing a marketing strategy to ensure their peers were adhering to COVID-19 safety, increasing vivid engagement and public health in some of the City’s hardest to reach demographics.

John will seize this opportunity to build back a better, more equitable Boston. John’s Jobs Plan aims to:


  • Advance policies that acknowledge the dignity of work;

  • Advocate for and recruit quality jobs with family-sustaining wages, benefits (including child care and early learning supports), and career advancement pathways for every Boston resident, prioritizing women, people of color, and returning citizens;

  • Provide financial resources and support for Boston residents to access quality job training, industry certification and post-secondary education credentials so that they can compete in emerging and growth industries;

  • Push for tuition free and debt free post-secondary education for Boston’s high school students and young adults; and

  • Promote meaningful youth employment for positive development.


As Mayor, John will do this by: 


  • Increasing industry recognized credentials for unemployed and under-employed residents: Nearly 44% of the jobs in Massachusetts will require some kind of post-secondary education credentials by 2025. As Mayor, John will increase funding and expand eligibility so that residents can access credentialed training, and more importantly, engage employers so that they can hire directly from the talent pipeline.


  • Developing Career Pathways into Quality Jobs that pay family-sustaining wages, benefits, retirement plans, and provide upward mobility for workers. John knows that a minimum wage job is not enough to buy a home so that families can put their roots into Boston’s neighborhoods, pay for their children’s colleges, and support a healthy, thriving family in the city. John will use his relationships with current employers on a campaign to Build Boston Back Better. The campaign will encourage employers to hire women, people of color and those who have post-secondary education equivalency. Special attention will be focused on good-paying jobs that don’t require four-year degrees. 


  • Collaborating with the federal government to make best use of available  programs, leverage partners, and methodically use these resources to build more infrastructure, and create job opportunities and tools for bringing up communities with high unemployment.


  • Establishing a Green Jobs team within our Office of Workforce Development that will focus on job training for careers in clean energy, green infrastructure, environmental education, and prioritize environmental justice. Responding to the crisis of climate change is not only our responsibility; it’s also an opportunity to create thousands of jobs in emerging industries, and prepare our residents for the careers of the future. John will work to create an ecosystem that allows Boston to grow as a leader in this industry. For example, John's administration will strengthen carbon emissions standards for our city’s buildings, which will include the retrofitting of existing buildings. This is a perfect opportunity to dedicate career pathways for people of color, low income residents, and other populations most vulnerable to climate impacts. 


  • Expanding Eligibility of Boston’s Tuition Free Community College Program: The pandemic devastated Boston’s families and workers. Prior to COVID, young adults, women, and low-wage workers strived to obtain a Bachelors or Associates Degree while working part-time. When the pandemic hit, these students lost their jobs, childcare, and some have lost their homes. Their dream of obtaining a degree was immediately shattered. As Mayor, John will expand Boston’s Tuition-Free Community College to allow ALL Bostonians to attend any of the program’s six education partners free of charge. This will include residents who aspire to attend college for short-term job training, on a part-time basis as they are working simultaneously to build back what they’ve lost, and those who are returning citizens coming out of the criminal justice system. John’s goal is to make post-secondary education and resources as equitable as possible so that families can expeditiously get on an equitable platform to compete for jobs as the economy recovers.


  • Committing to Supporting Madison Park High School to become a regional hub of excellence, leveraging business and community partnerships to finally realize the potential of the educational gem in the heart of Roxbury. Read more about John’s Madison Park High School Plan.


  • Making Youth Development & Learning a Priority through Summer Jobs:  The pandemic wreaked havoc on so many families, shuttering schools, and forcing students to learn remotely. John understands that this setback is tremendous for young adults, mentally, physically and socially. As Mayor, John will use his experience and build on Boston’s Summer Youth Jobs Campaign. He will ensure that 11,000 youth in Boston have the opportunity to learn from an evidence-based development curriculum, and work experience that has relevance to the youth’s career goals. He will see that they gain a positive work experience that will inform their post-secondary education goals. 


  • Providing permitting and licensing relief for job creation by writing strong employment agreements into the City’s Article 80 process, and working with the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals to ensure that large local employers are tapping into the city’s resident talent pool. 


  • Supporting Creative Economy jobs by working with MassArt and Emerson College to design an Office of Workforce Development program for the Creative Industries. Collaborators will include Boston Public School, Edvestors, Creative youth development organizations, higher education institutions, and creative industries to identify and support complete youth creative pathways. Read more about John’s plan to develop talent in Boston’s arts & culture sectors.


Just as this campaign is a community effort, this policy plan has been informed by a diverse group of residents, policy makers, and community organizations who reflect Boston's ingenuity, passion, and future. In this policy you will see your voice reflected and your neighborhood priorities front and center. I am incredibly grateful for the hours, data, and guidance leant to support this effort. I welcome continued feedback and suggestions from all corners of the city, because I know that policies are most successful when led by the community.
Now, more than ever, I have the opportunity to bring all voices to the table to create a Boston that brings prosperity and justice for everyone.Together we can create a Boston where nobody is left behind.
Thank you for reading and helping to shape Boston's future, I look forward to working with you.