Boston Linkage Fee for Large-Scale Developments Produces Jobs and Housing

If meeting a growing demand for early education professionals by providing education and skill building programs to Boston residents wanting to enter the field and improve their earning potential seems like a win-win proposition, the City of Boston’s Jobs and Community Services (JCS) Office would agree.  The JCS recently awarded the Action for Boston Community Development $50,000 for its Early Education NextSTEPS program, which offers Boston residents free education and training for entry-level. NextSTEPS is a 15-week program involving coursework in child growth and development and college-level writing, non-credit training in CPR and first aid, and career and life skills training such as resume preparation and personal financial management.

The funding for the NextSTEPS program was part of more than $1 million the JCS awarded to nineteen community-based employment and workforce development programs from the Neighborhood Jobs Trust in early October. With an emphasis on connecting Boston residents with “permanent and quality” jobs, the funding awards, ranging from $25,000 to $90,000, were made to training programs that are tied to areas of growing job opportunities and that take an integrated approach, developing skills that could lead to employment opportunities in multiple industries or services.

The Neighborhood Jobs Trust, along with Neighborhood Housing Trust, is supported by linkage fees from large-scale real estate development projects as a means of providing benefits to Boston residents who may be affected by development in their neighborhoods. Linkage fees are levied on non-residential developments, normally upon receipt of the building permit or prior to construction. The proceeds are used to fund the construction of affordable housing residential developments and to fund Job Training Programs. Confronted with the challenge of balancing large-scale commercial development with residential construction and an existing workforce in need of new job skills, the City of Boston established the Neighborhood Housing Trust (NHT) in 1986.  As stated in its Declaration of Trust: “This Trust is established to promote the public health, safety, convenience and welfare by mitigating the extent to which Boston’s low or moderate income households are unable to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing within the City of Boston.”