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2024 Power 100: Jeannie Hebert

A woman with blonde straight hair and bangs wears a dark navy suit jacket and white button down with cheetah print lining. Photo I Courtesy of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce Jeannie Hebert
Jeannie Hebert Title President & CEO Company Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce, in Northbridge Employees 15 (combined between chamber and Black Valley Hub for Workforce Development) Residence Shrewsbury Colleges Tufts University, Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene Read all the Power 100 profiles here
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A constant refrain of lawmakers and industry leaders for the last three years is about the shortage of skilled labor, and for sectors like manufacturing, the shortage has been ongoing for decades. While various administrations have tried to tackle it with money for workforce development programs, Jeannie Hebert has successfully led the charge on a private-sector solution.

Leading the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce since 2008, Hebert saw a need to improve non-conventional workforce education in the state. Frustrated by the lack of access and resources for students, she realized the chamber with nearly $1 million in annual revenues and 475 member companies could lead the way in creating a program. After several fits and starts, in 2018 the chamber launched the Blackstone Valley Hub for Workforce Development, aimed at training skilled workers and connecting them to companies in need of employees.

A $456,000 grant from the former Gov. Charlie Baker Administration paid for renovation and equipment to open the hub, and state grants continue to support programming. Hub programs are available to approximately 15,000 high school students of Central Massachusetts school districts, according to its website.

Hebert, a tourism and marketing industry veteran, said in a podcast this year she led operations during the early days of the hub on Linwood Avenue in the Northbridge mill village of Whitinsville. The hub staff has now grown to 12 since its founding, and there’s a lot more in store.

The hub’s latest expansion includes an electronics and robotics lab, as well as a space for students to study and experiment with new and creative ideas.

“We are the only chamber in the country to have a school for workforce development. This allows us to train current and future employees in the skill sets our members need,” Hebert said. 

Read all the Power 100 profiles here.

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