JVS Events

Our Mission and Values

JVS convenes regular Economic Opportunity Forums, inviting presenters to discuss key topics related to economic opportunity in Greater Boston and the field of workforce development in general. Since 2015, JVS has held an in-person forum in spring and another in the fall, at the JVS Center for Economic Opportunity located at 75 Federal Street in Boston’s Financial District. In 2020 JVS began holding forums virtually as webinars, making it possible for anyone to participate from any location. Check out our upcoming and previous events below, or join our mailing list to be notified as new events are scheduled.

Upcoming Forums & Webinars:

Previous Forums & Webinars:

The Ruth Forum: Stories of Resilience | Lessons from the Book of Ruth (06/01/22)

This year our theme from the Book of Ruth was “RESILIENCE.” Rabbi Noah Cheses (of Young Israel of Sharon) taught how Ruth transitioned from death and sorrow to resilience and hope. He then introduced Joel Obermayer, Executive Director of Widen the Circle, a non-profit that highlights the resilience of those who seek to combat hate and prejudice by fostering a shared understanding of the past. And finally, we heard from Valeria Antoine, a JVS client from our Together We Rise Program, an initiative of JVS and CJP, who shared her story of resilience, hope and triumph.

We heard opening remarks from Judy Obermayer, Co-founder (with her late husband, Arthur) of the Obermayer Foundation and long-time JVS Board Member.
Special thanks to our speakers:
  • Rabbi Noah Cheses, Young Israel of Sharon 
  • Joel Obermayer, Founder & Executive Director, Widen the Circle
  • Valeria Antoine, Patient Care Coordinator, Mass General Hospital


JVS '22 and Beyond | The State of JVS (02/10/22)

During the virtual event, we discussed how JVS is working to solve the workforce and economic challenges facing the Commonwealth.

Special thanks to our speakers:

  • Jennifer Rosenbaum, JVS Board Member and Resource Development Committee Chair
  • Nicole Bassaleh, WIOA Program Manager, JVS Boston MassHire
  • Shiu Yip Cheung, WIOA Career Navigator, JVS Boston MassHire
  • Jerry Rubin, President and Chief Executive Officer, JVS Boston
  • Paul Osterman, NTU Professor of HR at M.I.T. Sloan School of Management
  • Kira Khazatsky, Chief Operating Officer, JVS Boston

Job Quality: An Equitable and Smart Strategy for Employers in This Tight Labor Market | A JVS Economic Opportunity Forum (11/08/21)

In the midst of a very tight job market, attracting and retaining the best workforce is more important than ever. During our forum, we discussed how job quality can keep employers competitive in their field and enable workers to attain economic stability and contribute to a thriving economy.

Our panel was comprised of experts including:

Each speaker offered their perspective on job quality and the current labor market, followed by an employer panel (Boloco, Legacy Lifecare, Little Sprouts and Maple Knoll Communities) about how to become and the benefits of being a Quality Employer and a collection of JVS client voices on what makes a job a quality job.

Shortly after the forum, we kicked off our first ever 10-Day Job Quality Challenge. For 10 business days, participants will receive an email with short assigned readings, recordings and reflections that provide a context for why Job Quality matters, insight into the issues that are important to workers, and the actions we can take to improve jobs and attract, hire, and retain a productive workforce so businesses can thrive. Learn more and register here. It's never too late to join!

Thank you to The Care Institute and Massachusetts Senior Care Association for co-sponsoring this event.

All JVS Economic Opportunity Forums are brought to you by CVS Health

The Ruth Forum: Repairing the World (Lessons from the Book of Ruth) (05/11/21)

Our moderator, Rabbi Noah Cheses, shared a number of important themes found in the Book of Ruth:
  • “Every human being is inherently deserving of the dignity and nobility that comes with economic self-sufficiency.”
  • "The Book of Ruth presents a majestic societal vision of reallocating resources between the haves and the have-nots by means of a system that magnifies the dignity and self-reliance of the immigrant.”
  • “We have the ability to bring the values of the book of Ruth to life by establishing a more just and beautiful world."
Our panelists presented several Jewish community partnership initiatives:
Together, these partnerships provide a lifeline for hundreds of immigrants and refugees each year, enabling a vital workforce that contributes to the local economy. We invite you to join us and be part of these efforts.

A Stranger No More: Refugee Resettlement 2.0 | JVS Boston and RefugePoint (03/02/21)

The refugee crisis may be out of the headlines, but it hasn’t gone away. There are now over 26 million refugees around the world – the most ever in history.

As discussed in the panel, we are excited and hopeful to build back a better refugee resettlement program. The new administration has committed to grow resettlement to the highest levels in more than a decade. However, we are still waiting for President Biden to sign the Presidential Determination to allow 62,500 refugees to be resettled in the remaining seven months of this fiscal year - and until he does, we are still operating under the very restrictive policies left over from the Trump administration.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution for refugee resettlement. It is time to advocate for smarter policies and creative ideas on both the sending and receiving ends of the issue. We must seize opportunities to better prepare individuals before they arrive, and to connect them with communities where they can thrive. At the same time, we must advocate for stronger resettlement practices once they are here. Given the right support system, most refugees will enrich American society, culturally and economically - proving that the rate of return on investment in their future far exceeds the cost.

Resources Shared: 

2021: The State of Jobs, the Economy and Inclusive Recovery | A JVS Economic Opportunity Forum (02/02/21)

With vaccination efforts underway, how can we help people get back to work quickly while promoting an inclusive and equitable recovery? Please join our conversation about the future of our regional workforce.

Slide Deck:

Pay for Success: Working Towards Economic Advancement | A JVS Economic Opportunity Forum (11/18/20)

Newly released gold-standard evaluation documents significant employment and wage gains for immigrant workers.

Early results from an on-going randomized control trial show that the English for Advancement project succeeds in helping English-language learners get jobs, increase their wages, and retain employment over two years compared to a control group. Results will be shared by Mark Elliott of Economic Mobility Corporation and discussed by a distinguished panel including MA Education Secretary Jim Peyser, Tracy Palandjian of Social Finance, and moderated by Jerry Rubin of JVS. Also featuring recorded interviews with students, instructors, coaches, and partners.

As the country grapples with economic disparities and an 8% unemployment rate, policy makers around the country are looking for efficient and effective ways to get people back to work. JVS’s innovative model combining vocational English classes and job coaching has demonstrated significant wage gains and job retention for participants.  The Forum will explore how we can apply lessons from the project to post-pandemic recovery, especially for immigrant workers hard hit by unemployment. 

View Pay for Success Tool Kit

Key Resources:
Additional Links:

The Digital Divide: Providing Practical Solutions for Workforce Development (06/25/20)

As COVID-19 shut down in-person services, many of us transitioned to working from home and delivering services online. But this crisis has brought into stark relief the nation’s digital divide, the unequal distribution of digital access by income and by race. Join us for a panel discussion sharing practical solutions for remote learning and service delivery.

JVS Boston will share lessons learned from their rapid transition to remote service delivery, including choosing the right technology, redesigning group and individual service delivery, and addressing client technology needs.

The EdTech Center @ World Education will discuss its digital inclusion and COVID-19 response efforts and learnings from their work to support programs and practitioners across the country rapidly shift learning and services to remote models.

Harvard University’s interdisciplinary Project on Workforce will describe their efforts to chart the course for a post-secondary system of the future that creates more & better pathways to economic mobility.

View Share Resources

Slide Decks:
Links shared by panelists:

Workforce Development in the Time of COVID-19 | A JVS Economic Opportunity Forum (05/14/20)

Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta and JVS Boston President & CEO Jerry Rubin discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the workforce in Boston, both during the crisis and as we look to restarting the economy. JVS VP of Employer Engagement Mandy Townsend also shared how JVS’s new Talent Match Portal is changing the way our clients access both critical services and job opportunities.

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