Mayor Michelle Wu today announced the creation of the Cabinet for Worker Empowerment led by Trinh Nguyen who will serve as the City’s Chief of Worker Empowerment. The Cabinet, equipped with oversight and resources, is charged with advancing the well-being of all working Bostonians in both the public and private sectors. The Mayor also announced that Jodi Sugerman-Brozan and Rashad Cope will both serve as the cabinet’s Deputy Chiefs.
“Boston can do so much more to advance and empower workers across all of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Our economy is at a turning point, and as we work to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, we’ll support one of Boston’s greatest strengths: our workforce and people. When we make Boston a city for everyone, every family and business benefits from our growth. I am thrilled for Trinh, Jodi and Rashad’s leadership, and look forward to collaborating with this new cabinet on policies and programs that drive this crucial work forward for all Boston workers and their communities.”
The Cabinet will advance the Mayor’s work to enhance and strengthen Boston’s workforce and economy by:
- Bringing together related roles and functions that were spread across several city departments and agencies under a single, unified cabinet
- Setting the City’s future policy and vision for workers with an immediate focus on implementing Boston’s Green New Deal
- Regulating, overseeing and improving workplace conditions and health for workers
- Expanding economic opportunity for workers through access to quality jobs, skills trainings and career pipelines
This newly formed cabinet, led by Chief Nguyen, will ensure better accountability and coordination, and closely align worker empowerment policy and programs with the administration’s broader commitment of ensuring Boston is a safe, healthy and climate resilient city for all. Led by Nguyen, the Cabinet for Worker Empowerment will play a major role in implementing Boston’s Green New Deal for Boston Public Schools, which includes creating green jobs with livable wages, good benefits, and strong worker protections across the city.
“I am excited, honored and humbled by this great opportunity to serve the City and its residents,” said Trinh Nguyen. “Boston has recently experienced tremendous economic growth and prosperity, however, the future promises even greater opportunities if we prioritize equal access to quality jobs and skills training for all Bostonians. We look forward to engaging with employers, workers and public and private stakeholders towards this collective vision.”
Trinh Nguyen is the current Director of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (OWD), an affiliated division of the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA). As Director of OWD, she has launched such initiatives as the Tuition-Free Community College Program, the Greater Boston American Apprenticeships, and various career pathways for the healthcare, clean energy and construction sectors. Prior to her role at OWD, Nguyen was the Chief of Staff at the Boston Housing Authority.
Nguyen has nearly 25 years of experience in operations, programs, resource, and budget management. She has worked in executive management for various community non-profits and public sector agencies. She is currently Chair of the Neighborhood Jobs Trust, a Trustee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council, and a Trustee of Bunker Hill Community College. Nguyen holds dual graduate degrees and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and was a community fellow at MIT’s Department of Urban Planning.
Deputy Chiefs Jodi Sugerman-Brozan and Rashad Cope will work with Chief Nguyen to execute the Cabinet’s key priorities, such as workplace safety and workforce career pipelines respectively.
Deputy Chief Sugerman-Brozan will focus on improving oversight of labor standards as well as strengthening and building a culture of workplace safety and health across the city. Recently, the City of Boston has continued to see a range of preventable workplace incidents and fatalities, particularly on construction sites across the City. The Cabinet will play a major role in understanding what is causing these incidents and developing and implementing prevention strategies.
“I am incredibly excited to join the new Cabinet for Worker Empowerment,” said Jodi Sugerman-Brozan. “I want to thank Mayor Wu for this opportunity and for her commitment to workers rights and health and safety in Boston. Like the Mayor, I believe that all workers should be able to come home to their families alive and well, especially in the City that I call home. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”
Sugerman-Brozan currently serves as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH). During her tenure with MassCOSH, she has focused on the role of worker injury and pain on opiate addiction in the workplace and safety protocols concerning COVID-19. She has also played a key role in the implementation of the law that extends OSHA level protections to public sector workers as a member of the Department of Labor Standards’ Safety & Health Advisory Board. Prior to joining MassCOSH, she had 22 years of experience with environmental non-profits, focusing on a wide range of issues including the effects of environmental factors such as diesel exhaust on asthma rates and other respiratory afflictions. Sugerman-Brozan holds a Masters 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. He will focus on constructing crucial career pipelines between the City and Boston’s educational institutions, and ensuring workers are connected with job opportunities and skill programs.
“I am beyond excited to step into 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 pathway development for workers. Boston has a thriving community of current and emerging professionals that will truly benefit from reskilling and upskilling opportunities to support their growth and success in the workplace. I appreciate the tremendous moment to serve our city in this capacity.”
Cope currently serves the City of Boston, as Director of the Department of Youth Engagement & Employment – where he provides leadership and oversight to advance the lives of Boston’s youth through programs and strategic partnerships with stakeholders. He is responsible for developing an extensive strategy and youth development plan that addresses inequities, improves quality outcomes and elevates the work of: hiring youth in the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program (via the SuccessLink Program); strengthening youth career & skill development and educational training; engaging youth in civic opportunities, connecting youth to services and resources; and amplifying the voices of youth.
Cope is a proud native of the City of Boston. He earned a Bachelors of Science (B.S) and a Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from Fitchburg State University; and a Masters of Science (MS Ed.) in Education Studies; and a Nonprofit Organizational Leadership Graduate Certificate from Wheelock College. Rashad’s drive comes from being a triplet and a loving and dedicated father of son Tavaj O. Cope.
Mayor Michelle Wu has been a consistent and equitable champion for Boston workers through uplifting the work of critical labor unions, advocacy organizations and ensuring that Boston is a city for everyone. Mayor Wu has 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 Councilor Michelle Wu authored and passed legislation guaranteeing parental leave for city workers. In 2018, then-City Councilor Wu filed legislation to establish a Fair Work Week for workers at city-contracted companies.