COVID-19 Special Edition
Dear Members and Partners,

Below is this week's special edition of Workforce Connections. Please share these with your staff and encourage them to sign up for the newsletter .

Our thanks continue for all those in the workforce system who are working around the clock to serve customers through these challenging times. Together we will get through this.

Be well,

Tonja Mettlach
Raija Vaisanen
COVID-19 Updates 4.16.2020
State COVID-19 Policy Updates:
Executive Orders/Administrative Updates:

  • The leaders of the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative and the Baker-Polito Administration have set up the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (M-ERT) led by MassTech Collaborative to mobilize, organize, and operationalize critical path work streams necessary for Massachusetts manufacturers to pivot their operations to produce needed materials in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more if you are interested in participating.

  • New executive orders initiatives:
  • Massachusetts will join six other Eastern states to coordinate strategies for reopening their economies after the coronavirus pandemic eases. Massachusetts will join Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island in this effort.
  • Governor Baker announced testing for COVID-19 for frontline workers will include grocery store workers.
  • The Baker-Polito Administration also outlined ongoing steps to support long-term care facilities, including $130 million in new funding, expanded testing, PPE distribution and more. You can read the press release here.

Attorney General:
  • This week, Attorney General Maura Healey launched a website with resources to support frontline workers during the COVID-19 crisis including where to find free or discounted meals, how to secure PPE, and more. Click here for the website.

MA Legislature:
  • On Tuesday, Chairman Michlewitz, Chairman Rodrigues, and Secretary Heffernan held a virtual budget hearing to get a better understanding on how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the state budget. The testimony and projected impact was sobering, with many predicting our state and country will experience its worst recession since the Great Depression. While many of the experts warned lawmakers that there are no certainties, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation testified that 2020 tax collections could fall by over $4 billion, with almost 700,000 jobs lost by the end of this quarter. Alan Clayton Matthews, a Northeastern University professor, testified that 20% of the Commonwealth's workforce will be unemployed, furloughed, on leave or will have dropped out of the workforce by June, projecting the number of unemployed to peak at 875,000 by July. Click here to watch the budget hearing and here for a Commonwealth Magazine article summarizing the hearing.
  • Yesterday, the House and Senate agreed upon a compromise bill which will temporarily ban most eviction and foreclosure proceedings in Massachusetts. H.4647 will apply to both residents and small business owners who rent property. The compromise bill was passed yesterday by the House and the Senate is expected to take up this legislation in a session being held later today. Once passed by both Chambers it will be sent to the Governor.

Resources for Businesses:
  • The Small Business Administration announced Thursday morning that they are unable to accept new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program due to running out of funding from the initial appropriation. Click here for the SBA's website with the note and here for a Washington Post news article on the situation.
  • The Massachusetts Division of Banks released guidance on April 6th for banks on how to implement the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program. Click here for the guidance.
  • The National Workplace Resource Center developed a website with resources for employers who are supporting workers experiencing domestic or sexual violence at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more.
  • The Western MA Economic Development Corporation recently shared this list of funding resources available for businesses.
  • MassHire BizWorks is regularly updating a powerpoint resource for businesses that includes contact information for their regional staff who can help businesses with WorkShare, layoff aversion and other opportunities. Click here for the latest powerpoint, and go here for more information (updated ppts can be found at the bottom of the page under "Additional Resources").
Updated 4.16.2020: MWA Business Resources Guide in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
We've developed a one page sheet of resources for businesses during this incredibly difficult time. We will continue to update this as new information becomes available. This current update includes information on recent guidance and updates on the Paycheck Protection Program and the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team. Please don't hesitate to contact Raija if there are resources to add.

Click here to download the latest PDF version.

Click here for a Word version you can customize for your MassHire region.
The 2020 Census is Here!!
Households around the country are receiving invitations to complete the 2020 Census  online , by phone , or via paper questionnaire . Make sure you fill out the census today! Federal, state and local government use the Census to allocate funding to communities for a number of public programs. Everyone counts and everyone should be counted!
Federal COVID-19 Policy Updates:
  • Yesterday U.S. DOL announced the states that had their COVID-19 emergency applications for the National Dislocated Worker Grant Program approved. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development was awarded $6,993,000. Within 60 days MA will have to submit a full budget and implementation plan to ETA. You can view additional information and the full list of grantees here.

  • The IRS has created a portal for those not required to file taxes to submit information to receive their COVID-19 Economic Impact Payment. Click here to view additional information.

  • The Small Business Administration released an FAQ for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) included in the federal CARES Act. Click here for additional information.

  • Earlier this month MWA joined almost 20 states who are part of the United States Workforce Association (USWA) in a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, the White House, and DOL. The letter outlines the federal investment the workforce system will need in a subsequent stimulus package. You can view the letter here. In addition, USWA joined with over 30 other national organizations in sending an additional workforce letter which can be viewed here.
Flow Chart to Help Navigate Paid Leave and Unemployment Associated with COVID-19
The National Employment Law Project in partnership with Family Values @ Work developed this flow chart to help people understand how one qualifies for some of the relief programs included in the federal COVID-19 legislation. This does not preclude state's ability to implement these programs but it is a helpful tool to start with.

Economic/Employment Research Resources
Today, UI claims for last week were released indicating an additional 103K people filed for unemployment assistance last week in Massachusetts, down about 36K from the previous week. This makes a total of 570K claims over the past month in MA. More than 5.2M people filed for unemployment last week nationwide (seasonally adjusted) bringing the nationwide total to 22M.

This week, the UMass Donahue Institute released a data visualization showing the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 is having on Massachusetts communities of color and urban areas. Click here to view the Tableau dashboard.

This week, The Boston Foundation's Boston Indicators project released a brief analysis of the Center for Economic Policy Research work on understanding the demographics of essential frontline workers in Massachusetts during COVID-19. Click here for more.

This week, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) issued a brief on the impact of COVID-19 related unemployment on residents' ability to afford housing. Click here for the Executive Summary and here to download the brief. MAPC is hosting a webinar on April 22nd to discuss this issue further. Click here to register.

Last week, the Migration Policy Institute released an analysis of the numbers of foreign-born immigrant health professionals across the country who cannot work in their field because of licensure restrictions. They estimate in Massachusetts there are 3,000 foreign-born immigrants who cannot contribute their skills to the public health fight against the pandemic. Click here for the summary and click here for the data by state.

Researchers from Columbia University and Duke University use findings from a current study of working families to understand the impact of the pandemic on their work hours, income and family well-being. Click here to read the findings from the research snapshot.
  • Good News - Lawrence-based manufacturer, 99Degrees, is now producing isolation gowns for medical professionals. Click here to read more about Founder and CEO Brenna Schneider's participation in a Baker-Polito Administration Press Conference and the broader manufacturing initiative underway.

  • Good News - Gillette joins PPE Manufacturing Effort - click here to read more.

  • Good News - EOHED grant funded online manufacturing training is being made available at Cape Cod Community College through the MassHire Southeastern MA Regional Partnership. Click here to learn more and share.

  • Resource - A new online resource for the Western MA region,, will provide residents the ability to access critical information, resources, and referrals to community-serving organizations from one online portal.

  • The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles is seeing customers in-person by appointment only for certain necessary and required transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more.

  • COVID-19 Long Term Care and Temporary Health Care Sites Hiring - Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders announced a new website that will be posting jobs at COVID-19 temporary care sites. Click here to view and learn more about the positions that are open.

  • Resource - Lt. Governor Polito announced resources for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. SafeLink, the Commonwealth's statewide, 24/7 toll-free and confidential domestic violence hotline, has been expanded to include resources and support for survivors of sexual assault. The SafeLink toll-free number is (877) 785-2020. For the hearing-impaired, the SafeLink TTY number is (877) 521-2601. Advocates are available in English and Spanish and can provide translation in more than 130 languages.

  • Resource - The National Women's Law Center developed a resource to ensure that home-based child care providers can access new and expanded federal benefits. Click here to learn more.

  • Resource - MEMA and partners have developed an interactive map with public resources, including food banks and houses of worship among others, across the Commonwealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to view the map.

  • Resource - The National Immigrant Law Center developed a resource for immigrant workers and their advocates during COVID-19. Click here for more.

  • Blood Donations: Those who are healthy, feeling well and eligible to give blood or platelets, are urged to make an appointment to donate as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

  • Job Opportunity - The Department of Unemployment Assistance is hiring job service representatives (multiple openings). Click here to read the job description and apply.

  • Job Opportunities - Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) is posting for a Director of the Career Centers System for the MassHire Metro North Career Center, in addition to a Program Manager and Assistant Program Manager. For the job postings click here. To learn more and apply online click here.

  • Job Opportunities - Commonwealth Corporation is hiring Employer Outreach Specialists, a Sr. Program Manager for Youth Development, Salesforce Nonprofit Consultant, and a Coach for Competency Based Education Coaching Services. Click here to learn more and apply.

  • Job Opportunity - MassHire Springfield Career Center is hiring a Customer Service Specialist. Click here to learn more and apply.

  • Job Opportunities - MassHire Metro North Workforce Board is seeking a Manager of Workforce Systems and a Youth Program Specialist. Click here to learn more and apply.

  • Training Opportunity - MDCS, in partnership with NASWA, is offering several free webinars throughout April on LinkedIn for frontline workforce development staff. Click here for the schedule and links to register.

  • Training Opportunity: MDCS trainings on how to use Burning Glass's Labor Insight tool have been moved online to webinars on May 6th. Click here for the issuance and link to register.

  • Remote Learning Opportunities - The MASSCAP Training Center has issued a new list of available webinars related to the current crisis and a number of topics relevant for non-profits and community action agencies. Click here to view the latest release.

  • The Aspen Institute's Economic Opportunity Program is holding a webinar on Tuesday, April 21st in its Job Quality in Practice series called "Worker Organizations Respond to the COVID-19 Crisis." Click here for more and to register.

  • Article - Survey of more than 2,100 cities nationwide show municipalities bracing for budget shortfalls. Click here to read more in the Washington Post.

MWA is on social media! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest workforce news and updates.