COVID-19 Special Edition
Dear Members and Partners,

MWA will be providing twice weekly Workforce Connections updates as our state, our country, and the world reacts to the COVID-19 outbreak.

We want to begin with thanking everyone in the workforce system who is working around the clock to serve customers and keep their staff safe. We are in unprecedented times and together we will get through this.

Be well,

Tonja Mettlach
Raija Vaisanen
COVID-19 Updates 3.31.2020
State COVID-19 Policy Updates:
Executive Orders/Administrative Updates

  • This past weekend, the Governor requested that anyone traveling into Massachusetts from outside of the state self-quarantine for 14 days.

  • This past weekend the federal government approved Governor Baker's request for a Major Disaster Declaration for Massachusetts. This declaration allows for federal financial resources to flow to the state.

  • DUA continues to hold virtual town halls during the week. These town halls go over how to apply online for UI and staff take live questions from participants. Click here to find out additional information and register.

  • Yesterday, the House and Senate agreed upon changes to H.4598, An Act to Address Challenges Faced By Municipalities and State Authorities Resulting from COVID-19. We expect the final legislation to be sent to the Governor by Wednesday. Governor Baker filed an additional piece of COVID-19 related legislation. Of importance, this bill would allow for the following flexibilities:
  • Modify the local permitting process in municipalities;
  • Modify local town meeting deadlines;
  • Extend municipal tax deadlines;
  • Empower the Commissioner of DESE to delay the April 1st deadline for school districts to submit their first 3-year plan as required by the new Student Opportunity Act; and
  • Allows certain food establishments to sell wine and beer for takeout or delivery.
  • Allowing non-profit and public corporations to let board members and shareholders participate in board meetings remotely during this emergency; and
  • Allowing licensed attorney or paralegals who are notaries to notarize documents using electronic video conferencing.
  • The Senate also passed legislation related to expanding the scope of practice for a number of health care professions (S. 2615). House leadership believed that the Governor already has the power to do this under the state of emergency declaration. This led Governor Baker to issue an executive order authorizing the independent practice of Advanced Practice Nurses.

Resources for Businesses
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has developed a detailed guide for businesses responding to COVID-19. It includes a communications toolkit, guidance for employers and employees, an interactive workplace flyer builder and more. Click here for the site with links to these tools and resources.
  • An FAQ on the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act can be found here. The page specifically for businesses can be found here. More on this can be found in our MWA Business Resource Guide linked below.
  • Dept. of Unemployment Assistance is regularly updating its FAQ for Employers and FAQ for Employees, and information in Spanish and other languages.
  • The federal Small Business Administration issued a declaration of economic injury for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which makes it possible for impacted business owners to obtain low-interest loans. Click here to learn more.
  • Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) has a detailed resource page with links here.
  • The Main Street Alliance has developed a detailed list of financial resources available to small businesses and also a summary about policies that would support small businesses in surviving this crisis.
  • The Department of Unemployment Assistance continues to release new information on its website including detailed FAQ's and information in languages other than English. Check here for the latest.
Updated 3.31.2020: 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 we go. This update includes information on the CARES Act, updated info on the Essential Services executive order extension and links to more association resources and loan programs. 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.
JobGet Helps MassHire Boston Connect Job Seekers with Hiring Managers

As many workers in Boston begin to find themselves without work, JobGet is helping people who have been displaced connect with new employers to get back on their feet. In recent weeks, JobGet has matched many thousands of workers to essential businesses that are rapidly scaling to meet consumer demand such as CVS, Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, Star Market, Walmart, Target, etc.

JobGet is a free app that connects candidates directly with hiring managers in real time. Candidates can search and filter jobs, apply with 1-click, directly message hiring managers, and even video interview for instant qualification assessment. Jobs offers are often made within hours.

Here's a quick video that captures what JobGet is about and its impact on communities. For more info, visit
Federal COVID-19 Policy Updates:
  • On Sunday, President Trump extended his national social distancing guidelines from April 4th to April 30th.

  • Last week, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law. Guidance for Massachusetts residents related to its impact on unemployment eligibility can be found here. Governor Baker is asking that residents who qualify under the CARES Act for UI refrain from applying for benefits until the Commonwealth received guidance from the U.S. Dept. of Labor on how to implement the law. The Act identifies three unemployment compensation mechanisms:
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) - this is the program that will capture people who are not eligible for State UI benefits - runs thru December 31, 2020.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) - this is the extra 13 weeks of state UI benefits that will be tacked onto the end of state UI weeks - runs thru 12/31/2020
  • Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) - this is the extra $600 per week that all state UI, PEUC, and PUA recipients will receive thru July 31, 2020.

  • Three additional significant pieces of the CARES act:
  • Emergency Small Business Loans (emergency SBA 7(a) loans): Provides funding for special emergency loans of up to $10 million for eligible nonprofits and small businesses with 500 or fewer employees, permitting them to cover costs of payroll, operations, and debt service, and provides that the loans be forgiven in whole or in part under certain circumstances. Note: These are in addition to the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), which are available to nonprofits of any size.
  • Unemployment and Self Insured Nonprofits: Allocates federal funding to states in order to allow states to forgive one half of the costs of benefits provided to their laid-off employees. This is explained in a recent blog article.
  • Federal Charitable Giving Incentive: Includes a new above-the-line deduction (universal or non-itemized deduction that applies to all taxpayers) for total charitable contributions of up to $300. The incentive applies to contributions made in 2020 and would be claimed by donors on tax forms next year.
  • A summary of the CARES Act by the National Law Review can be found here.

  • U.S. Dept. of Labor has announced new guidance on UI flexibilities due to COVID-19 - Under this guidance, federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide UI benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits where: (1) An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work; (2) An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and (3) An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member. In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19. Click here to read more.
MWA and other workforce associations from around the country are working on ideas for a national response to unemployment related to COVID-19

Click here to view the draft document and please email Tonja with any additional comments.

Economic/Employment Research Resources
The Congressional Research Service has put out a brief summarizing the 2020 Recovery Rebates in the CARES Act that was passed. The Washington Post also published an online calculator to estimate what an individual's rebate would be.

The Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) has developed a collection of state and national-level research and analyses of the impact of coronavirus on the economy, employment and policy. It will be updated regularly during the crisis.

The Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition has been updating its list of resources focused on supporting immigrants during the COVID-19 crisis. They have also developed a policy agenda focused on the impact of the pandemic on immigrant workers and businesses. Click here to learn more.

The Aspen Institute's Economic Opportunities Program held a discussion on COVID-19 and Unemployment Insurance with the Executive Director of the National Employment Law Project, Rebecca Dixon (to view the conversation, click here). A live Q&A with Rebecca Dixon based on the discussion will be held Friday, April 3rd at at 2PM via Zoom. Click here to register for the live Q&A.
  • Good News - FLEXCon, a local manufacturer in Spencer, MA donates PPE equipment. Click here for the article.

  • Good News - New Balance offers to manufacture PPE in its Lawrence, MA manufacturing facility. Click here for the article.

  • Good News - Revolutionary Clinics in Fitchburg, MA, a medical marijuana manufacturing facility, produced an initial 35 gallons of hand sanitizer to donate to local hospitals. To read more, click here.

  • Health care establishments, pharmacies (like Walgreens, CVS etc.), grocery stores (Stop & Shop, Shaws, etc.), and online retailers like Amazon are hiring in large numbers. Anyone working with a business like these in their region to help source workers, please contact David Muldrew to let him know about your work.

  • AIM is holding a free 30 minute webinar Thursday, April 2nd at 11AM with Bob Nelson from the Small Business Administration to discuss the SBA Economic Injury Loan program. Click here to register.

  • The Arc of Massachusetts, which serves individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, has launched a weekly webinar series. Click here for a list of the webinars available and to register.

  • Attorney General Maura Healey continues to update her office's website with resources on employee rights, how to avoid coronavirus related scams, and more. Click here for resources. Her office is also holding a series of Community Engagement webinars. Click here to view the schedule and register.

  • Commonwealth Corporation has developed a resource document in response to COVID-19 for a variety of audiences including workers, businesses, those seeking educational resources for youth, mental health resources, and more. Click here to download.

  • The MA Department of Veterans Services, MA National Guard and the state's COVID-19 Response Command Team have launched the COVID-19 MA Millitary Family Relief Fund. Click here to learn more.

  • John Hampe of MassHire Metro North Career Center has shared a virtual tutorial on YoutTube for customers on how to use JobQuest. Click here to view the video.

  • Funding Available: **Please note many of these deadlines are in the process of being extended. Please contact each agency or check their websites for the most up to date information.**
  • Workforce Skills Cabinet FY21 Round 1 Skills Capital Grants, proposals due April 2nd.
  • Commonwealth Corporation FY20 Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund Grants , proposals due May 11th (extended from previous deadline of April 9th).
  • Please note that other solicitations through WCTF and Learn to Earn are likely not to be released until mid-April at the earliest, with awards not being made sooner than the beginning of FY21 (July 2020).
  • Mass Clean Energy Center 2020 Offshore Wind Workforce Training and Development, proposals due May 8th (extended beyond prior due date of April 17th).
  • *NEW*: The MA Clean Energy Center is holding a webinar on April 15th at 2PM on offshore wind workforce development in Massachusetts. BW Research will present preliminary research and analysis of regional offshore wind workforce strengths, an overview of existing regional training programs, and detailed work activities for offshore wind development, including occupational roles, offshore wind career pathways, and best practices for offshore wind workforce development. Click here to register. A recording of the webinar will be available following for those who cannot attend live here.

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

  • Job Opportunity - Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) is posting for a Director of the Career Centers System for the MassHire Metro North Career Center. 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 trainings on how to use Burning Glass's Labor Insight tool have been moved online to webinars on April 2nd and May 6th. Click here for the issuance and link to register.
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