In This Issue:

  • State and Federal Policy Updates: House FY24 Budget, Important Bills to Know About, Unemployment and Economic Analysis, Federal Debt Limit Impasse, US DOL Responds to Budget Cut Estimates, Julie Su Nomination Advances to Senate Floor, NAWB Leadership Announcement
  • MWA Updates: Racial Justice Resources, MWA Growing Equity Webinar Series, Session 1 Recap, Meet MWA, Updated Strategic Plan for FY24-26
  • Member Updates: US DOL Continues Dislocated Worker Funding in Merrimack Valley, Greater New Bedford Supporting Offshore Wind, Gearing Up for Summer Jobs
  • News From Around the Sector: Jobs, funding, news and updates
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State Public Policy
State House

House Files Its FY24 Budget

On April 12th, the House Ways and Means (HWM) Committee released its FY24 Budget (click here to read our summary). After two weeks of amendment filing and discussion, the full House voted unanimously yesterday evening to approve their final FY24 budget. The $56.2B spending bill assumes passage of a separate tax reform package. The final bill increased by $120M from the original HWM version and legalizes online lottery sales, allocating those revenues to early education and child care grants (C3). Workforce development line items remained at the levels originally proposed by HWM, and MWA's priorities received strong funding levels, particularly the Career Center Line Item at $15M. The budget process now moves to the Senate, whose Ways and Means Committee should release their version of the budget in mid-May. The Senate is expected to release a tax reform package, as well. Click here to view MWA's FY23 budget priority line items. We will keep you updated as the state budget process continues.

Governor Healey Signs Supplemental Budget for FY23

On March 29th, Governor Healey signed a $1.1B supplemental budget, which included both spending and borrowing focused on supporting critical safety net programs including the emergency shelter program, three months of additional food aid for SNAP recipients, and the universal school meal program. The funding includes $125M in matching funds to help compete for federal dollars such as those associated with the CHIPS and Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Governor Healey recently appointed Quentin Palfrey to a new cabinet level position focused on going after federal funding opportunities for infrastructure, climate, and economic development. Click here to view the supp.

Highlighting Legislation Impacting Employers, Job Seekers, and the MA Workforce System

Each month, MWA highlights legislation of interest to the greater workforce development community. We hope to educate readers about pending legislation, and in some instances, provide actionable steps to take for those who want to support the proposal and/or learn more. See below for this month's highlight:

H.1849 An Act Relative to Salary Range Transparency

S.1191 An Act Relative to Pay Range Disclosure

These bills require employers to provide salary ranges when hiring for a position and protects employees’ rights to ask for salary ranges in the workplace. 

H.1940 and S. 1181 An Act Relative to Transparency in the Workplace

These bills require employers to share their EEOC data with the Secretary of State's Office to help identify state level aggregate gender and racial wage gaps within industry sectors.

Click here to read a fact sheet from the Wage Equity Now Coalition about these two policies and here for more information on their website. Click here for some press coverage of the legislation.

March 2023 Unemployment Rate and Economic Analysis

On April 21st, the state released the unemployment rate for March and the revised rate for February 2023. Click here to read the April 21st state press release. Massachusetts' March rate declined 0.2 of a percentage point from February to 3.5 percent, same as the national rate for March. The MA labor force participation rate remained flat at 65.0 percent, down 0.3 of a percentage point from the prior year (March 2022). The labor force increased by 300 from February 2023. Since the employment low at the beginning of the pandemic (April 2020), Massachusetts has gained 696,700 jobs. The largest over the year gains occurred in Education and Health Services; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; and Leisure and Hospitality.

Click here to read the most recent state press release. Local unemployment estimates for March were released on 4/25. The most recent local press release can be found here.

Economic Analysis

On March 30th, MassBenchmarks released their Notes from the Board analysis of the Commonwealth's economic conditions. State GDP is similar or exceeding the US averages and payroll employment increased at the end of 2022. Almost all of the state's major industry sectors are sharing in this growth. However, the state's economic situation still faces challenges: a shrinking working age population and high costs of living. Click here for the full analysis. The full MassBenchmarks Journal was issued on April 14th and includes articles on the North Shore's Blue Economy, the Care Sector in MA, and how retirements may help diversify small businesses. Click here for the latest issue of the journal.

Federal Public Policy
Capital Building_ Washington DC

House Narrowly Passes Debt Limit Increase

Last night, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was able to get just enough votes to pass the Limit, Save, Grow Act that would both increase the debt ceiling and freeze spending to FY22 levels for the next decade. It would also add or expand work requirements for individuals receiving SNAP, Medicaid, or TANF. President Biden has stated that he will veto any debt ceiling legislation that comes with conditions, and the bill is unlikely to advance in the Democratic-led Senate. If the debt ceiling is not increased, the government could face default as early as this summer.

U.S. Department of Labor Estimates Impacts of Proposed Budget Cuts

US DOL sent a letter to Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro on the Appropriations Committee detailing the impact of setting FY24 budget items to FY22 levels or a 22% cut, which have been proposed by House Republicans. Hundreds of thousands of job seekers could be affected. Click here to read the letter.

Julie Su Nomination to Secretary of Labor

Julie Su's confirmation hearing by the Senate HELP Committee was held last week and yesterday the committee voted to advance her nomination. The hearing showed the party-line divisions on her nomination which will make it difficult for her nomination to move quickly on the Senate floor. Several Democratic Senators have not publicly said how they will vote. Click here for press coverage of the process.

NAWB Board Announces Leadership Transition

The Board of Directors of NAWB announced this week that Ron Painter would be stepping down at the end of June as President and CEO of the association to pursue new opportunities. Ron has been the leader of the National Association of Workforce Boards for the past 14 years and has a long career in workforce development. Click here to view the announcement. We wish Ron all the best in his future endeavors!

Racial Justice in Workforce Development Resources

MWA is following the conversation among the workforce development and related communities about how racism and white supremacy influence the field and practice of workforce development. We will continue to use this newsletter to share relevant tools, articles, webinars and resources to support the workforce development community.

MWA Growing Equity Webinar Series - Join us for our upcoming webinar series! Links to register below:


Growing Equity Session 1 Recap: Empowering Workers through Workforce Development

On April 19th, MWA held our first session in our 2023 Growing Equity Series. Led by Alison Dickson from the University of Illinois and Adrian Esquivel from the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, we learned about why it is so important for workers to have the information about their rights on the job. Illinois is the first state to develop a curriculum for workforce development on how to support workers in understanding their rights. They also shared a great new job quality tool that was developed from a survey of workers. Click here to learn more about the curriculum and here to view and try out their job quality assessment tool.

2023 MWA Growing Equity Webinar Series:

Building a More Inclusive and Just Workforce System

Missed our April webinar? No problem! You can still join MWA for our virtual series to help us build a more inclusive and just workforce system. MWA believes we have a role to play in developing a more equitable and just workforce development system in Massachusetts. In this second year of our Growing Equity webinar series, we will host 4 virtual sessions between April and July. While we hope participants will join us for all of the sessions, there is no requirement to do so. Here are our upcoming webinars:

Goals of the Growing Equity Series:

  • Participants learn how workers can benefit from education about their rights in the workplace and why worker voice matters.
  • Participants learn more about the mindset and process of human-centered design, understand the impact it can have on workforce service delivery via case studies, and consider redesigning services within their own organizations.
  • Participants understand the state budget process, how decisions on funding are made, particularly in relation to workforce development, and why the state budget can be considered a moral document.
  • Participants come away with actionable steps for their organizations and some vision and input into how MWA can continue to advance this work.

Meet MWA!

Do you only know MWA through this newsletter? Do you want to learn more about our Association and how to join? Are you a member, but don't know what benefits we offer? We have the webinar for you! Join us on Friday, May 5th at 10AM for a brief webinar where we share more about how we lead, advocate, and convene on behalf of the MA public workforce system! Click here to register.

MWA Updated Strategic Plan

Over the past several months, MWA has worked with our Board of Directors and members to update our strategic plan for FY24 - FY26. We held focus groups and interviews with internal and external stakeholders. We are proud of how we far we have come since our last strategic plan and look forward to both continuing our work and growing in new ways in the years to come. Click here to view our updated strategic plan snapshot and download the more detailed document.

U.S. Department of Labor Awards Merrimack Valley with a $90K Dislocated Worker Grant

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development received continued funding to to support workers laid off from manufacturing jobs in Merrimack Valley. Three companies in the region closed and it resulted in layoffs over the past several years. MassHire Biz Works and the MassHire Merrimack Valley Career Center have been instrumental in supporting these workers transitioning to new jobs. Click here for the press release.

MassHire Greater New Bedford Supporting Offshore Wind

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development has a new blog and this month featured the great work happening in New Bedford to support the offshore wind industry. MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board is working closely with local businesses, community training partners, and unions to make sure that local jobseekers can access good jobs through the development of offshore wind. In addition, they are helping introduce local high school students to careers in offshore wind through a college-level dual-enrollment course. Click here to read more and keep an eye on the blog for future news. *Image Credit by wirestock on Freepik.

Gearing up for Summer Jobs Season!

MassHire Central Region shared successes from the 2022 season in advance of the upcoming 2023 YouthWorks Summer Jobs Program. Click here for their recap and success stories.

MassHire Berkshire has seen an opportunity to supports employers by holding with workshops on how to work with interns. It is a great opportunity for employers to learn how to work successfully with youth who can be enormous assets to their businesses.


There are so many job postings and funding announcements, we moved our News from Around the Sector section to our website, where you can access the news, jobs, funding announcements and more anytime throughout the month. Go to:

Here is a sample of the events, funding opportunities, jobs, and more posted on our website:

  • 5/2 Webinar: Introduction to Trauma and Healing-Centered Workforce Development with Corporation for a Skilled Workforce. Click here to register.
  • Job Opportunity: JVS Boston is hiring a Young Adult Career Center Program Manager. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • Job Opportunity: MassHire Downtown Boston Career Center is hiring a Young Adult Career Center Services Outreach Specialist. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • Job Opportunity: Commonwealth Corporation is hiring for the Director of the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • Funding Opportunity: US DOL announced the release of $80M to develop, strengthen and scale equitable pathways to good infrastructure jobs. Click here to learn more about the Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs Grant Program.
  • Funding Opportunity: The US DOL Women's Bureau and Employment and Training Administration have issued an RFP for $1M in grants to prevent and respond to gender-based workplace violence and harassment. Click here to learn more.
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