Welcome to the Massachusetts Workforce Association's monthly newsletter: Workforce Connections! Look for this publication in your inbox each month and share with your staff and others.

In This Issue:
  • State and Federal Policy Updates, State Data Updates
  • MWA Updates: WSG Jobs Summit, Racial Equity in Workforce Development Resources, Upcoming Meetings
  • Member Updates: Health Care Grants Announced, MassHire Award Finalist Workshops, ATR Partnership, STEM Week and Manufacturing Month
  • News From Around the Sector - Jobs, Funding, Research, Training, and more
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State Public Policy
State House
Baker-Polito Administration File a Revised FY21 Budget

Last week, the Baker-Polito Administration filed its revised FY21 Budget. See here and below for additional details. The revised budget includes updated line item allocations for FY21. See below for additional details.

Similar to the normal budget process, the House and Senate will now review the Governor's revised proposal, although the exact process and timeline is not yet clear. The Joint Committee on Ways and Means held an invitation only hearing yesterday for Administration officials. Since the current interim budget expires on October 31st, the Governor has also filed a one month interim budget to give the Legislature additional time to act.

  • The revised budget is a $45.5 billion plan that would increase spending beyond what was originally proposed in January. This is despite a projected loss of $3.6 billion in state tax revenues in FY21. The proposed increased spending is driven in large part by the growth in the state's MassHealth program. 
  • To close the gap between falling tax revenues and rising spending levels, the Governor's budget leans heavily on one-time revenues, including more than $1.8 billion in federal funding and a $1.35 billion withdrawal from the state's $3.5 billion "rainy day" fund. The proposed reliance on federal revenue assumes Congress eventually passes another COVID relief package. If this does not happen, this would drastically impact proposed funding levels.
  • The revised budget also proposes $100.7M in new funding to small business recovery programs that would invest $35M in small business grants targeted at minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses, $35M for community financial institutions, and $15M for small business capital improvements.
  • See here for MWA's chart which includes the administration's revised funding levels for FY21. Note all MWA priority workforce items (except for one) were level funded.
  • See here for detailed information pertaining to the revised budget including: the governor's message, proposed budget levels, revenue forecast, and other pertinent information.

We encourage you to reach out to your Representative(s) and Senator(s) to express the importance of workforce funding in the FY21 budget. Reach out to Tonja anytime with questions or if you need additional information or resources.
Massachusetts' Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium has Expired

Over the weekend the Temporary Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures in Massachusetts ended. The legislation passed last year included an option for the Governor to extend the moratorium, but Governor Baker did not extend it nor did the Legislature take action.

Instead, the Governor has filed an Eviction Diversion Plan. The plan includes $171 million in rental assistance through various programs. Click here to read more. In addition below are key resources to share with customers who might be facing eviction or foreclosure:
Getting Ready for Election Day

Election day is less than two weeks away. We all know the importance of voting and MWA encourages everyone in the workforce community to vote. See below for additional resources.

  • The Massachusetts Secretary of State has put together many resources. Click here to read their voter resource guide and here to visit their website.
  • If you haven't already, ensure you are registered to vote! Your form must be postmarked by October 24th. You can check your voter registration status here.
  • As a reminder you can vote three ways this year:
  • By mail;
  • In person at an early voting site; or
  • In person on Election Day at your polling location.
  • You can see all the State Election Candidates here and information on the two ballot questions here.

Remind those you work with to vote and feel free to widely share these resources!
Governor Baker Announces a New $50M Grant Fund to Help Struggling Small Businesses Stay Afloat
With the pandemic taking a toll on jobs and the economy, today the Baker-Polito Administration plans to announce a comprehensive plan to help small businesses, provide housing stability, and boost downtowns and the innovation economy. The plan, which includes previously announced initiatives and pools resources from across state government, features $115M in new funding. The Governor is expected to further detail the plan at a press conference scheduled for noon today.

Under the new plan, small businesses will be able to apply for $50.8M in grants through the Massachusetts Capital Growth Corporation. Businesses with 50 or fewer employees can receive up to $75,000 or up to three months of supported expenses for employee payroll and benefits costs, mortgage interest, rent, utilities and interest on other debt obligations. Businesses with five or fewer employees may access up to $25,000 to cover business costs like rent, staffing, and utilities, or to purchase personal protection equipment. According to the Boston Globe, the pool of funding includes funds delivered by the federal government under the CARES Act.
September Unemployment Rate and Unemployment Claims Data
Local Economists from MassBenchmarks Report on State Economy
Last Friday, the state released the unemployment rate for September 2020. Massachusetts saw its seasonally adjusted rate decline 1.8 percentage points to 9.6 percent from the revised August rate of 11.4 percent, no longer the highest in the nation, though still higher than the U.S. rate of 7.9 percent. Since March 2020 Massachusetts has lost nearly 364K jobs.

The MA labor force participation rate, 66.9 percent, is down just one percentage point from the prior year, as the labor force increased by 240,900 from August. Click here to read the state press release with more detail by industry. Local unemployment estimates were released on 10/20 and the press release can be found here.

The economists and other members of the Board of MassBenchmarks recently released their analysis of the current economy, with some detail around challenges, given the methodology, for using the state monthly unemployment, employment and unemployment rate to understand with confidence the health of the state's labor market in this unprecedented economic climate. To read more, click here.

Last week DUA released the most recent initial claims for the week ending 10/10/2020 including the number of PUA and PEUC claims filed to date.
  • Since March 15th, 1,377,277 people filed for unemployment in Massachusetts.
  • Since April 20th, nearly 814K people filed for PUA.
  • Since May 21st, nearly 237K people filed for PEUC.
  • Continued claims continue to decline. For the week ending 10/10 they were down 9.3 percent from the previous week at 260,481.

Click here for the state press release which includes charts of initial and continued claims by demographic characteristics and industry.

Click here for updated data and Tableau charts for initial claims through 9/5/2020 by city/town, race, ethnicity, sex, industry, occupation and education level. Click here for the data and Tableau charts by the same demographic categories for continued claims through 9/5. See below for more labor market data dashboards:
Federal Public Policy
Capital Building_ Washington DC
Latest Updates Out of D.C.

House Passes Revised HEROES Act:
The White House, Senate, and House continue to negotiate a Fourth COVID-19 stimulus bill. To date the U.S. House and White House have failed to reach a compromise, with President Trump sending mixed signals on negotiations. With the election less than two weeks away, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that any action will happen before November 3rd.

Last month the House proposed and in October passed a revised $2.2 trillion HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act).  It included $3.7 billion in funds for the Department of Labor to support workforce training and worker protection activities related to coronavirus, including:
  • $2.1 billion to support worker training, including $1.6 billion in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act grants to States, $500 million for the Dislocated Worker National Reserve and $25 million for migrant and seasonal farmworkers, including emergency supportive services. Ensures any funds under this Act for apprenticeship support registered apprenticeships;
  • $500 million for the Employment Service to help connect unemployment insurance claimants and other job seekers with employers looking to hire;
  • $925 million in contingency funding to assist states with processing unemployment insurance claims;
  • $15 million for the federal administration of unemployment insurance activities;
  • $39 million for unemployment insurance national activities necessary to support the UI system;
  • $100 million for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for workplace protection and enforcement activities in response to coronavirus, including $25 million for Susan Harwood training grants that protect and educate workers and $70 million for compliance safety and health officers and safety standards enforcement;
  • $6.5 million for the Wage and Hour Division to support enforcement and outreach activities for paid leave benefits; and
  • $5 million for the Office of Inspector General for oversight.  

The text of the revised version of the HEROES Act is here. A one-pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. Additional information on the state and local relief provisions is here.  

TANF Extension:
In September, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act of 2020, H.R. 8319. Section 149 of the bill extends the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and other SSA IV-A programs including Child Care Entitlement to States (CCES), through December 11th. Click here for a section-by-section summary of the bill from the House Committee on Appropriations. 
Recap of the First Virtual and
11th Annual Jobs and Workforce Summit
MWA, along with our Workforce Solutions Group partners, organized the first ever virtual Jobs and Workforce Summit on October 21st. The 90 minute program, followed by a number of topic-focused networking sessions, was a success with more than 300 people attending from around the state and nation. This year's theme was "Opportunities for Action Now." Panels and conversations were centered around how workforce development practitioners and partners are adapting to a new remote education and training climate, how we can pursue racial equity through workforce development approaches, and the federal policies we need for an inclusive economic recovery.

Click here for the program book to learn more about the speakers and sponsors for this year's event. Click here for a blog post with more details about the event.
Racial Justice in Workforce Development Resources
MWA's November and December Calendar of Events

We have many exciting events over the next few months. We hope to see you "virtually" at one of the events below! Questions? Reach out to Raija.

  • 11.2: Workforce Board Council (MWA Member Only)
  • 11.3: Election Day! Your Vote Counts!
  • 11.11: Career Center Council (MWA Member Only)
  • 11.12: MWA Governance Committee Meeting
  • 11.12: Addressing Inequality through Workforce Development Partnerships, Session 1
  • 11.19: Addressing Inequality through Workforce Development Partnerships, Session 2

  • 12.8: MWA Public Policy Committee
  • 12.9: Career Center Council (MWA Member Only)
  • 12:10: MWA Membership Committee
  • 12.14: Workforce Webinar: State Budget 101 with MassBudget
  • 12.15: MWA Board of Directors Meeting (MWA Board Only)

Are you interested in becoming a member of MWA? Click here to learn more about the benefits to membership and contact us to learn more.
Health Care Capacity Building and Training Planning Grants Announced
Building off the MassHire regional planning teams that developed strategic job growth blueprints for seven regions across the Commonwealth, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a first phase of grants, totaling almost $169,000, which will ultimately lead to increased healthcare training capacity based on regional needs. The planning grants align to the Governor’s Healthcare Collaborative recommendations to grow the direct care, nursing and behavioral health workforce pipelines.

This first phase of funding offered up to $25,000 to each regional team for up to six months of planning and capacity building activities. In the second phase, each regional team can apply for additional funding between $225,000 and $375,000 depending on the geographic size of their region for an additional two-and-a-half years of capacity building and training program implementation. Click here for the press release.
October is a Busy Month for Workforce Development: STEM Week and Manufacturing Month
October is always a busy month, but this year, despite the pandemic's limitations on in-person gatherings, our members have been developing and delivering services to promote manufacturing and STEM careers. MassHire Workforce Boards across the state partnered to hold a virtual Make it in Massachusetts Manufacturing Day along with a week of events for students and teachers across the state. Click here for more.

Despite the pandemic, manufacturing training programs across the state are still running and demand for workers is strong. In the Berkshires, 56 trainees completed the Berkshire Advanced Manufacturing program.

Several MassHire Boards and Career Centers held virtual STEM Career Fairs in their regions, connecting local employers with interested students. On the Cape & Islands, they held a conversation with local employers about why STEM education is so important for local careers. Click here to view the recording.

Click here to register for the upcoming Virtual Networking Event for Small Manufacturers hosted by the SBA and with Commonwealth Corporation's Workforce Training Fund on 10/28 at 10AM.
Access to Recovery Partners with MassHire to Continue Its Work Despite COVID-19 Challenges
Access to Recovery (ATR) and MassHire Holyoke Career Center have translated their Paths 2 Empowerment (P2E) career readiness program to a fully online virtual classroom experience. Committed to ensuring equitable access to all training offered, ATR ensured that participants would have the equipment necessary to fully engage in their desired job training program. ATR paid for Chromebooks, Wi-Fi hotspots, and headphones for participant use while in training and made sure that all programs provided technical support to get them up and running. For more information about their programs in partnership with MassHire Career Centers around the state, click here.
MassHire Award Finalists Workshops Conclude with Living MassHire and Ingenuity
We're happy to share five blog posts recapping the workshop webinars held over the past several months and featuring the finalists from the 2020 MassHire awards. In October, we convened workshops with some of the Living MassHire and Ingenuity finalists. Click below to read the blog posts and learn about some of the best workforce development practices going on around the state!

  • Job Opportunity - MassHire North Shore Workforce Board is hiring for a new Career Center Executive Director to replace Mark Whitmore upon his retirement. Click here to learn more and apply.

  • Job Opportunity - MassHire Greater Brockton Workforce Board is hiring a Youth Career Counselor for its Safe and Successful Youth Initiative program. Click here to review the description and apply.

  • Job Opportunities - Commonwealth Corporation is hiring for several positions: a Workforce Training Fund Program Coordinator, Youth Pathways Instructional Coach, Manager of Marketing and Communications, and Employer Outreach Specialist for Metro Northeast. Click here to view the postings and to apply.

  • Job Opportunity - Mass General Hospital Community Health Improvement is hiring an Economic Stability Program Manager to support policy and systems changes around workforce development in Chelsea and Revere. Click here to learn more and apply.

  • Job Opportunity - The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is hiring a Network Manager to strengthen the National Fund's network of regional collaboratives. Click here to learn more and apply.

  • Job Opportunity - The Massachusetts Association for Community Colleges is hiring a Director for the Workforce Development Consortium. Click here to learn more and apply.

  • Job Opportunity - MassTech Collaborative is hiring a Director for the Center for Advanced Manufacturing. Click here to learn more and apply.

  • Virtual Event - State Senator Eric Lesser and Dress for Success are holding a virtual forum on 10/22 on the digital divide. MWA Member, Kevin Lynn, of MassHire Springfield Career Center will be joining with other regional stakeholders. Click here to read more and register.

  • Virtual Event - The Providers' Council is holding its 45th Annual Convention & Expo: SpeakUp4Equity virtually this year on October 27th through October 30th. Click here to learn more and register.

  • Virtual Conference - The Stanford Digital Economy Lab is holding a virtual AI & Future of Work conference on 10/27, "What does the future of work look like?" Click here to learn more and register for this free event.

  • Webinar - Jobs for the Future's latest "It started at Horizons" session scheduled for 10/29 at 12PM looks at Career Navigation in a Changing Economy. Click here to learn more and register.

  • News - JP Morgan Chase has announced 2 major workforce related investments in Boston recently. One is a $5M grant over 3 years for a Boston Medical Center initiative to support job training and affordable housing for residents of Roxbury. Partners include JVS and Action for Equity for employment work. The second is a $7M grant over 5 years to a program overseen by EdVestors to strengthen college and career preparation in the Boston Public Schools. Partners include MassHire Boston Workforce Board (Boston PIC), Bunker Hill Community College, UMass Boston, and the Boston Foundation. Click here to read more.

  • News - MassHire Berkshire Workforce Board's Shannon Zayac is quoted in this Berkshire Eagle article about how demand for health care workers remains strong in the region despite the pandemic.

  • News - This month, the state awarded $6.5M in new Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (MERT) Grants to businesses around the state to help respond to PPE and other local supply needs during the pandemic. Click here to read the press release.

  • News - The Western Mass Economic Development Council and Baystate Medical Center, through the Springfield WORKS initiative, received a $125K grant from the Ascend at the Aspen Institute's Family Prosperity Innovation Community for a project that will engage local employers in supporting the growth and development of low-wage, entry-level workers and offer better access to career pathways. Click here to read more.

  • News - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta have formed a new partnership called "Talent Finance" to develop new models to invest in the workforce of the future. Click here to read more about this new effort.

  • News - The Good Jobs Institute and PayPal have partnered with Just Capital and the Financial Health Network to develop a Worker Financial Wellness Initiative to help make workers' financial security a C-suite and investor priority. Click here to read more.

  • Policy Changes - The Workforce Training Fund Program (WTFP), administered by Commonwealth Corporation, has recently made a few policy changes to support businesses. For General Program grants looking to support incumbent workers in need of ESOL education, there will no longer be a dollar-for-dollar match requirement for the ESOL training related costs. Additionally, for the Express Program, businesses of any size that contribute to the WTFP are eligible to apply - there is no longer a limit on the number of employees. Click here to read the FY20 WTFP Annual Report.

  • Op-Ed - National Skills Coalition recently published an op-ed in The Hill on making an inclusive economic recovery a priority. Click here to read.

  • Policy Agenda - Invest in Skills NY recently released its policy agenda, "A New Way Forward: Bold Actions to Support New York's Labor Market." Its includes some best practices from Massachusetts, along with other policies that would benefit workers and businesses nationwide. Click here to read the report.

  • Research - Boston Indicators released a report, "Zoned Out," in partnership with the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings on why Massachusetts needs to legalize building apartments near transit. Click here to read more.

  • Research - The U.C. Berkeley Labor Center recently released a study on the effects of technological change in retail, particularly given COVID-19's impact. Click here to read a summary and download the report.

  • Research - The Brookings Institute released an update to its work looking at teen disengagement in work or in school since the start of the pandemic. Click here to read more.

  • Research - Jobs for the Future just released research looking at 5 design principles to consider when developing training programs during COVID-19 and into the future. Click here to read more.

  • Research - Strada Education's Latest Poll finds that college students are struggling with remote learning in a number of ways. Click here for the latest results.

  • Research - The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunity Program released a report: Voices from the Field: Engaging Employers to Connect Young Adults to Good Fit Employment. Click here to read.

  • Blog Posts - Third Sector has published a few blog posts focusing on continuous improvement that offer tips and examples to support non-profits in this work. The second describes how to have collaborative, data-driven conversations with partners. Click here to read.

  • Blog Post - The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) recently published takeways from its Legislative Advisory Committee's conversation on economic recovery amid COVID-19. Click here to read.
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