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: FY21 Budget Progress, State Data Updates, Federal Budget Updates, One Workforce Initiative Launched, NSC and JFF Transition Memos to Biden-Harris Team
  • MWA Updates: Racial Equity in Workforce Development Resources, MWA/MASSCAP Convening, Upcoming Meetings
  • Member Updates: Third Sector Guest Blog, National Apprenticeship Week, MassHire Central Region WB and North Central Career Center highlights, 2021 MassHire Award Nominations Open
  • News From Around the Sector - Jobs, Funding, Research, Training, and more
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State Public Policy
State House
House and Senate Pass their Budgets

In the past two weeks, the House and Senate passed their FY21 budgets, including debating more than 1,200 amendments between the two branches. This week a conference committee, comprised of 3 representatives and 3 senators, is likely to be formed in order to quickly come to a consensus budget to send to the Governor by the end of the month.

Both the House and Senate budgets avoided most policy additions and broad-based tax increases. The only major policy issue addressed in both branches and passed was the ROE Act, which codifies abortion rights in state law, allows abortions after 24 weeks in more cases, and creates a process for women under 16 to secure the procedure without parental consent.

The final $46 billion Senate budget includes the following workforce development related investments:
  • Career Centers: $5M (same as Governor's revised H2 budget proposal and House Budget)
  • YouthWorks: $20M (higher than House or revised H2)
  • Connecting Activities: $5M (lower than House, close to revised H2)
  • WCTF: $10M (higher than House and revised H2)
  • Learn to Earn: $950K (slightly lower than House and same as revised H2)
  • Re-entry: $1.3M ($200K less than House and more than revised H2)
  • Apprenticeships: $500K ($10K more than House and same as revised H2)
  • Career Technical Institutes (CTI): $4M ($0 in House, $6.94M in revised H2)
  • Manufacturing: $2.5M ($0 in House and $2.5M in revised H2)

See MWA's budget sheet for priority workforce line items tracked by MWA compared across the Governor's revised budget, House Budget and Senate Budget. The second tab offers a look at additional line items related to workforce development.

MWA is actively working with partners during this process, particularly concentrating on manufacturing and CTI which were not included in the House budget and increased career center funding. We will keep you updated when the conference committee is formed and the process continues! Reach out to Raija anytime with questions or if you need additional information or resources.
Baker-Polito Administration Announces Partnerships for Recovery

ICYMI: The Baker-Polito Administration released an economic development recovery plan in mid-October along with their revised FY21 budget, including more than $15M from both state and federal funds to help people get back to work. Click here for our blog post with more details and here for the press release.
Lost Wages Assistance Extended to More Low-Income Residents

On October 26th, Governor Baker signed legislation that extended eligibility for the federal Lost Wages Assistance program to any worker receiving less than $100 per week in unemployment benefits between 8/1 and 9/5/20. About 17K new claimants became eligible for this benefit, totaling about $24M in additional disbursements to unemployed claimants.

Click here for more details in the press release. Click here for more on the actual bill.
October Unemployment Rate and Unemployment Claims Data
Last Friday, the state released the unemployment rate for October 2020. Massachusetts saw its seasonally adjusted rate decline 2.4 percentage points to 7.4 percent from the revised September rate of 9.8 percent, 0.5% higher than the U.S. rate of 6.9 percent. Since October 2019 Massachusetts has lost nearly 340K jobs, and nearly 360K since peak employment in February 2020.

The MA labor force participation rate, 63.7 percent, is down 4.3 percentage points from the prior year, as the labor force declined 155,600 from September. We discuss the inconsistent movement month to month in the labor force participation rate in this blog post. Click here to read the state press release with more detail by industry. Local unemployment estimates will be released on 11/24 and the local press release can be found here.

Last month, MassBenchmarks released their analysis of third quarter GDP in the state and U.S. To read more, click here.

Last week DUA released the most recent initial claims for the week ending 11/19/2020 including the number of PUA and PEUC claims filed to date. Click here for the state press release which includes charts of initial and continued claims by demographic characteristics and industry.
  • Since March 15th, 1,602,052 people filed for unemployment in Massachusetts.
  • Since April 20th, nearly 865K people filed for PUA.
  • Since May 21st, nearly 307K people filed for PEUC.
  • Since September 6th, the first week that claims were filed under the federal/state Extended Benefits (EB) program, nearly 19K individuals have filed an EB initial claim.
  • Continued claims continue to decline for the 22nd consecutive week. For the week ending 11/14 they were down 2.5 percent from the previous week at 209,236.
Federal Public Policy
Latest Updates Out of D.C.

This month, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee released its twelve FY21 Appropriations bills, including Labor, HHS, Education. Given the budget situation, WIOA Title I was essentially ‘level funded’ compared to FY2020. Apprenticeships and CTE would receive pretty big funding boosts under their proposal. The government is funded through December 11th, 2020 and both sides have expressed interest in passing an omnibus bill. It is not clear whether the President will be willing to support that. This bill can be seen as a placeholder for the Senate's priorities, as we can assume that no funding bill will be passed before the 117th Congress takes office in January. That being said, it is important to see where the Senate's priorities lie. However, this budget proposal may not paint a full picture of funding for the workforce system. It is within the realm of possibility that FY21 appropriations will be supplemented by an additional stimulus package that would support the increased demand the workforce system is experiencing.
Cross-Agency One Workforce Initiative Announced
The Trump Administration announced the One Workforce Initiative earlier this month. This joint agency initiative includes the US Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Agriculture. The three agencies will work with an initial number of states to pilot cross-program strategies to help more Americans impacted by coronavirus access re­employment services, training and social supports to help them enter, re-enter, and remain in the workforce. This includes leveraging federal funds and program opportunities from within their agencies, including TANF, WIOA and SNAP. Although eleven states have been initially invited to participate, other states are welcome to join this effort. Click here for the press release and here for a one pager to learn more.
National Skills Coalition and Jobs for the Future Outline Priorities for Incoming Administration
Both the National Skills Coalition and Jobs for the Future released policy priorities for the incoming Biden-Harris Administration related to workforce development. Click here for the NSC guide, "How America Can Build Back Better for Everyone: A Guide for the Biden Transition Team to Build an Inclusive Economic Recovery," and here for the JFF memo "How to Achieve an Equitable Economic Recovery for America: A Blueprint for the Biden Administration."
A New Addition to the MWA Family!
Earlier this month, MWA's Executive Director, Tonja Mettlach, gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Marley Ryan Mettlach. Tonja, Justin, Miles and Lennon are all feeling extra thankful this Thanksgiving season for the new addition to their family.

Welcome to the world, Marley!
Racial Justice in Workforce Development Resources
MWA and MASSCAP Hold Two-Part Virtual Convening on Addressing Inequality through Workforce Development Partnerships
On November 12th and 19th, MWA and the association for community action agencies, MASSCAP, held two virtual convenings. The first session featured poverty, economic and labor market presentations from MassBudget and the UMass Donahue Institute. An interactive breakout by region involved looking at current partnerships and identifying strengths and gaps. The second session featured a panel conversation moderated by Marybeth Campbell, Executive Director of the Worcester Community Action Council, including Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox from the Department of Housing and Community Development, Undersecretary Jennifer James from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Jeff Turgeon, Executive Director of the MassHire Central Region Workforce Board; Shannon Norton, Executive Director of the MassHire Lowell Career Center; and Connie Martin, Division Director of Community Teamwork Inc. of Lowell. The conversation offered both MassHire and regional community action staff a chance to hear about how state leadership views the opportunities to partner to serve shared customers, particularly in the current economic and public health crisis. Partnerships in Worcester and Lowell shared best practices and their experience working together before and during COVID-19. They also shared how their services can complement each other in the service of supporting job seekers and families. We look forward to continuing this conversation between our systems!
MWA's December and January 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.

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

  • Happy New Year! Welcome 2021!
  • 1.11: Workforce Webinar: Trauma Informed Practice in Workforce Development with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions

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.
Guest Blog by Third Sector Features Workforce Partners Learning Community
Third Sector facilitated a learning community with several MassHire workforce boards and career centers, focused on outcomes-oriented approached to workforce program development. Click here to read their blog post about what regions focused on and what was learned.
November's National Apprenticeship Week followed by Funding Opportunity
November 8-14 was National Apprenticeship Week. Across Massachusetts businesses and workforce development organizations like YouthBuild and Building Pathways promoted apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs that connect job seekers to good jobs.

Last week, the Commonwealth released an RFI for Apprenticeship Innovation Grants. Click here to find the attachments for the RFI and details on how to apply.

If you are interested in learning more about Apprenticeship programs in Massachusetts, click here, and for more information about programs in industries like health care, manufacturing and finance click here.
Blog Post by MassHire North Central Career Center: Supporting Job Seekers to Successfully Prepare for Virtual Job Fairs
Following a MassHire Department of Career Services training on a new virtual job fair system, the MassHire North Central Career Center Business Service Representative, Scott Percifull, felt as if job seekers could also benefit from a demonstration of the new Premier Virtual platform prior to attending the statewide job fair. He created his own training demonstrating the screens that job seekers would see when registering for the job fair, how to move through the event and what a typical employer booth would look like. Click here to read more.
One participant's experience:
“I thought the preparation was very helpful as I knew what to expect and how to navigate once I was logged in to the job fair. I also found the ‘before/during/after’ tips helpful, as well as the slides on developing an elevator speech.”
MassHire Central Region Workforce Board Selected for Future of Work Grand Challenge
Last week, the Future of Work Grand Challenge, an effort developed through a partnership between New Profit, JFF, XPRIZE, MIT Solve and Jobcase, announced six workforce boards around the country that were chosen for their records of innovation and effectiveness, to receive tailored support and funding to pilot innovations to connect more than 25,000 COVID-impacted workers with new skills and employment opportunities. MassHire Central Region Workforce Board was one of the six - Congratulations! Click here to read more.
In more good news for the MassHire Central Region Workforce Board, Congratulations to Ed Gagne for receiving the Worcester Regional Research Bureau's 2020 Thomas S. Green Public Service Award! Click here to learn more about this Worcester area honor.
2021 MassHire Awards Nominations Open

It's time for nominations for the 2021 MassHire Awards! The 2021 MassHire Awards are in support of the MassHire brand, mission and vision. Awards will confer monetary prizes for MassHire organizations across five categories for exceptional innovations in workforce service delivery. Nominations are due by February 11, 2021. Click here for the issuance and here for the nomination package.
  • Job Opportunity - The Mass General Hospital Center for Community Health Improvement is hiring an Economic Mobility Program Manager to focus on policy and systems change in workforce development in Chelsea and Revere. Click here to learn more and apply.

  • Job Opportunity - MassHire Springfield Career Center is hiring a Bilingual Career Navigator. Click here for the job description and to apply.

  • Job Opportunity - MassHire Merrimack Valley Workforce Board is hiring a Deputy Director and Fund Developer. Click here to learn more about the position and how to apply.

  • 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.

  • Member Highlight - The MassHire Boston Workforce Board/Boston PIC released its 2020 summer youth jobs program impact report, "A Summer Like No Other." Click here to read the report online.

  • News - MassDevelopment President and CEO, Lauren Liss, will be stepping down at the end of 2020. Click here for the press release.

  • News - The Mass League of Community Health Centers President and CEO, James Hunt, will be retiring after 41 years at MLCHC. Michael Curry, Esq. will be the next President and CEO. Click here to read more.

  • News - The U.S. Department of Labor announced the first group of Standards Recognition Entities for Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPS). Click here for the press release.

  • News - The Boston Business Journal recently reported on how the child care crisis in the state is straining health care staffing. (this article may be subject to a pay wall)

  • Webinar/Virtual Training - On Tuesday, 11/24, 10AM -11:15AM MASSCAP is holding a virtual workshop, "Real Life Resiliency," focused on handling stress and change well, particularly in the current economic and pandemic environment The target audience includes management and staff of community action agencies and other human services organizations. Click here to learn more and register ($35 for non-members).

  • Webinar - The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is co-hosting an Ask Us Anything webinar on 12/1 at 2PM with Burning Glass, LinkedIn and McKinsey & Co. on how to use labor market information to drive solutions in training and education for workers. Click here to learn more and register.

  • ICYMI - The Atlanta Fed's Reframing Benefit Cliffs Summit from October 15th was recorded and you can access the recording and presentations here.

  • Research - The Center for Social Policy at UMass Boston recently released the findings from the 2019 Massachusetts Survey of the Early Education and Care Workforce. Click here to read the report, highlighting economic insecurity and racial disparities among these workers.

  • Research - The Boston Opportunity Agenda released a report on the child care supply crisis in Boston based on a census of local providers. Click here for the report.

  • Research - PHI International recently released a report on the 5 Pillars of Direct Care Job Quality. Click here to learn more.

  • Resource - The National Women's Law Center released a resource for advocates focused on increasing wages for child care workers, "The Care Minimum: The Case for Raising the Minimum Wage and Investing in Child Care Together." Click here to read more and download the report.

  • Research - English for New Bostonians has released a new report, "English Works Campaign Survey Report: A Call for Cross-Sector Policy and Practice." Click here for the report.

  • Research - The Century Foundation recently released a data dashboard showing state by state data on unemployment insurance to help people understand the impact of this safety net during the pandemic. Click here to learn more.

  • Research - The National Fund for Workforce Solutions announced it will be releasing a series Jobs and Opportunity Reports that will focus on workforce equity. Click here to learn more. The first report will be released this month.

  • Research - Boston Indicators released a demographic profile of the unemployed in Massachusetts. Click here to read more. They also released a report on the need for transit-oriented housing development, "Zoned Out: Why Massachusetts Needs to Legalize Apartments Near Transit." Click here to read more.

  • Research - The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report last month, "Millions of Full-Time Workers Rely on Federal Health Care and Food Assistance Programs," detailing the employers by state who employ large shares of workers who rely on public assistance. Click here to learn more and download the report.
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