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: UI data, Budget and Funding Updates
  • MWA Updates: July Workforce Webinar Recap, Anti-Racism Resources, Calendar of Events Update
  • Member Updates: MassHire Award Winners, Statewide Virtual Job Fair, Welcome new member, AHP!
  • News From Around the Sector: Jobs, funding, news and updates now on our website!
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State Public Policy
FY22 Budget Finalized, ARPA Hearings Begin
Legislature Begins Hearings on the ARPA Funds
Earlier this week, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Federal Stimulus and Census Oversight, led by Representative Dan Hunt and Senator Jason Lewis, held a hearing to explore how the state should spend the more than $4.8 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

This hearing, which was the second of six planned through Labor Day, focused on workforce development and housing. The virtual hearing began with testimony from Secretary Acosta and Secretary Kennealy.

Tonja joined many workforce colleagues in testifying virtually and MWA also submitted written testimony. You can read MWA's testimony here and the Workforce Solutions Group's testimony here.
State House
Governor Baker Signs FY22 Budget
On July 9th, the Legislature passed the FY22 final budget and it was signed by Governor Baker on July 19th. Governor Baker agreed to most of the Legislature's final budget, only vetoing $7.9 million in spending and sending back a small number of sections with amendments.

See here for an updated MWA budget sheet with additional details, but some of the highlights include:

  • $9.5M for MassHire Career Centers
  • $15.3M for Career Technical Institutes 
  • $17M for WCTF
  • $24M for YouthWorks 
  • $7.5M for Connecting Activities (including $500K in earmarks)
  • $300K for Learn to Earn 
  • $2.5M for Manufacturing
  • $2.5M for Re-Entry

MWA is especially thankful to the Senate President, the House Speaker, Chairman Michlewitz, Chairman Rodrigues, Senator Jehlen, and Representative Cutler for these historic investments in workforce development.
June 2021 Unemployment Rate and Claims Data
On 7/16, the state released the unemployment rate for June 2021. Massachusetts saw its seasonally adjusted rate decline 0.1 percentage point from the revised May rate of 5.0 percent to 4.9 percent, one percentage point below the national rate of 5.9 percent. The MA labor force participation rate was up 0.1 percentage point to 65.7 percent, up 0.5 percentage point from the prior year. The labor force increased by 4,900 from May. From June 2020 to June 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Massachusetts gained 292,800 jobs. Gains occurred in all sectors led by Leisure and Hospitality and Trade, Transportation and Utilities. Click here to read the state press release. Local unemployment estimates were released on 7/20 and the local press release can be found here. The revised series of state monthly rates compared to the U.S. can be found here.

UI Claims Data
On 7/15 DUA released the most recent initial claims for the week ending 7/10/2021 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, in addition to demographic breakdown of long term unemployed and PUA claimants. More than 50% of current long-term unemployed claimants are female. Nearly 75% of PUA claimants are White, 20% are Black, and just under 50% are female.

Regular UI claims decreased slightly from the previous week as claims return to previous levels after some schools closed for summer vacation.

  • Continued claims for the week ending 7/10 decreased to 67,298 after increases in previous weeks due to school closings for the summer.
  • PUA continued weeks decreased to 199,750, while initial PUA claims increased by 116 from the previous week to 1,274.
  • PEUC continued weeks were 187,765 claims, with 5,149 initial claims filed.
  • As of July 3-10, there were 2,887 claims for continued weeks for federal/state Extended Benefits (EB).

Federal Public Policy
Capital Building_ Washington DC
Updates from D.C.

Fact Sheet on the Build Back Better Plan
The White House has released a fact sheet on the Build Back Better plan that details workforce and skills development opportunities. See here to review and learn more.

Workforce Organizations Urge Congress for $100 Billion in Workforce Funding
Last week, MWA and many of our members joined workforce organizations across the country urging Congress to sign on to a Dear Colleague letter that was circulated by Congressman Krishnamoorthi. The letter encouraged Congressional leadership to include at least $100 billion in dedicated funding for workforce development, over the next decade, as part of any infrastructure legislation Congress considers this year. Thank you to Congresswoman Trahan, Congresswoman Pressley, and Congressman Moulton for their support! You can read the letter, which includes over 100 signatures from members of Congress, here.

Infrastructure Bill
Yesterday, the Senate announced they would take up a bipartisan infrastructure package. Senators voted 67-32 to take up the legislation, with 17 Republicans joining all 50 Democrats. Details of the agreement have yet to be announced but the proposal includes $1.2 trillion over 8 years, with $550 billion in new spending. Negotiators are still finalizing text so Senators are currently using a shell bill that will eventually include agreed upon language. While there are still many tough votes ahead, if the bill passes the Senate, it is all but certain to pass the House and be signed by the President.

Federal Budget Update
Earlier this month, the House Appropriations Committee released its FY22 Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations Bill, which then underwent a full Committee markup. See here for a spreadsheet outlining the proposed investments. The bill was then passed by the Full House Appropriations Committee and will be passed by the House later this week.

The Senate is undertaking its process but will be several weeks behind. The fiscal year ends September 30th so likely there will be some kind of temporary funding measure to keep the government running into December where there will be a negotiation on spending/funding.
Billions in Funding Released for Community and Workforce Development
Earlier this week the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced that it will implement a series of programs, collectively called Investing in America’s Communities, to equitably invest the $3 billion it received from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act to help communities across the country build back better. The EDA investment is the largest economic development initiative from the Department of Commerce in decades.

Investing in America’s Communities was launched with six Notices of Funding Opportunity
  • Build Back Better Regional Challenge ($1 billion)
  • Good Jobs Challenge ($500 million)
  • Economic Adjustment Assistance Challenge ($500 million)
  • Indigenous Communities Challenge ($100 million)
  • Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Grants ($750 million)
  • Statewide Planning, Research, and Networks Grants ($90 million) 

Read about the program here.
July Workforce Webinar Recap: General Assembly Talks About How Tech Education Can Support Massachusetts Economic Recovery
On Tuesday, July 20th, MWA welcomed General Assembly to share more about IT training in Massachusetts and around the country, and the options available to job seekers from a wide variety of backgrounds. Presenters from the Boston area program and national organization talked about the different programs, from hour- or day-long workshops to 400+ hour training programs, that were available to fit the career pathway needs of the individual. Nearly 50% of students at General Assembly use income-share programs to finance their training, allowing them to undergo training at no cost up-front, deferring paying back the cost until they secure full-time employment earning at least $40K/year. Some companies offer scholarships for the training programs, as well. More information on General Assembly student outcomes can be found here.

We're taking a break for August, but save the date for our next Workforce Webinar, September 21st at 3PM with the Metro Area Planning Commission.
Racial Justice in Workforce Development Resources
MWA Updated Calendar of Events for August - October 2021
We are all looking forward to safely being able to gather in-person, and MWA is planning regional networking events for late October-early November. Stay tuned for more information! We will be monitoring public health guidance and will make adjustments as needed. To find out more about our upcoming virtual or in-person events, check out our website here.
  • August 9 & 23: Career Center Council (MWA member exclusive)
  • August 16-20: Massachusetts Virtual Job Fair
  • August 24: MWA Board Orientation and Summer Member Lunch (MWA member exclusive)

  • September 6 & 20: Career Center Council (MWA member exclusive)
  • September 9: MWA Membership Committee
  • September 14: MWA Public Policy Committee
  • September 16: MWA Finance Committee
  • September 17: MWA Governance Committee
  • September 21: MWA Board of Directors Meeting
  • September 21: Workforce Webinar with MAPC (registration to come)
  • September 23: MassHire Award Finalists Workshop (virtual): Employer Engagement and Communication Strategies (registration to come)

  • October 4: Workforce Board Council (in-person, MWA member exclusive)
  • October 7: MassHire Award Finalists Workshop (virtual): Strategically Working with Businesses - Internal and External Partnerships (registration to come)
  • October 14: MassHire Award Finalists Workshop (virtual): Advancement of Services for Disadvantaged Job Seekers (registration to come)
  • October 19: Workforce Webinar with TBD
  • Save the Date: October 27: 12th Annual Jobs and Workforce Summit (virtual)
Boston Fed Working Cities Challenge Launches Leaders for Equitable Local Economies
Leaders for Equitable Local Economies, or LELE, is an initiative aimed at supporting and strengthening the leaders taking on the critical work of rebuilding economic systems in Massachusetts’ smaller cities. It’s about making those systems work better for residents who have been excluded.

LELE will select pairs or trios of leaders from four to five smaller Massachusetts cities to work together over 18 months, starting in the summer of 2021. These 10-15 leaders will receive coaching, stipends, and access to flexible grant dollars to develop and test local strategies to advance racial equity and inclusion in their cities.

Eligible cities are places that have participated in the Working Cities Challenge or MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative: Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lynn, Lowell, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Revere, Springfield, and Worcester. For more information, click here. August 13th is the deadline to have an initial conversation with the Boston Fed and your applicant team.
2021 MassHire Award Winners Announced at Virtual MassHire Day Celebration
The MassHire Awards were announced on July 22nd during the third annual MassHire Day Celebration & Award Ceremony. Congratulations to all who were nominated, finalists, and ultimately winners! Your work made a massive difference across the state. Click here to view the video of Governor Baker's remarks at the virtual ceremony.
The winners of this year's awards are:
  • Collaboration: William "Bill" Ryan, Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Officer, MassHire Central Career Centers - Worcester
  • Ingenuity: Jacqueline Sylvia, Health Care Sector Specialist/Communications Manager, MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board
  • Reliability: Mary Beth Beatrice, Business Service Representative, MassHire Metro North Career Center (ABCD)
  • Respect: Janet O'Brien, Senior Career Advisor/Supervisor and Kathy Dupont, Career Advisor, MassHire Lowell Career Center
  • Living MassHire: Eric Nelson, Business Service Representative, MassHire Merrimack Valley Career Center
  • MassHire Champion: Sue Coghlin Mailman, Coghlin Electrical Contractors

MWA will be featuring the winners and finalists in future blog posts on our website, in addition to holding workshops featuring their recognized work. Stay tuned for more information about these virtual workshops to come in late September and early October.
MassHire Plans First Statewide Virtual Job Fair August 16-20

From August 16 – 20 the MassHire Workforce System will be holding the first ever Massachusetts Virtual Job Fair. Using the Premier virtual job fair platform, MassHire is inviting businesses and job seekers to register for the opportunity to link talent with demand.

Click here for more information and click the images below for copies of the flyers with links to register for employers and job seekers.
Welcome New MWA Member: Advocates for Human Potential/Access to Recovery
MWA welcomes Casey Tiefenwerth, Career Building Initiative Program Manager, Access to Recovery; and her colleagues from Advocates for Human Potential (AHP). AHP runs the MA Access to Recovery (ATR) program that several MassHire organizations partner on, helping those in recovery from substance use disorders return to the labor market successfully. AHP and ATR are holding their first ever virtual symposium, Working Recovery, on September 14, 2021. Click here for the save the date flyer with more information. Registration to come soon!

Is your organization interested in joining MWA? Click here for more information on how.
We moved our News from Around the Sector section to our website, where you can access the news, jobs, funding announcements and more throughout the month. Go to:
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