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: Summer Recess, Apprenticeship Grants Awarded, UI and Economic Data, Federal Infrastructure Bill
  • MWA Updates: Op-Ed in BBJ, Meet MWA in Sept., Racial Justice Resources, Skills Summit Save the Date, MWA Fall Calendar, Member Summer Lunch
  • Member Updates: MH Award Finalist Workshops, VOA Advocacy for Workforce, AHP Working Recovery Symposium
  • News From Around the Sector: Jobs, funding, news and updates now on our website!
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State Public Policy
State House
August Recess, Looking Towards September

At the end of July, and after finalizing the FY22 budget and beginning ARPA hearings, the House and Senate headed out for their August recess. They will be back in session after Labor Day.

Until then, see here for a blog post recapping the FY22 budget and next steps in the ARPA funding process.
Baker-Polito Administration Announce New Apprenticeship Grants

On August 12th, Governor Baker announced a new $4 million federal grant from US Department of Labor to expand Massachusetts' apprenticeship programs. The grant will connect an additional 500 individuals to apprenticeship opportunities, with a focus on serving women, people of color, and individuals with disabilities. You can read the press release here.
July 2021 Unemployment Rate and Claims Data
Last Friday, the state released the unemployment rate for July 2021. Massachusetts' rate remained unchanged from June at 4.9 percent, 0.5 of a percentage point below the national rate of 5.4 percent. The MA labor force participation rate was up 0.1 of a percentage point to 65.6 percent, up 2.5 percentage points from the prior year. The labor force increased by 4,900 from June. From July 2020 to July 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Massachusetts gained 254,200 jobs. Gains occurred in all sectors led by Leisure and Hospitality; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; and Trade, Transportation and Utilities. Click here to read the state press release. Local unemployment estimates were released on 8/24 and the local press release can be found here.

The Economic Policy Institute updated their analysis of state unemployment by race and ethnicity for the first and second quarters of 2021. Click here to read the state by state analysis.

UI Claims Data
On 8/19 DUA released the most recent initial claims for the week ending 8/14/2021 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 the demographic breakdown of long term unemployed and PUA claimants.

Regular UI claims decreased by 1,122 from the previous week. All sectors showed decreases except for Transportation and Warehousing.

  • Continued claims for the week ending 8/14 decreased to 62,866, with the largest declines coming from Health Care and Social Assistance, Food and Accommodation, Administrative and Waste, and Other Services sectors.
  • PUA continued weeks decreased to 234,800; 20,571 from the previous week. Continued weeks increased since June due to additional Department of Labor Covid-19 guidance which allowed affected PUA claimants to re-certify for eligibility for prior weeks. Initial PUA claims were up slightly from the previous week at 2,825.
  • PEUC continued weeks claimed were 184,590 claims, with 4,324 initial claims filed.
  • The federal/state Extended Benefits (EB) program triggered off on July 17th. Small numbers of initial and continued claims remain with the program.

Economic Updates
MassBenchmarks released its quarterly Bulletin last month, finding that Massachusetts' economic recovery remains strong, though with a risk that rising COVID-19 Delta variant cases could slow things. Wage and salary income has increased modestly in the state and across the U.S. Underemployment, as measured by the U-6 rate which includes persons working part-time but who want full-time work and persons who want work but have not looked for work in the last four weeks (the "marginally attached workforce"), has declined sharply over recent months for the state and the nation. Read more of the editors' analysis here.
Federal Public Policy
Capital Building_ Washington DC
Updates from D.C.

Infrastructure Fact Sheet for MA
The Biden-Harris Administration recently released fact sheets for states outlining how their Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will impact Massachusetts You can view MA's fact sheet here, outlining the billions that would come to our state under this plan.

Infrastructure Bills on the Move
The House is back in session this week to consider the budget resolution which the Senate passed last week. The resolution provides the instructions for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package passed by Senate Democrats. This would be the vehicle for increased workforce development funding. Last week MWA and many of our members joined a large stakeholder letter, organized through the Campaign to Invest in America's Workforce (CIAW). See below for more details and to sign on!
Policy Action Alert: Sign on Now and Support Workforce Funding
As the House reconvenes to consider the budget resolution we must continue to advocate for the package to include increased workforce development funding. MWA is joining our colleagues across the country and the Campaign to Invest in America's Workforce -- a network of providers and advocacy organizations - to send a joint letter to Congress calling for more funding.
MWA Executive Director Tonja Mettlach and JVS Boston President and CEO Jerry Rubin Co-Author Op-Ed Urging State to Invest in Workforce Development Now for Equitable Recovery
Using the recommendations from the Rapid ReEmployment for a Just and Equitable Economic Recovery white paper as a guide, MWA and JVS Boston leaders urge Massachusetts legislators to act quickly to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers soon to lose unemployment assistance have adequate resources to find new jobs in a rapidly changing economy. Click here to read the op-ed (subject to paywall) and here to read a copy on MWA's website.
Come "Meet MWA" (virtually) September 10th!
Interested in learning more about your benefits as an MWA member? Curious to learn more about what MWA can offer your organization and its workforce professionals? Join us for this brief webinar to learn about how MWA leads, advocates and convenes on behalf of the Massachusetts workforce system on Friday, September 10th at 10AM. Click here to register.
Racial Justice in Workforce Development Resources
Save the Date! 2022 National Skills Coalition Skills Summit

Mark your calendar for February 15-17, 2022 for the annual NSC Skills Summit in Washington, D.C., taking place at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Keep an eye out for registration details to come.
MWA Updated Calendar of Events for September - 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.
  • September 9: MWA Membership Committee
  • September 10: Meet MWA Webinar (Click here to register.)
  • September 13: Workforce Board Council (MWA member exclusive)
  • September 14: MWA Public Policy Committee
  • September 16: MWA Finance Committee
  • September 17: MWA Governance Committee
  • September 20: Career Center Council (MWA member exclusive)
  • September 21: MWA Board of Directors Meeting
  • September 23: MassHire Award Finalists Workshop (virtual): Employer Engagement and Communication Strategies (Click here to register.)

  • 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 (Click here to register.)
  • October 14: MassHire Award Finalists Workshop (virtual): Advancement of Services for Disadvantaged Job Seekers (Click here to register.)
  • October 19: Workforce Webinar with TBD
  • Save the Date: October 27th - 12th Annual Jobs and Workforce Summit (virtual)
MWA Holds Summer Lunch for Members
On August 24th, MWA hosted a lunch for members at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA. It was a great opportunity to safely connect in-person and enjoy the outdoor location. Members connected and networked, and we welcomed new MWA board members in a brief orientation prior to lunch.

To learn more about becoming a member of MWA click here.
MassHire Award Finalist Workshops This Fall
MWA is celebrating and featuring the winners and finalists of the 2021 MassHire Awards in September and October. In addition to blog posts and social media recognizing their work, we invited finalists to offer virtual workshop sessions to share their great work with the broader workforce community. See below to learn more and register!

  • Thursday, September 23rd, 11AM - 12PM: Employer Engagement and Communication Strategies (MassHire Downtown Boston Career Center and Mass Hire New Bedford Workforce Board) Click here to register.
  • Thursday, October 7th, 11AM - 12PM: Strategically Working with Businesses - Internal and External Partnerships (MassHire Central Mass Career Centers and MassHire Holyoke Career Center) Click here to register.
  • Thursday, October 14th, 11AM - 12PM: Advancement of Services for Disadvantaged Job Seekers (MassHire Lowell Career Center) Click here to register.

*MWA would like to apologize for our error in last month's newsletter. The winner for the Reliability Award was incorrect. The winner for Reliability was Edda Johnson, Managing Director of Career Center Services at MassHire Hampden County Workforce Board. Congratulations Edda!
Volunteers of America Massachusetts Advocates for Job Training and Integrated Service Delivery
In June, MWA welcomed Charles Gagnon, President and CEO of Volunteers of America Massachusetts to our Board of Directors. VOA is committed to an integrated care delivery approach that supports its low-income, homeless and other vulnerable clients across all areas, including job training and workforce development. As Charles says in this testimony to the state legislature, "Integrated care for us means we provide behavioral treatment through a distinct patient-centered, trauma-informed, culturally competent, whole-person care approach. This model is at the heart of an integrated care framework, delivered by a licensed and vetted multi-disciplinary team. Central to this approach of treating the “whole-person” is delivering comprehensive workforce development programs."

Click here to read a recent op-ed advocating for veterans' supports offered through VOA in Commonwealth Magazine. Click here to learn more about VOA's transition to an integrated service model.
Register Today! Working Recovery Virtual Symposium, September 14th
Advocates for Human Potential and the Access to Recovery Program are partnering with BSAS to hold their first ever virtual symposium, Working Recovery, on September 14, 2021. The content will focus on why employment is pivotal to sustained addiction recovery. Click here for more information and to register. Attendance is free, but registration is required. CEUs are available for LADC and NAADAC.

Interested in working at AHP? Check out the job postings in Around the Sector to find their posting for a Job Developer.
There are so many job postings and funding announcements, so 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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