In This Issue:
  • State and Federal Policy Updates: Governor's Budget, Cliff Effects Bill, New DOL HIRE Initiative, and more
  • MWA Updates: Workforce Webinar Recaps, New Growing Equity Webinar Series, Grant Award Announcements
  • Member Updates: Staff and Customer Highlights, New MassHire Metro North Strategic Framework, and more
  • News From Around the Sector: Jobs, funding, news and updates
*Please check your Spam or Junk folders if you have signed up and are not receiving our newsletter.*

State Public Policy
State House
On January 26th, the Baker-Polito Administration unveiled its FY2023 budget proposal. According to the press release the proposal is a $48.5 billion plan to support economic growth and sustain efforts to address COVID-19. In addition to various targeted investments, it includes almost $700M in tax breaks for seniors, parents, renters, and would eliminate income taxes for hundreds of thousands low-income taxpayers. You can view the full budget here.

We are still analyzing the bill but below are the funding levels for priority MWA line items:
  • Career Centers: $5.96M
  • WCTF: $7M
  • Manufacturing: $2.5M
  • CTI: $15.37M
  • Connecting Activities: $7.5M
  • YouthWorks: $16.2M
  • Apprenticeship: $1M

We are disappointed by the proposed funding level for the career center line item. MWA will work with Legislators to increase this critical funding. MWA members should look for a policy alert next week with additional budget information and collateral.
Baker-Polito Administration Files $4.9 Billion Bond Bill

Last week the Baker-Polito Administration filed H.4336, An Act financing the general governmental infrastructure of the Commonwealth, a $4.9 billion bond bill. This legislation focuses on a variety of capital improvements, including $185M for the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security to "modernize the UI online system and build out an integrated eligibility and enrollment system to streamline the benefits application process across multiple state agencies".

It also includes $100M in borrowing authorization for the Workforce Skills Capital Grants Program. Click here to see the bill in its entirety. The next step will be a hearing in front of the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets.
House and Senate Pass COVID Response Bills

Last week the House passed H.4340, An Act making appropriations for supplementing certain existing appropriations and for certain other activities and projects, which included $55M for COVID response efforts including: $30M to expand testing sites and $25M for the acquisition of high quality masks for K-12 schools. Yesterday, the Senate passed its version of the bill, S.2622, which included $75M for COVID response efforts (similar funding levels for more testing and masks but a directive to distribute the masks to not just K-12 schools but early education and care, long-term care and nursing homes, PCAs, and home health care workers).

Policy wise the bills would extend the ability to hold remote public meetings through July 15, 2022. A conference committee will be appointed in the coming days to settle the differences.
New Coalition Formed to Expand Early College in MA

The Massachusetts Alliance for Early College (MA4EC) is a cross-sector coalition committed to drastically increasing the number of students with access to high-quality Early College programs in Massachusetts. The coalition has set an ambitious goal to ensure that the Early College initiative is able to serve 45K high school students by the 2026-2027 school year.

To learn more about success stories from Early College programs and how they can help address equity gaps in college completion rates, click here. To learn more about the coalition and its membership click here.
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.208/S.119 An Act concerning public assistance for working families and the creation of a pilot program to address the impacts of the cliff effects (Rep. Gonzalez, Rep. Duffy, Senator Lesser)

This legislation is currently before the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities and received a hearing in September 2021. Fifteen legislators have cosponsored.

Bill Summary: This legislation would create a 3-year pilot program to address the impacts of cliff effects. Under the pilot program, 100 low-income working families or individuals who are receiving any form of public benefits would work with case managers and agencies to find successful ways to transition off benefits as earnings increase. Support for those in the pilot would include coaching, mentoring, financial wellness, cliff effect planning and training, and collaboration with all appropriate state agencies, departments and Secretariats. In addition, the pilot would test whether the Massachusetts earned income tax credit (EITC) could be enhanced to create an effective tool to close the cliff gap.

To learn more about this legislation, the cliff effect, and the Economic Pathways MA Coalition which is supporting this legislation click here. To read the bill in its entirety click here.
December 2021 Unemployment Rate and Claims Data
On January 21st, the state released the unemployment rate for December 2021 and the revised rate for November. Massachusetts' rate decreased from November to 3.9 percent, same as the national rate. The MA labor force participation rate was down 0.07 of a percentage point to 65.4 percent, down 1.1 percentage points from the prior year. The labor force decreased by 41,700 from November. Since December 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Massachusetts gained 222,200 jobs. The largest over the year gains occurred in Leisure and Hospitality; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; and Education and Health Services. Click here to read the state press release. Local unemployment estimates were released on 1/25 and the local press release can be found here.

The U.S. Department of Labor has been highlighting specific statistics from the monthly jobs report. To learn more about the 5 Numbers from the December Jobs Report, click here.

Economic Update
The UMass Donahue Institute released their Notes from the Board last month, showing continued growth despite uncertainties due to the omicron variant, inflation, and labor market. Click here to read more. Today, they released the latest Benchmarks Bulletin for the end of 2021, anticipating slower and uncertain growth going forward. Click here for more.

This New York Times article describes why Americans aren't feeling good about the economy, despite signs of recovery.

UI Claims Data
On 1/20 DUA released the initial claims for the month ending 1/8/2022. Click here for the state press release which includes charts of initial and continued claims by demographic characteristics and industry.

Over the month, 42,277 individuals filed initial claims for regular unemployment assistance, a increase of 13,357 claims from the previous 4 weeks aggregated. The largest increases were in Transportation and Warehouse, Construction, Food & Accommodation and Administrative & Waste. Continued claims increased 38,387 from the previous four weeks to 259,644.
Federal Public Policy
Capital Building_ Washington DC
Treasury Sets Final Regulations for SLRF

The U.S. Department of Treasury released final regulations for the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLRF) - a $350 billion formula grant program authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARPA). The rule is set to go into effect on April 1st and the regulations identify a variety eligible workforce development activities and investments.

ETA Releases Guidelines on UI RESEA Grants and State Plan

Earlier this week the Employment and Training Administration released TEGL No. 05-21, providing guidelines for the FY2022 UI Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESA) grants and inviting State Workforce Agencies to submit a RESEA State Plan.

DOL Launches HIRE Initiative

Earlier this month DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance announced the launch of Hiring Initiative to Reimagine Equity (HIRE). HIRE is a multi-year collaborative effort to engage a broad array of stakeholders in expanding access to good jobs for workers from underrepresented communities and help address key hiring and recruitment challenges. HIRE will identify strategies to remove hiring barriers that limit opportunity along the lines of race, color, ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ+ status, religion, disability, age and veteran status. Click here to learn more.
National Fund Releases Job Quality Maps

The National Fund for Workforce Solutions recently released job quality outcome maps to help answer the question, “What business results are possible when you redesign jobs?”. The maps illustrate the relationships between five universal and validated business metrics and various job design choices. Click here to see the map.
New Report on Lessons Learned in Workforce Development

The National Governors Association (NGA) Workforce Innovation Network (WIN) released a report earlier this month highlighting states that have redesigned their workforce systems for better employment outcomes. The report includes 10 states that changed their workforce practices over the course of the pandemic. Click here to read the report.
December and January Workforce Webinar Recaps: Recharge Your Coaching - Core Coaching Strategies; Using Data in Work with Employers and Job Seekers
Our December webinar with Martha Oesch on Recharge Your Coaching - Core Coaching Strategies was one of our most popular, leading to a waitlist! The workshop was highly interactive and reviewed 4 key coaching skills: asking permission, listening reflectively, asking powerful questions, and holding the focus.

In January, we held another popular webinar with more than 50 participants on Using Data to Work with Employers and Job Seekers. Maddrey Goode of MassHire Boston Career Center, Scott Percifull and Kristi Bruwer of MassHire North Center Career Center, and Jeff Roberge of the MassHire North Central Workforce Board shared the publicly available and proprietary data they use to both help educate businesses about the labor market, competitive wage rates in their industry, and posting to hire timelines; and educate job seekers about how to map their skills to new occupations and industries, and how to negotiate salary and benefits.
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.
MassHire Holyoke Career Center Program Coordinator Imanol Cruz Highlighted by MassHousing
Imanol Cruz, Program Coordinator at the MassHire Holyoke Career Center was featured recently in this MassHousing Community Service Success Story. His experience as a young person hired by MassHousing for their Summer Jobs Program inspired Imanol to continue working with young people in Holyoke while attending Holyoke Community College. Read more about Imanol here.
Maddrey Goode, Director of the MassHire Boston Career Center, was featured in this video along with Governor Baker celebrating the opening of the Roxbury Workforce Opportunity Resource Center, WORC2. The center will be an incubator designed to engage underrepresented local community-based businesses and workers in the construction industry in Greater Boston.
MassHire Metro North Workforce Board released their 5 year Strategic Framework. This is the result of a year-long process that included Community Action Partners, MNWB staff and Board, and many partners and supporters. Click here to review the document.
MassHire North Central Workforce Board featured an inspiring and uplifting story in their recent newsletter written by MassHire North Central Career Center customer, Dwayne Boyd. His story is a great example of the impact that our workforce system has on residents in the Commonwealth. Click here to read more about his experience.
The Boston Globe highlighted the Career Technical Initiative and several of the training programs including at Essex Tech and Minuteman Technical Institute. Click here to read more about the Workforce Skills Cabinet partnership that led to the creation of this training program.
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's just a sample of some of the jobs, RFPs, and learning opportunities available right now:
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest workforce news and updates.