In This Issue:
  • State and Federal Policy Updates: New supplemental budget filed, WCTF Annual Report released, New Direct Care Worker Website, WIOA state plan modification open for public comment, Updates from US DOL on new initiatives
  • MWA Updates: Growing Equity Webinar Series Recap, Racial Equity Resources, MBR Annual Report released
  • Member Updates: MassHire Berkshire and Metro North Success Stories, NEWN Conference RFP, Farewell to Peter Farkas
  • News From Around the Sector: Jobs, funding, news and updates
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State Public Policy
State House
On February 18th, Governor Baker filed H.4479, an FY22 supplemental budget bill. This legislation seeks to spend $2.4 billion ($1.6 billion once you account for federal funds and reimbursements). The Governor is filing the bill at a time when FY22 revenues are running almost a billion over benchmark. Highlights of the supplemental budget bill include:
  • $700 million to fund our COVID-19 public health response
  • $450 million in stabilization grants for child care centers
  • $401 million in rate enhancements for human services providers
  • $100 million in matching grants to youth-focused nonprofits to support the construction and renovation of facilities; and
  • $140 million for special education schools to address staffing needs

You can view the bill here and the Governor's filing letter here. As a reminder, FY23 budget season is underway with the Administration having filed H2 in January. Click here to read MWA's budget blog post highlighting important updates.
WCTF 2021 Annual Report Released

Commonwealth Corporation released the 2021 Annual Report for the Donnelly Workforce Success Grants /Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund. The report highlights how COVID-19 impacted training programs and success stories and highlights from the programs funded prior and during the pandemic. Click here to read more.

You will also see that CommCorp has a new brand and updated website. Check it out!
New State Website for Direct Care Workers

There is now a new website dedicated to Direct Care Workers in Massachusetts, in particular Homemakers and Personal Care Attendants (PCAs). The website offers resources for job seekers and workforce professionals who are interested in learning more about direct care worker training and recruitment. Click here to view the new website.
Suicide Prevention Training for MassHire and State Partner Agencies

The MA Department of Public Health is offering training in QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention for MassHire staff and WIOA Partner Agencies. Training is virtual and being held on a number of dates through April. Click here for the issuance with more information and links to register for the training.
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:

Earlier this month, U.S. House Democratic leadership released the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act.

This legislation will:
  • Surge the production of American-made semiconductors, which are crucial to building and increasing the supply of everyday products like cars and medical devices,
  • Make a major investment to improve the nation’s supply chains
  • Drive innovation and scientific research,
  • Improve national security and global competitiveness by reducing our foreign reliance on products made abroad, and
  • Expand the STEM workforce to better represent the diversity of our nation

The COMPETES bill passed the House on February 4th. To learn more about this legislation click here. To read a section-by-section summary click here.
January 2022 Unemployment Rate Data Available Next Month
At the end of each calendar year, state economists revise the monthly unemployment estimates for the prior year. This work, in addition to the regular unemployment rate estimates for the prior month, require more time to produce the January estimates. The State level unemployment rate for January 2022 and revised rates for calendar year 2021 will be released on March 11, 2022. Local area rates will be released on March 15, 2022. Click here for a link to the data release dates for 2022.
WIOA State Plan Modification Open for Public Comment
The Commonwealth's State Workforce Board, along with the WIOA State Partner Agencies, have updated the state's 2020-2023 WIOA State Plan. The plan was made available for public comment on 2/11. Two public and recorded webinar presentations were offered on 2/14 and 2/16, and comments will be accepted through COB 2/22/2022. Click here for the issuance and here for the link to the document and where you can submit comments.
Federal Public Policy
Capital Building_ Washington DC
CR Passed to Fund the Federal Government Through March 11

The House passed a short-term government funding extension (continuing resolution "CR") and last week the Senate passed it to fund the federal government and related programs through March 11th. FY22 budget negotiations continue, with Senate Appropriators having been given their allocation totals. Both chambers continue to work on crafting a full-year FY22 funding bill.

US Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearing on Workforce Development

On February 15th the US Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee held a hearing on Supporting Quality Workforce Development Opportunities and Innovation to Address Barriers to Employment. You can view a video of the full hearing here. Our colleague, Melinda Mack, Executive Director of the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP), testified about the types of investments and supportive services that the workforce system needs to help ensure an equitable recovery.

In her testimony, which you can read here, Melinda noted that over the past two decades public investment in WIOA has declined by 40%, a critical point for Congress to hear. We thank Melinda for representing the workforce system so well with her testimony!

Updates from the Department of Labor

See below for new initiatives and reports from the Department of Labor:
  • DOL issues new guidance on UI Overpayments. See here for more information.
  • DOL releases a report on worker organizing. See here for the report.
  • DOL announces a summer data challenge. See here for more details.
  • DOL forms a new Telecommunications Workforce Group. See here for the press release.
January and February Growing Equity Series Recaps: Having Courageous Conversations and Supporting Workers of Color Under WIOA
MWA kicked off our new webinar series "Growing Equity: Building a More Inclusive and Just Workforce System" in January with our first session facilitated by Karen Groce-Horan and Jayne Ogata of Courageous Conversations Towards Racial Justice. The session was interactive and focused on the basics of understanding how to create courageous space for conversations about racism at work, and exploring how our different identities and experiences inform how we view the world we live in.

Our second session "Supporting Workers of Color Under WIOA" was led by Alex Camardelle, PhD of The Joint Center. Dr. Camardelle shared the 5 principles from his recent policy brief, "Principles to Support Black Workers in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act." We had a great, practical conversation about how our current systems can perpetuate racist outcomes by being race neutral and how we can start approaching our work differently today to ensure better outcomes for Black and other participants of color, even before federal reauthorization of WIOA or official changes in regulations.

We have a few more Growing Equity sessions to come in March and April, and will be soliciting feedback from webinar participants in May in order to improve this work and learn what is of interest for future sessions. Click here to learn more and register for future sessions.
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.
Massachusetts Business Roundtable 2021 Annual Report
The Massachusetts Business Roundtable, one of our partners in the Workforce Solutions Group, released their 2021 Annual Report last week. The report highlights collectively tackled issues around the Future of Work and doing business in this new norm, driving greater equity and opportunity within the workplace, and strengthening the state’s competitiveness. Click here to read the full report.
MassHire Berkshire Workforce Board Hosts Intern from Lenox Memorial High School
The MassHire Berkshire Workforce Board is excited to host high school intern Teagan, Lenox Memorial High Class of 2022. In her role, Teagan helps support and lead projects and initiatives that promote/expand upon career readiness offerings for Berkshire youth. Teagan has been with MassHire Berkshire for a few months and has already increased their marketing efforts, provided labor market information to the schools, and created a career readiness video. From Teagan:

“I am currently attending Lenox Memorial High School and will be graduating this spring. From there, I plan to study communication design, film, and photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. The Berkshire Workforce Board has given me a pre-college opportunity to broaden my experience in communications. Whether it’s design or labor market research, there is always a new task at hand that will broaden my experience and horizons.”

Way to go Teagan and MassHire Berkshire Workforce Board!
(Image: Teagan (left) & Kat Toomey (right), BWB Youth Program Specialist / Teagan’s supervisor)
MassHire Metro North Success Stories and Upcoming Strategic Framework Webinar
On December 10, 2021, eleven students graduated from the MassHire Metro North Workforce Board’s Pre-Apprenticeship Construction and Facilities Maintenance Program, referred to as MN-PACMAN. This pre-apprenticeship program is a 160 hour, ten week program that prepares participants for registered apprenticeships in facilities maintenance and trade-related occupations. Funding is provided by the Kenneth J. Donnelly Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund managed by the Commonwealth Corporation.

Due to COVID restrictions, the graduation was held virtually with over 30 guests in attendance. Guest speakers included Chris Albrizio-Lee, President and CEO of the MassHire Metro North Workforce Board, Cynthia Singer Riordan, WCTF Program Manager from Commonwealth Corporation, Diana Hassan, Director of Human Resources and employer partner, C.E. Floyd Company and Saraugh Fitah, Director of Operations, Winn Companies, a program partner and instructor. Click here to read more about the program and partnership.

If you are interested in learning more about the MassHire Metro North Workforce Board's new Strategic Framework, join their upcoming webinar on March 16th. Register here.

In more inspiring news, the MassHire Metro North Career Center recently supported Danyell, a single mother who had a career gap of 17 years. She said that she wanted a career, not just a job. She sought to become self-supporting for her family and to be an example for her children. Click here to learn more about the success Danyell found through working with her MassHire Metro North Career Advisor, Shirley Fickett, and taking advantage of the workshops and training opportunities available through the career center.
Congratulations to Peter Farkas, who is moving on from his role as Executive Director of the MassHire Greater Lowell Workforce Board to Berkshire Community College where he will oversee workforce development. We wish Pete the best in his new role and are excited that he will continue to be part of the workforce development community.
The NEWN Planning Group is now accepting proposals for the 12th Annual New England Workforce Network (NEWN) Conference that will be held both virtually and in-person at Holyoke Community College on Friday, October 14, 2022. The theme for this year's conference, Reimagining the Workforce, is an invitation for the many talented workforce development professionals across New England and beyond to share your expertise with your colleagues in these turbulent times.

The RFP is an easy to complete Word document (click here to download) and the deadline for proposals is Friday, May 6, 2022.
Boston PIC Releases 2021 Annual Report - Resilient, Responsive, Forward-Looking
The MassHire Boston Workforce Board / Boston PIC released their annual report on January 31st. Amidst a pandemic, Boston became more focused than ever on addressing inequity, culminating in a historic mayoral election and the promise of transformational change. In this context, the PIC expanded and innovated on several fronts, even as it met its core responsibilities. Click here to view the report.
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:
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