In This Issue:
  • State and Federal Policy Updates: Supplemental Budget Bill Passed, FY23 Budget Process in full swing, Commissions release child care and future of work reports, HireNow grant program for employers announced, President's Budget, DOL Funding Opportunities
  • MWA Updates: Growing Equity Webinar Series Recap, Racial Equity Resources, Welcome New Board Member Bobby Tugbiyele, Workforce Policy Briefing, Meet MWA!
  • Member Updates: MassHire Holyoke in the News, MassHire Greater Brockton Workforce Board launches MOVE Maker, Welcome new member DBEDC, AHP/ATR Program Success recognized by NAWDP
  • News From Around the Sector: Jobs, funding, news and updates
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State Public Policy
State House
House and Senate Pass FY22 Supplemental Budget Bills

Both the House and Senate have each passed roughly $1.6B FY22 Supplemental Budget bills. You can view the final House bill here and the final Senate bill here. The supplemental budget bills include additional funding for priorities such as covid response, rental assistance, local road repairs, and human service providers rate increases but differ on some policy proposals including divesting state pension funds from the Russian market. Both bills would extend outdoor dinning and to-go alcoholic beverages through April 1, 2023.

It appears that rather than appointing a conference committee that the House and Senate are trying to informally conference both bills so that they can get a compromise on Governor Baker's desk. Check back for updates soon.
New Grant Program for Employers

Last week the Baker-Polito Administration launched a new hiring and training employer grant program, “HireNow,” which will help employers quickly hire and train new workers and get more people back to work.

The “HireNow” program provides eligible employers with grants of $4,000 per each new employee filling jobs that meet the following conditions:

  • Hired between March 23, 2022 and December 31, 2022;
  • Working for at least 30 hours/week;
  • Working at a wage between $14.25/hour and $42.50/hour.

The grant can be used to cover a variety of costs related to hiring and training new workers. Each employer can receive a maximum of $400,000 and grants will be distributed on a first-come first-serve basis. Click here to learn more.
Early Education Committee Releases Final Report

The Special Legislative Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission, which was co-chaired by Senator Lewis and Representative Peisch, released its final report on March 15th.

In the report, the commission concluded that the early education and care system in Massachusetts does not meet the needs of children, families, or employers. The report outlines a series of recommendations, including investments of over $1.5B to transform the system.

House and Senate Leadership has indicated that they plan to use this report as a framework for drafting legislation and funding decisions around early education and care.

Click here to read the report.
Legislative Future of Work Commission Releases Final Report
On March 29th, the Legislative Future of Work Commission released its final report. Over the past year, the commission heard testimony on a host of subjects including how future workers are trained, employed, and supported, how to better connect education and career, new ways to engage employers in workforce development, and the stark labor challenges facing our Commonwealth. Click here to read the report.

MWA Executive Director Tonja Mettlach and Lauren Jones, Executive Vice President Massachusetts Business Roundtable and MWA Board member, served as commissioners.
Twelve Organizations Awarded Senator Donnelly Workforce Success Grants
Earlier this week the Baker-Polito Administration awarded $5.4M in Senator Donnelly Workforce Success Grants (formerly known as WCTF). These grants will support sector-based employment programs that provide job training placement, and retention services to unemployed and underemployed Massachusetts Residents.

Click here to read the press release. Also click here to read about a recent manufacturing grant announcement.
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:

Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (H.R.2037)
Filed by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) and U.S. Representatives Andy Levin (D-MI-09) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16). According to sponsors this legislation would support students by making high-quality, shorter-term education and training programs eligible for federal Pell Grants. Under current law, Pell Grants (which are needs based grants for low-income and working students) can only be applied toward programs that are over 600 clock hours or at least 15 weeks in length. The JOBS Act would amend the Higher Education Act by:
  • Expanding Pell Grant eligibility to students enrolled in rigorous and high-quality short-term skills and job training programs that lead to industry-based credentials and ultimately employment in high-wage, high-skill industry sectors or careers.
  • Ensuring that students who receive Pell Grants are earning high-quality postsecondary credentials by requiring that the credentials:
  • Meet the standards under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), such as meaningful career counseling and aligning programs to in-demand career pathways or registered apprenticeship programs;
  • Align with the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act's program of study definition;
  • Are recognized by employers, industry, or sector partnerships;
  • Align with the skill needs of industries in the state or local economy; and
  • Are approved by the state workforce board in addition to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Defining eligible job training programs as those providing career and technical education instruction at an institution of higher education, such as a community or technical college that provides:
  • At least 150 clock hours of instruction time over a period of at least 8 weeks;
  • Training that meets the needs of the local or regional workforce and industry partnerships;
  • Institutional credit articulation so students can continue to pursue further education in their careers; and
  • Students with licenses, certifications, or credentials that meet the hiring requirements of multiple employers in the field for which the job training is offered.
  • Creating an inter-agency data sharing agreement between the Department of Labor and Department of Education to share WIOA performance outcomes metrics such as median earnings and completion.

To read this bill in its entirety click here.
January and February 2022 Unemployment Data
On March 25th, the state released the unemployment rate for February 2022 and the revised rate for January 2022. On March 11th, they released the initial January 2022 estimate and revised estimates back to 2017, after annual year-end revisions and updated population controls from the U.S. Census Bureau. The revisions showed the unemployment rates were higher particularly in 2020 and 2021. Estimates ranged from 0.1 to 2.9 percentage points higher than the previously published estimates for the months of January to May and July to October in 2020. In 2021, the months of May, June, July and December had upward revisions, ranging from 0.7 to 1.1 percentage points. Click here to read the March 11th state press release and here for the March 25th release.

Massachusetts' February rate decreased from January to 4.7 percent, 0.9 percentage point higher than the national rate. The MA labor force participation rate was up 0.1 of a percentage point to 65.9 percent, up 0.8 percentage point from the prior year. The labor force increased by 5,500 from January. Since February 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Massachusetts gained 173,500 jobs. The largest over the year gains occurred in Leisure and Hospitality; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; and Education and Health Services. Financial services was the only sector to see losses. Click here to read the state press release. Local unemployment estimates for January were released on 3/15 and for February on 3/29. The most recent local press release can be found here.

Claims Data
On March 17th, the state released the monthly unemployment claim data for the month ending March 5th. Between February 6th and March 5th the state had 23,157 initial claims for regular unemployment insurance and 299,554 continued claims. The largest decreases in initial claims were in Construction, Administrative & Waste, and Food & Accommodation. The largest decreases in continued claims were in Food & Accommodation and Healthcare & Social Assistance. Click here for the claims press release.
Federal Public Policy
Capital Building_ Washington DC
Congress Passes Omnibus Spending Bill
Earlier this month, Congress passed and the President signed a massive $1.5 trillion FY22 omnibus spending package.
The FY22 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill includes $213.6B in funding, a 7.7% increase above 2021 levels. The bill provides a total of $13.2B in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Labor, an increase of $653M above FY21 enacted levels. It also includes $9.8B for the Employment and Training Administration, an increase of $412M. A few highlights include:
  • $2.9B for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act State Grants, an increase of $34M above the FY 2021 enacted level.
  • Adult - $870.6M for adult employment and training activities.
  • Dislocated Worker - $1.075B for dislocated worker employment and training activities.
  • Youth - $933M for youth employment activities.
  • $102.1M for the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders, an increase of $2M above the FY 2021 enacted level.
  • $235M for Registered Apprenticeships, an increase of $50M above the FY 2021 enacted level.
  • $50M, an increase of $5M over the FY 2021 enacted level, to continue and expand Strengthening Community College Training Grants.
  • $405M for the Senior Community Service Employment for Older Americans Program.
  • $2.9B for operation of the Unemployment Insurance program, an increase of $285M above the FY 2021 enacted level. The bill also includes contingency funding to help States if there is a spike in unemployment claims.

Click here to read the final FY22 spending package.

President Biden Releases FY23 Budget
Earlier this week the White House released its FY23 budget proposal. Overall, the budget proposes an increase of more than $2.25B (12% increase) in workforce development funding.

Highlights include:
  • $1.4B (23% increase) to the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG)
  • $306M (22% increase) for Dislocated Worker Programs, and
  • $230M (6% increase ) in Vocational Rehabilitation.
  • Proposed increases for WIOA Title I programs total almost $140 million (5% increase).
  • $100M for state or local boards to support the creation or expansion of industry or sector partnerships.

Click here to read additional details in DOL's Budget in Brief.

Updates from the Department of Labor
See below for new initiatives and funding opportunities from the Department of Labor:
  • Apprenticeship Building America Program. Due April 25th, includes up to $113M in total funding. Click here for more details.
  • Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants. Due June 2nd, includes up to $45M in total funding. Click here for more details.
  • Workforce Pathway for Youth. Due April 25th, includes up to $10M in total funding. Click here for more details.
  • Growth Opportunities Grant. Due April 21st, includes up to $85M in total funding. Click here for more details.
  • Pathway Home 3 Grants. Due April 19th, includes up to $55M in total funding. Click here for more details.
  • DOL signs MOU with DOT to advance infrastructure jobs for underrepresented populations. Click here for more details.
March Growing Equity Series Recap: Organizational Change to Achieve Equity
On March 16th, YW Boston facilitated a workshop on "Organizational Change to Achieve Equity." In this third session in our Growing Equity Series, participants learned about how racism impacts different levels of organizational systems. We learned about models of change. In break out sessions we discussed how these models would apply to our real life workplaces.

If you missed our second session "Supporting Workers of Color Under WIOA" led by Alex Camardelle, PhD of The Joint Center, click here to read our blog recap.

Our last Growing Equity workshop in this series is on April 14th, Activating Employers with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. Click here to register. We also invite anyone who participated in one of the Growing Equity workshops to join us for a debrief and feedback conversation on May 19th in order to improve this work and learn what is of interest for future sessions. Click here to register for the May debrief and feedback conversation.
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.
Today, we held our FY23 Workforce Policy Briefing virtually with members of the State House. Over 100 participants joined the session to learn more about MA's labor market and why workforce development matters more than ever. Speakers included:

MWA shared our budget priorities for FY23 after a look at what is going on in the Massachusetts labor market. We are grateful for all of the support we receive from our state legislature!
We welcome Bobby Tugbiyele, Founder and CEO of The Leap Network, to the MWA Board of Directors. Bobby was nominated by the MassHire Lowell Career Center. The Leap Network specializes in the staffing and placement of medical professionals and administrators. Prior to launching his firm in 2017, Bobby was the Recruiting Manager for Lowell Community Health Center and has been in the Talent Acquisition and Human Resources field since 2005. He currently serves on the Board of Corporators for Lowell General Hospital and is a member of the Middlesex 3 Coalition which is focused on economic development, job growth and retention in Middlesex County. We are grateful to have Bobby's insight and expertise as part of our Board.
Meet MWA! Friday, April 29th
Want to learn more about MWA and what we do? Join us for our virtual "Meet MWA!" session on Friday, April 29th at 10AM. In this short webinar, we go over how we lead, advocate, and convene on behalf of the Massachusetts workforce system, and the benefits of membership.
Click here to register.
MassHire Holyoke Career Center Partnership Wins Shannon Grant, Launches Recovery Ready Workplace Initiative
The MassHire Holyoke Career Center, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke, and other organizations in Holyoke and Chicopee that offer services for at-risk youth, were awarded more than $500K through the Shannon Community Initiative. Click here to read more about this grant and the opportunities to come from it.
Last week, MassHire Holyoke Career Center and the MassHire Hampden County Regional Workforce Board launched the Recovery Ready Workplace Initiative in partnership with Advocates for Human Potential and the Access to Recovery Program (read more about AHP/ATR below). The initiative is a program that helps local businesses support their employees and employees’ family members who are recovering from addiction. Click here to read the local news coverage and here for more about the program.
Welcome to our newest MWA Member: Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation
The Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation recently joined MWA as an affiliate member. James Carey is Workforce Development Manager at DBEDC. We look forward to growing this partnership!
The National Association for Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) recently announced the Workforce Heroes for 2021. MWA Member Advocates for Human Potential Access to Recovery Program was highlighted as a Success Story! Congratulations to AHP/ATR and their partner BFIT! Click here to read more about their story.
The MassHire Greater Brockton Workforce Board, in partnership with Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School, are launching MassHire MOVE Maker (Mobile Occupational & Vocational Education). Students across 5 vocational programs worked to repair and convert a decommissioned Brockton Area Transit Authority passenger bus into a mobile learning lab for MassHire GBWB. Click here to read more about this great project.
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 is a sample of the funding opportunities posted on our website today:
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