In This Issue:
  • State and Federal Policy Updates: FY23 Senate Budget, WIOA Reauthorization Passes the House
  • MWA Updates: Honoring Alice Sweeney, #MentalHealthAtWork Twitter Chat, Racial Equity Resources, Lunch & Learn Wellness Series, Cliff Effect Tool Webinar, 2022 Summer Jobs Outlook released by CLMP Drexel
  • Member Updates: Maddrey Goode Appointed to New Boston Commission, MassHire Central Region Recognized for Advocacy work, and More Good News!
  • 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
Senate Releases and Debates its FY23 Budget

Earlier this month the Senate Ways and Means Committee released its $49.68 billion FY23 budget. As drafted the budget proposal is slightly lower than the House version passed last month ($49.73 billion) but represents a $2.07 billion increase over the FY22 budget, and would spend $1.45 billion more than the H2 budget filed by the Baker Administration in January. It would also increase the state's stabilization fund to a record high of $6.74 billion and double the increase in unrestricted local aid to cities and towns across the Commonwealth. Click here to see the full budget proposal.

As for workforce development, proposed funding for key MWA line items include:

  • Career Centers: $10M
  • YouthWorks: $24M
  • Connecting Activities: $8M
  • WCTF: $17M
  • Learn to Earn: $300K
  • Re-entry: $2.5M
  • Apprenticeships: $1M
  • Career Technical Institutes (CTI): $15.3M
  • Manufacturing: $2.5M

See MWA's budget sheet for priority workforce line items tracked by MWA. See MWA's Budget Workbook for additional line items related to workforce development. Also see the corresponding regional tabs in the workbook for the names and contact information for your region's Senators.

The Senate should wrap up its budget debate today or tomorrow. You can follow the amendment process 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.2019/S.1154, An Act Regulating the Use of Credit Reports by Employers

This legislation, known as the Fair Chance in Employment Act and filed by Senator Barrett and Representative Malia, would prohibit employers from considering an employee or job applicant’s credit report in making hiring or employment decisions. Specifically it would:
  • Prevent an employer from considering an employee or job applicant’s credit report in employment decisions, such as hiring, firing, promotion, demotion, discipline, or compensation.
  • Make it unlawful for an employer to ask an employee or job applicant about their credit report or about information regarding their credit history.
  • Allow an employer to use credit reports in making employment decisions where federal or state law or a self-regulatory financial organization requires it or where the position at hand requires national security clearance.
  • For the limited subset of employees and job applicants who would still be subject to credit checks, there are additional procedural protections outlined.

So far 11 states and at least 2 large cities have limited the use of credit reports. In addition, the U.S. House passed a bill with provisions similar to the FCEA, the Comprehensive CREDIT Act of 2020, restricting the use of credit reports with exceptions only for security clearances or where federal or state law requires. To read the bill in its entirety click here.
April 2022 Unemployment Data
On May 20th, the state released the unemployment rate for April 2022 and the revised rate for March 2022. Click here to read the May 20th state press release. Massachusetts' April rate decreased from March to 4.1 percent, 0.5 percentage point higher than the national rate. The MA labor force participation rate unchanged at 66 percent, up 0.6 percentage point from the prior year. The labor force increased by 600 from March. Since April 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Massachusetts gained 178,400 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 April were released on 5/24. The most recent local press release can be found here.

The Economic Policy Institute has updated their state unemployment statistics by race/ethnicity here.

Claims Data
On May 19th, the state released the monthly unemployment claim data for April. The state had 20,592 initial claims for regular unemployment insurance, an increase of 2,591 from the previous month. Most initial claims were in Transportation & Warehousing, Construction, and Health Care and Social Assistance. Continued weeks claimed decreased by 68,048 to 209,482. Most decreases were in Construction, Administrative & Waste, and Health Care and Social Assistance. Click here for the claims press release.

*Correction - Last month's newsletter incorrectly labeled the claims data on continued weeks claimed as continued claims. MWA apologizes for the error.
Federal Public Policy
Capital Building_ Washington DC
House Passes WIOA Reauthorization Bill

On May 17th, the House passed the WIOA 2022 Reauthorization package in on a mostly party line vote (4 Republicans voted with Democrats to pass). There were a few dozen amendments adopted, including a handful of bipartisan ones that made it through. A section by section summary of the bill can be found here.

A list of the Amendments voted on can be found here. One adopted amendment would allow states to deliver Wagner-Peyser Act services through local staff if the state was considered a demonstration state prior to the end of 2021 (this would impact four regions in MA). This bipartisan amendment was introduced by Rep. Crow (D-CO) and Rep. Buck (R-CO). It is highly unlikely that the Senate takes up this bill, so for now, we will wait and see what the next steps for reauthorization might be.

Affordable Connectivity Program Launched

Earlier this month President Biden announced a new Affordable Connectivity Program which provides eligible households $30 per month off their internet bills. This program was made possible through the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by Congress in November 2021. You can find out more information about the program here. MWA, as part of the Workforce Solutions Group, co-authored a white paper last spring which highlighted the need for additional investments in broadband and internet.
Alice Sweeney, Director of MassHire Department of Career Services, Honored with Operation ABLE's Extraordinary Leadership and Service Award
After decades of public service through the workforce system, Alice Sweeney, Director of the MassHire Department of Career Services, will be retiring this June. Operation ABLE will be honoring Alice at their virtual 40th Anniversary Celebration on June 8th.

MWA shares its deep appreciation for Alice's longstanding commitment to the Massachusetts workforce development community and wishes her all the best in her well-deserved retirement. Congratulations Alice!
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.
U.S. Department of Labor Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month in #MentalHealthAtWork Twitter Chat
MWA joined the U.S. Department of Labor and other government agencies and partners in sharing resources, best practices, and approaches to supporting mental health in the workplace during their #MentalHealthAtWork twitter chat. Click here to view the chat. MWA collected many of the free resources and articles shared in a blog post and you can read that here.
Join SkillWorks, The United Way, MASSCAP and the MWA for a webinar on Wednesday 6/8 with SpringfieldWorks and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta who will share A New Tool to Help Navigate Cliff Effects.

Click here to register.
On May 18th, we held the first in our three part Lunch and Learn series to Refill Your Tank! - Self-Care Daily Habits for Busy People. From learning the benefit of taking 5 good breaths, to keeping an eye out for "positivity blueberries" in your day-to-day, participants enjoyed the light hearted delivery of self-care resources.

Join us for our next session with Happier Valley Comedy's Pam Victor. Click below to register for the next two half-hour (12-12:30PM) sessions:
2022 Teen Summer Jobs Outlook
The Center for Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University released their annual Teen Summer Jobs Outlook. Their forecast suggests a strong job market for young people this summer, with a 32.8% employment rate. Click here to read more.
Maddrey Goode, Director of the MassHire Boston Career Center and MWA Board Member, was recently appointed by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu to a newly formed Commission on Black Men & Boys. In the press release he is quoted:

“I am humbled to join the Black Men and Boys Commission,” said Maddrey Goode, Black Men and Boys Commission Member. “As a life-long resident of Roxbury, ensuring that Black men and youth have access to equitable opportunities is of the utmost importance to me. My focus is to help build a better Boston that focuses not just on diversity and inclusion, but most importantly equity for our present and future Black citizens, leaders, and generations.” 

Click here for Boston Globe coverage of the Commission launch. We congratulate Maddrey on his appointment!
The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network is celebrating its annual Nonprofit Excellence Awards on June 22nd. This year, MassHire Central Region Workforce Board is a finalist in the Advocacy category, one of 30 total finalists being recognized out of more than 130 nominations. The Excellence in Advocacy Award recognizes a nonprofit organization whose work has resulted in significant progress on a public policy issue in the last two years. Congratulations to the MassHire Central Region!

To register for the virtual program, click here.
More Good News from MWA Members!
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:
  • Commonwealth Corporation has issued a rolling RFP under the new SCALE Planning Grant Program (Scaling Capacity and Leveraging Employers). Planning grants will be used to prepare for implementation grants under one of several existing programs (i.e. WCTF, CTI, RENEW, etc.) Click here to learn more and apply.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor has issued funding under the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) program. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor has issued $2M for a funding opportunity called Fostering Access, Rights, and Equity (FARE) to help women workers who earn low wages learn more about labor rights and benefits. Click here to learn more and apply.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest workforce news and updates.