In This Issue:

  • State and Federal Policy Updates: Economic Development Bill Passed, Unemployment and Economic Update
  • MWA Updates: Honoring Lew Finfer, Racial Equity Resources, Meet MWA!, Data System Advocates Hold First Annual Convening
  • Member Updates: MassHire MSW Awarded Grant from local foundation, MassHire Award Finalist Workshops, MassHire Central Staff Person Recognized, Local Greater NB Company Recognized by OSHA
  • News From Around the Sector: Jobs, funding, news and updates
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State Public Policy

Economic Development Bill Signed Into Law

On November 10th, Governor Baker singed the long anticipated Economic Development legislation into law. This $3.8B economic development bill also served as the vehicle to close out FY22. The final legislation did not include any of the permanent tax rebates, cuts, and reforms included in the bills passed by both chambers earlier this summer.

As passed by the Legislature, the bill would have spend down what remained of the FY22 surplus and $500M in ARPA funds, leaving roughly $1.75B in ARPA funds for the next Administration/Legislative session. However, the Governor vetoed an outside section of the bill that would have capped the use of ARPA funding to $510 million (of the $2.3 billion that remains available in ARPA funds). Given that the Legislature is not currently in session, they could not override the Governor's veto, effectively impacting how much ARPA funds will be allocated to fund this legislation over FY22 surplus funds.

In terms of breaking down the $3.8B, highlights include:

  • $850M for fiscally strained hospitals, human service providers, nursing facilities, rest homes, and community health centers;
  • $200M for the state's continued response to COVID-19;
  • $150M to stabilize early education and care providers;
  • $50M to support scholarships for MA students enrolled in higher education nursing programs;
  • $100M for workforce housing production;
  • $153M to support businesses in need including $75M for hotels, $45M for businesses reaching underserved markets, and $40M for small businesses; and $75M to support broadband infrastructure and internet access.

In terms of workforce related initiatives, the bill includes:

  • A comprehensive study of Commonwealth Corporation and MassHire (Pages 47-48)
  • A scholarship program for MA students attending MA colleges and pursuing degrees in high demand fields (mentions regional market blueprints) (Pages 48-49)
  • A pilot program to mitigate cliff effects which has been pushed forward by Springfield Works and the Economic Development Council of Western MA (Pages 85-86)
  • A grant program through the Department of Education to increase the nursing workforce talent pipeline and improve career pathways for the nursing profession (Page 88)
  • Creation of a Cybersecurity Center to enhance the conditions for economic growth through outreach to the cybersecurity industry cluster in the commonwealth and to foster cybersecurity resiliency through communication, collaboration and outreach with state agencies, municipalities, educational institutions and private partners (Pages 114-115)

You can read the final legislation here and the Governor's press release here.

October 2022 Unemployment and Economic Data

On November 18th, the state released the unemployment rate for October 2022 and the revised rate for September 2022. Click here to read the November 18th state press release. Massachusetts' October rate rose 0.1 of a percentage point from September to 3.5 percent, 0.2 of a percentage point lower than the national rate for October. The MA labor force participation rate dropped by 0.1 of a percentage point, to  65.5 percent, down 0.2 of a percentage point from the prior year. The labor force decreased by 3,800 from September. Since the beginning of the pandemic (April 2020), Massachusetts has recovered 659,600 jobs. The largest over the year gains occurred in Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; Leisure and Hospitality; and Education and Health Services. Click here to read the state press release. Local unemployment estimates for October were released on 11/22. The most recent local press release can be found here. The press release for the Unemployment Claimant data for October 2022 can be found here.

Economic Analysis

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta recently released a report on the impact of pandemic-era aid to workers. Click here to read the analysis. The Boston Fed held its 66th Economic Conference on November 18-19. The theme was Labor Markets During and After the Pandemic. To read a summary of the event and access the research papers and presentations offered, 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.R. 9082, Advancing Skills-Based Hiring Act

In September, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (D-NY) introduced the Advancing Skills-Based Hiring Act to assist employers who are adopting skills-based hiring practices that prioritize job-skills and abilities over college degrees. Under this legislation, employers would be provided technical assistance on the lawful use of pre-employment assessments and proactive determinations that an employer's usage of such assessments is consistent with effective performance of the job. Specifically this bill would:

  • Allow employers to voluntarily submit assessment validity evidence to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for proactive review,
  • Provide employers a safe harbor if the EEOC determines their use of an assessment satisfies the legal burden of being "job related", and
  • Ensure employers can participate in this voluntary compliance initiative without risk by preventing the EEOC from using an employer's participation as a basis for future investigation and protecting the information an employer submit from being used against them.

Read the fill text of the bill here.

Federal Public Policy

Updates From D.C.

FY23 Appropriations

Congress is back in session as they head into a short “lame-duck” session where it is expected they will focus on FY23 appropriations.

As has been widely reported, Republicans have gained control of the House with Democrats keeping control of the Senate. Leadership positions will shift in the House as will committee leadership. It is expected that Democratic leadership will be Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY) as Minority Leader, Rep. Katherine Clark (MA) as Minority Whip, and Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA) as Caucus Chairman. For the Republicans, Rep. Steve Scalise (LA) as Majority Leader and Tom Emmer (MN) as Majority Whip, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA) was nominated as the Republican candidate for Speaker. While Senate leadership will stay the same, committee leadership will shift. As we enter into the next session of Congress, we will have additional updates on committee leadership and what potential workforce issues could be taken up by the next Congress.


National Apprenticeship Week

November 14th to the 20th was the 8th Annual National Apprenticeship Week. National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is a nationwide celebration where industry, labor, equity, workforce, education, and government leaders host events to showcase the successes and value of Registered Apprenticeship for re-building the economy, advancing racial and gender equity, and supporting underserved communities. In Massachusetts, many events were planned throughout the week to highlight apprenticeship. MWA attended some events and highlighted events from around the state on our social media using the hashtag #NAW2022.


Longtime Boston Area Community Organizer, Lew Finfer, Recognized for 50 Years of Work to Expand Social Justice

Lew Finfer, founder of Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN), one of our Workforce Solutions Group partners, was celebrated at this year's Carry it On 2022 event. Lew has spent the last 30 years working through MCAN to fight for social justice issues, including expanding access to jobs and training for young people, returning citizens, and other MA residents who need the most support. As Lew prepares to retire, he and his work have been highlighted in this Boston Globe article and this brief video by six of his friends and colleagues. We are proud to work closely with Lew and congratulate him on his well-deserved retirement.

Want to learn more about us? Join our upcoming "Meet MWA!" webinar!

Have you ever wondered about the organization behind these newsletters (The Mass Workforce Association)? Are you new to the Massachusetts workforce system? Interested in learning more about membership in MWA? Join us for a brief webinar on Thursday, December 1st at 1PM to learn more about us. Click here to register.

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.

Friends of Longitudinal Data Systems (FoLDS) Holds First Annual Convening

On Thursday, October 27th, MassINC and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston New England Public Policy Center co-hosted the First Annual Friends of Longitudinal Data Systems Fall Symposium.

The Friends of Longitudinal Data Systems (FoLDS) is a new group dedicated to advancing cutting-edge social policy research in Massachusetts. A collection of education and workforce advocates, researchers, philanthropic funders, and policymakers, FoLDS elevates longitudinal data research for evidence-based policymaking and advocates for long-term improvements in the state’s data infrastructure. MWA's Associate Director, Raija Vaisanen, helped introduce the event following DESE Commissioner Jeff Riley's opening remarks. Lauren Godding and Charlie Pearce from the newly reorganized EOLWD Department of Economic Research presented on new data products, including the recently released equity dashboards. To read more about the event, click here.

MassHire Metro South/West Receives Grant from the Foundation for MetroWest

The Foundation for MetroWest recently awarded MassHire Metro South/West a grant to expand a trades exploration program that they piloted in partnership with the Laborers Union and the MA AFL-CIO in Hopkinton. The grant will help bring the program to students in MetroWest and also support outreach to parents to build awareness. Click here to learn more.

MassHire Award Finalists Share Peer Learning Opportunity Workshops

Over the past month, MWA has hosted two virtual workshops led by MassHire Award finalists. We've learned about novel ways to reach job seekers and businesses, and how to build and maintain relationships with local partners, even during pandemic. This week we have our last webinar: Innovation in Times of Uncertainty - Join us!

Innovation in Times of Uncertainty

Thursday, December 1st, 11AM

Samantha Fonseca, Data/Program Management, MassHire Cape & Islands

Phylis Gedeon, Youth Program, MassHire Hampden County

Click here to register.

Click below for blog posts highlighting the finalists by each category.




Living MassHire


MassHire Central Region Workforce Board Resource Development Coordinator Recognized as a Local Hero

Bruce Mendelsohn was recognized by the local online newspaper, the Patch, as a Local Hero for his work at the Board, and also his volunteer activities in the region. Congratulations on this recognition, Bruce! Click here to read more.

U.S. DOL Recognizes Wareham Company for Workplace Safety & Health Excellence

Chatham Village Foods, located in Wareham, MA, was recognized with "Star" designation by OSHA this month for its employee training and involvement in its safety and health management system. The designation is the highest level of recognition that the agency's Voluntary Protection Program offers. Click here for the press release.


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 events, funding opportunities, jobs, and more posted on our website:

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