In This Issue:

  • Farewell from MWA's Executive Director
  • State and Federal Policy Updates: New Legislative Session, Economic Data & Analysis, New Congressional Leaders in D.C., NSC Skills Summit
  • MWA Updates: March Workforce Webinar, WBJ Economic Forecast Forum Recap, Revised 2023 Calendar, Save the Date WSG Jobs and Workforce Summit, NEWN Conference, Racial Justice Resources
  • Member Updates: Building Pathways Graduates Celebrated in Worcester, Sec. Jones visits MassHire Boston Career Center
  • News From Around the Sector: Jobs, funding, news and updates
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Dear MWA Members, Colleagues, and Friends:

It is with mixed emotions that I write to announce my departure as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Workforce Association on March 1st. In the almost 4.5 years I have been at MWA, I have worked with all of you to increase critical state funding for workforce development, build new partnerships, and highlight the great work of workforce organizations across the Commonwealth.

MWA is in a strong position and I'm excited about the work ahead for this association. Raija Vaisanen, MWA's current associate director, will assume the interim executive director role. I want to thank each and every one of you for your support, passion, and commitment to our Commonwealth's workforce system. I won't be going far and look forward to sharing news about my next steps in the coming weeks.


Tonja Mettlach

State Public Policy
State House

Administration Files $859M Tax Plan

Yesterday, ahead of Governor Healey's first budget proposal which is due on March 1st, the Healey-Driscoll Administration released details of the proposed tax package they are filing. The nearly $750M tax relief package would reshape more than a dozen current tax credits or incentives, while creating some entirely new ones. According to the tax brief released by the Administration, this tax proposal would cost the state $859M in FY24, with a net cost of $742M.

This proposal includes many of the tax credits in last year's economic development bill that the House and Senate removed in the final version of the compromised bill. It is unclear how the House and Senate will react to this proposal this session. The bill will first move to the House for consideration and will likely follow a similar timeline of the budget, if not longer, for this proposal to move through the committee process.

House and Senate Unveil Committee Assignments

Earlier this month House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka announced leadership and committee assignments for this legislative session. You can view the House leadership and committee assignments here and the Senate leadership and committee assignments here.

We are thrilled to be welcoming back Senator Jehlen and Representative Cutler as Chairs of the Joint Committee of Labor and Workforce Development!

MA to Cover Costs of GED and HiSET Tests

On February 9th, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced that the state will now cover the full cost of Massachusetts residents' initial GED and HiSET tests in each subject, plus two retakes.

By covering the cost of testing, DESE is working to ensure test fees are no longer a barrier to those who are unable to obtain a high school credential through traditional means. You can learn more here.

2023 Unemployment and Economic Analysis

Preliminary January 2023 and revised 2022 unemployment rate, labor force, and job estimates will be released on March 10th.

Mass Taxpayers Foundation Releases 2023-2024 Legislative Session Previews

The Mass Taxpayers Foundation developed 11 policy previews on key issues to help policymakers and the public understand the organization's priorities and the current state of certain major policy areas that impact residents and businesses throughout the Commonwealth. Issues include Early Education, Workforce, Climate, and Taxes. Click here to learn more and view each.

Labor Market and Economic News

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.D.1668, An Act relative to the creation of an advisory group on minority workers and business enterprises, Representative Cahill

Bill Summary: This bill would establish an advisory group for the purpose of promoting and making recommendations relative to the measures necessary for developing the business enterprises and workforce necessary to support and achieve the goals for expanded participation of minority and women workers and minority and women business enterprises on public construction projects. The group would consist of:

  • Commissioner of the Div of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance
  • Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development
  • A member appointed by the Chair of the MA Black and Latino Caucus
  • A member appointed by the MA Caucus of Women Legislators
  • President of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council
  • President of the Associated Subcontractors of MA
  • President of the Building Trades Employers Association
  • President of the Associated Subcontractors of MA
  • President of the Construction Industries of MA
  • President of the Utility Contractors Association of NE
  • President of the MA AFL-CIO
  • President of the MA Minority Contractors Association
  • President of the National Association of Women and Construction
  • President of the MA Association of Community Colleges
  • Executive Director of the MA Association of Vocational Administrators.

To learn more about this legislation click here.

Federal Public Policy

Updates From D.C.

Both the House and Senate returned to Washington yesterday.

Each year, the House Appropriations Labor-H Subcommittee holds a public hearing where organizations can request to testify in support of requested funding for FY24 appropriations, or submit written testimony for the record. Requests to testify in person are due by March 3rd, and written testimony is due by March 23rd. The guidelines are posted here. In the Senate, FY24 Labor Appropriations funding requests and earmarks are due to the Senate Labor-H Subcommittee by April 13th.

DOL Updates

Last week it was announced that U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh would be leaving the Biden-Harris Administration in mid-March to lead the National Hockey League Players' Association. Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su will take over DOL as Acting Secretary upon Walsh's departure.

We thank Secretary of Walsh for his years of service to Boston, our Commonwealth, and the Country. While we will miss having a friend of workforce at DOL, we wish him the best of luck in his next endeavor!

National Skills Coalition 2023 Skills Summit Registration Open

Join MWA and other workforce development leaders from around the country to learn more about the latest federal and state workforce development policies and programs. The Skills Summit takes place May 1-3 in Washington, D.C. Click here for more information and to register.


March Workforce Webinar: Exploring Labor Market Information Tools with the MA Department of Economic Research

Join MWA on Thursday, March 16th at 11AM for our next Workforce Webinar Professional Learning Session. We will hear from the Massachusetts Department of Economic Research about their updated website and tools for analyzing your local labor market. Click here to register.

Say Hello to MWA at the NEWN Conference on 3/17

Wish us luck on St. Patrick's Day as MWA sponsors and holds down a table at the 12th New England Workforce Network Conference on Friday, March 17th at the Kitteridge Center at Holyoke Community College. This year's theme is Reimagining the Workforce. Click here to learn more about the event and register. This year there are virtual and in-person options to attend.

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.

Revised MWA 2023 Calendar and Save the Date for the 2023 MA Jobs and Workforce Summit

MWA was so excited for this coming year, we forgot to change some dates in our calendar from 2022! Here is the latest draft of our annual calendar, including several of our Growing Equity Series webinars for 2023. You can also keep up with us by checking out the calendar on our website here.

The Workforce Solutions Group is excited to announce that the 2023 MA Jobs and Workforce Summit will be held on October 26th. Save the date!

MWA at the Worcester Business Journal 2023 Economic Forecast Forum

MWA's Associate Director, Raija Vaisanen, was invited to join a panel discussion following an Economic Presentation by the UMass Amherst Donahue Institute's Mark Melnik at the 2023 WBJ Economic Forecast Forum in Worcester on February 7th. Raija joined Charran Fisher of Fisher Contracting, and Paul Sellow of Little Leaf Farms to discuss the current labor market in Central Mass and the challenges and opportunities businesses are facing in the region and state. Raija offered insight into the current Healey-Driscoll Administration's workforce and economic development priorities and the new legislative session. You can view the slides from the Mark's keynote presentation here.

MassHire Central Region Celebrates Building Pathways Graduation

On February 16th, Worcester Mayor Joe Petty and City Manager Eric Batista spoke at the Building Pathways Graduation ceremony, which was organized by MassHire Central Region and Worcester Jobs Fund staff led by Director Arianna Drummy. Congratulations to the graduates entering into great new careers!

Secretary Jones Visits MassHire Boston Career Center

Last week, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Lauren Jones visited MassHire Boston Career Center at Morgan Memorial Goodwill in Roxbury. We look forward to working with Secretary Jones and our members to help Massachusetts residents and businesses thrive.


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:

  • Job Opportunity: The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development is hiring the Executive Director of the MassHire State Workforce Board. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • Job Opportunity: The US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration is hiring a Supervisory Program Manager for the Boston Regional Office. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • Funding Opportunity: The Massachusetts Department of Youth Services seeks responses for Skill Up: Career, Technical, and Workforce Training and Employment Services. DYS seeks proposals from vocational and higher education, unions, businesses, nonprofit and community based organizations and other entities that can provide high-quality career, technical, workforce training and employment programs and services for DYS youth in residential and community settings. Click here to learn more and apply.
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