In This Issue:

  • State and Federal Policy Updates: Senate FY24 Budget, Unemployment and Economic Analysis, Federal Debt Limit Deal, Investing in America Agenda, ETA 2030 Vision
  • MWA Updates: Racial Justice Resources, MWA Growing Equity Webinar Series Session 2 Recap, NSC Skills Summit Recap
  • Member Updates: Digital Equity Summit, MassHire Lowell Success Story Video, Boston Health Care Careers Consortium event recap
  • News From Around the Sector: Jobs, funding, news and updates
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State Public Policy
State House

Senate Files FY24 Budget

On May 9th, the Senate Ways and Means (SWM) Committee released its FY24 Budget (click here to read our summary). After two weeks of amendment filing and discussion, the full Senate voted unanimously on the evening of May 25th to approve their final FY24 budget. The $55.9B spending bill sets aside $575M from a still yet to be released Senate tax relief proposal. The final bill increased by $82.2M from the original SWM version and did not include online lottery sales legalization or funding for continuation for free school meals. Though several amendments to increase workforce development line items were submitted, only one was accepted in the final budget, increasing the Advanced Manufacturing Training Line Item (7003-0020) from $2.5M to $3M. This means that the differences between House and Senate budget versions, including how to divide up $1B in anticipated income tax revenue from the Fair Share Amendment, will have to be negotiated through conference committee. Click here to view MWA's FY23 budget priority line items. We will keep you updated as the state budget process continues, including MWA's advocacy when the conference committee is assembled.

April 2023 Unemployment Rate and Economic Analysis

On May 19th, the state released the unemployment rate for April and the revised rate for March 2023. Click here to read the 5/19 state press release. Massachusetts' April rate declined 0.2 of a percentage point from March to 3.3 percent, 0.1 percentage point below the national rate for April (3.4%). The MA labor force participation rate dropped to 64.9 percent, down 0.5 of a percentage point from the prior year (April 2022). The labor force decreased by 2,200 from March 2023. Since the employment low at the beginning of the pandemic (April 2020), Massachusetts has gained 697,600 jobs. The largest over the year gains occurred in Education and Health Services; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; and Leisure and Hospitality.

Click here to read the most recent state press release. Local unemployment estimates for April were released on 5/23. The most recent local press release can be found here.

Economic Analysis

On May 18th, MassBenchmarks released their quarterly Benchmarks Bulletin comparison of the Commonwealth's GDP to the nation. State GDP slowed in Q1 of 2023 to 0.1% growth compared to 1.1% growth for the U.S. overall, driven largely by weaker consumer spending locally in the first quarter and uneven employment growth across major MA industries. Senior Contributing Editor and Professor Emeritus of Economics and Public Policy at Northeastern University, Alan Clayton-Matthews is quoted saying: "Part of the decline in Massachusetts in the first quarter may be related to the volatility and timing of withholding tax receipts. Both the finance and high technology sectors are important sources of bonus income for workers in those industries, and the declining stock market last year and cost-cutting in the technology sector may help to explain a significant portion of the decline in wage and salary income observed at the state level in the first quarter." Click here for the full analysis.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston held a "Fed Listens" session on 5/31 inviting a diverse group of leaders representing each New England state to discuss Transitioning to the Post-Pandemic Economy. Briefing material for the conversation included this analysis of the New England labor market. For more on the event, click here.

Federal Public Policy

Debt Limit Compromise Up for Vote

President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy negotiated a compromise proposal last weekend called the Fiscal Responsibility Act to raise the federal debt ceiling through 2025. If passed, the act will freeze domestic federal spending levels (including programs like workforce development) to FY23 levels, allowing for only a 1% increase in FY25. It will also increase the age of able-bodied adults without dependents who are required to work to receive SNAP benefits to 54 by 2025 and increases reporting requirements for work-eligible individuals receiving TANF. The bill will claw back $28B in unspent pandemic aid and also reduce new funding for the IRS by $20B to $60B. The bill is generally expected to pass in time to avoid default. Last night the House passed the bill; now it moves to the Senate, and once passed there will move to the President's desk for signature. Click here for a Washington Post summary of the bill (may be subject to paywall).

White House Announces Investing in America and Roadmap to Support Good Jobs Strategies

This month, the White House and U.S. Department of Labor announced several strategies and funding opportunities to advance its goals for creating over 9 million good jobs and supporting the implementation of its investments in infrastructure, clean energy, transportation, manufacturing, and more through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. The Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs Grant program offers $80M to fund worker-centered sector strategies across a wide array of careers and sectors. The Strategies to Train and Connect American Workers to Jobs Created by the President's Investing in America Agenda builds off of a roadmap to support good jobs and announces the development of the first regional workforce hubs across 5 focus regions in Phoenix, AZ; Columbus, OH; Baltimore, MD; Augusta, GA; and Pittsburgh, PA to support key industries connected with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. It also announces a national Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Sprint and Good Jobs, Great Cities Academy. Click here to view the fact sheet with these announcements.

U.S. DOL Employment & Training Administration Hold 2030 Vision Convening

Earlier this month, ETA held a 3 day 2030 Vision Convening focused on how to make the Biden-Harris Administration's Invest in America agenda a reality for American workers. Over 500 workforce development stakeholders from labor, business, state and local workforce development, education, and training organizations gathered to build partnerships and strategize. Click here for five takeaways from the event.

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.

MWA Growing Equity Webinar Series - Join us for the last in our upcoming webinar series! Link to register:


National Skills Coalition 2023 Skills Summit Recap

Between May 1st and May 3rd workforce development leaders, professionals, funders, and advocates from around the country met to discuss the necessary policies and programs that can lead to an equitable and resilient workforce system. From Massachusetts, MWA was joined by colleagues from Northern Essex Community College, Bunker Hill Community College, the Boston PIC, JVS-Boston, and SkillWorks, in visiting the offices of many of our state's Congressional leaders and telling them both about the importance of workforce development funding and policy, and also giving them updates on how Massachusetts communities are leading in the development of strong local sector partnerships, and working to expand job quality. Click here for a summary of NSC's WIOA recommendations and here for a summary of the entire summit.

2023 MWA Growing Equity Webinar Series:

Building a More Inclusive and Just Workforce System

Missed our April webinar? No problem! You can still join MWA for our virtual series to help us build a more inclusive and just workforce system. MWA believes we have a role to play in developing a more equitable and just workforce development system in Massachusetts. In this second year of our Growing Equity webinar series, we will host 4 virtual sessions between April and July. While we hope participants will join us for all of the sessions, there is no requirement to do so. Here are our upcoming webinars:

Goals of the Growing Equity Series:

  • Participants learn how workers can benefit from education about their rights in the workplace and why worker voice matters.
  • Participants learn more about the mindset and process of human-centered design, understand the impact it can have on workforce service delivery via case studies, and consider redesigning services within their own organizations.
  • Participants understand the state budget process, how decisions on funding are made, particularly in relation to workforce development, and why the state budget can be considered a moral document.
  • Participants come away with actionable steps for their organizations and some vision and input into how MWA can continue to advance this work.

Growing Equity Session 2 Recap: Using Human Centered Design to (Re)Design our Services, Systems, and Structures

On May 17th, MWA held its second Growing Equity webinar focused on Human Centered Design and workforce development. Ellen Johnson and Kaitlyn McGovern, leaders with experience from Detroit and Chicago who now work with Afton Partners, led our conversation and shared how a seemingly simple question, "How might we..." can lead to thoughtful new approaches and solutions to serving customers. We also discussed how HCD concepts can be used to dismantle systems of racial inequity and oppression. Shannon Norton of MassHire Lowell Career Center and Paul Ventresca of MassHire North Shore Career Center, with their teams, shared their experiences using the approach at their organizations and how it transformed the way they work both within their organizations, but also with their partners and customers.

Click here to register for our next webinar on June 22nd looking at the State Budget as a policy tool for advancing racial justice.

Click here to register

MassHire Lowell Career Center Success Story

MassHire Lowell Career Center helps individuals with disabilities find good jobs through the Ticket to Work program. Click the video to the right to hear Lindsay's story.

Boston Health Care Careers Consortium Co-Hosts Health Pathways Event

The Boston Health Care Careers Consortium, led by the Boston PIC, in partnership with MassINC, the Mass Business Alliance for Education, Mass General Brigham, and the Massachusetts Alliance for Early College, held an in-person event on May 23rd, Tapping the Power of Health Pathways in Early College, to showcase the success that early college programs across the Commonwealth are having for both young people and businesses. MassINC released research showing that these programs can lead to scalable and longer term successful outcomes for those who participate. Click here for an event recap.


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 Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology is hiring a Strategic Partnerships Assistant Director. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • Job Opportunity: Commonwealth Corporation is hiring for the Director of the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • Funding Opportunity: The Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce has released funding for the STEM Talent Challenge. The deadline to apply is June 12th. Click here to learn more.
  • Funding Opportunity: The Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce has released a $500M funding opportunity authorized through the CHIPS Act for Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs. Click here to learn more. The phase 1 deadline to apply is August 15th.

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