Dear MWA Members and Workforce Development Colleagues,

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, and Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. University of North Carolina that effectively means that race can no longer be used as a factor in higher education admissions. While we are incredibly disappointed by this ruling, we join the Healey-Driscoll Administration and the many advocacy organizations, elected officials, and higher education leaders who announced clearly today that Massachusetts has "an imperative to make sure our schools reflect our communities. Our academic competitiveness, the future of our workforce, and our commitment to equity demand we take action." Our Commonwealth undoubtedly has work to do, but we will not let this decision deter us from that work.


Raija Vaisanen

MWA Executive Director

In This Issue:

  • State and Federal Policy Updates: FY24 Budget in Conference Committee, Unemployment and Economic Analysis, MassTalent Announcement, MBI Digital Equity Survey, New BEAD Funding
  • MWA Updates: Racial Justice Resources, MWA Growing Equity Webinar Series Session 3 Recap, CORE Retirement Plan for Small Nonprofits, Welcome New MWA Assoc. Director
  • Member Updates: YouthWorks Summer Jobs Awards, Southeast Region Awarded WCTF Grant for CDL Training
  • News From Around the Sector: Jobs, funding, news and updates
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State Public Policy
State House

FY24 Budget Still in Conference

On June 1st, the final House and Senate FY24 budget proposals were sent to a six member conference committee to work out the differences. The two final budgets, H.3901 and S.2400 will be reconciled by Representatives Michlewitz, Ferrante, and Smola and Senators Rodrigues, Friedman, and O'Connor. The conference committee began meeting on June 7th, however this week Lieutenant Governor Driscoll signed a one-month interim budget bill to keep the state funded through July and lawmakers ended sessions Thursday for the weekend without an agreement.

MWA sent a letter to the conference committee earlier this month urging members of the committee to support our priority workforce development funding line items, in addition to delivering strong investments in early education and child care. You can view the letter here. We will continue to keep you posted as the budget process continues into July.

May 2023 Unemployment Rate and Economic Analysis

On June 16th, the state released the unemployment rate for May and the revised rate for April 2023. Click here to read the 6/16 state press release. Massachusetts' May rate declined 0.3 of a percentage point from April's revised rate (3.1%) to 2.8 percent, 0.9 percentage point below the national rate for May (3.7%). The MA labor force participation rate dropped to 64.7 percent, down 0.7 of a percentage point from the prior year (May 2022). The labor force decreased by 3,800 from April 2023. Since the employment low at the beginning of the pandemic (April 2020), Massachusetts has gained 704,100 jobs. The largest over the year gains occurred in Education and Health Services; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; and Government.

Click here to read the most recent state press release. Local unemployment estimates for May were released on 6/20. The most recent local press release can be found here.

Change in Maximum UI Benefit Weeks

When the 12 month average unemployment rate in MA across all of its metropolitan areas reaches at or below 5.1%, state law mandates that the maximum number of weeks of unemployment benefits that a new claimant can receive drop from 30 weeks to 26 weeks. The last time this adjustment occurred was March of 2019. It will apply to all new claimants who apply for benefits after July 2nd. To learn more, read the press release from EOLWD here.

Economic Analysis

On June 21st, MassBenchmarks released Notes from the Board. The convening of regional economists and labor market experts found "mixed messages" in the economy. On the plus side, there have been unexpected payroll employment and labor force gains, particularly in construction. On the minus side, GDP has slowed and significant risks remain like inflation, financial sector exposure to a commercial real estate glut, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the potential for a downturn in China. Click here for the full analysis.

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. 3849 An Act Relative to a Four-Day Work Week Pilot Program

Co-sponsored by Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development House Chair Josh Cutler, Rep. Dylan Fernandes, and Rep. Carmine Gentile, this bill would create a voluntary "Massachusetts Smart Work Week Pilot" where employers that choose to participate would receive a tax credit for keeping their workers at the same rate of pay while shifting to a four day work week. The pilot is intended to be accessible by a variety of businesses, particularly those run by women, people of color, veterans, or individuals with disabilities. CA and MD legislatures are considering similar bills. Click here to read more about the bill in press coverage of the legislation and here for the bill text.

New State Website Launched to Connect Businesses to Skilled Workers

Governor Healey announced several initiatives at the BIO International Convention earlier this month to support high growth industries like the life sciences, clean energy, and advanced manufacturing. The Administration released a new online "front door" for businesses looking to connect to public support for hiring skilled talent called MassTalent. The website leads businesses to their local MassHire, Market Makers, and Upskilling Navigators. Governor Healey also committed to reauthorizing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and investing $2M in a new training initiative called Pathmaker. It includes training program tracks in biomanufacturing, advanced medtech manufacturing, and quality assurance/quality control. Click here to read the press release.

Help MA Broadband Institute Improve Digital Equity for MA Residents

The Mass Broadband Institute is looking for your input! They want to make sure they are taking residents' needs and concerns into account as they prepare to make investments and offer support across Massachusetts to make Internet for All a reality, and ensure digital equity. Click here to complete the 5 minute survey, which is also available in 9 languages. Please share this survey with your colleagues and customers, as well!

Federal Public Policy

Biden Harris Administration Announces State Allocations for $42.5B High-Speed Internet Grant Program

This week, the Biden-Harris Administration announced its "Internet for All" funding allocations for all 50 states. This initiative is part of the President's Invest in America agenda. Each state will receive a portion of the $42.5 Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) funding, which is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Massachusetts will receive $147.4M. The BEAD funding will be used to deploy or upgrade broadband networks within states to ensure that all residents have access to reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet. Once deployment goals are met, remaining funding can be used to pursue eligible access-, adoption-, and equity-related uses, including training for digital skills and more. The Mass Broadband Institute, run by MassTech Collaborative, is leading these efforts in Massachusetts. They held the Internet for All: Mass Broadband & Digital Equity Summit earlier this month in Worcester. Click here for a recap and be sure to sign up for updates from them for future funding and other opportunities. Click here to read the press release about the BEAD funding. Next month, we will recap our Annual Meeting where we discussed these funding opportunities with the National Skills Coalition's Amanda Bergson-Shilcock. Keep an eye out for that blog and newsletter!

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.

A 401(k) Opportunity for Small Nonprofits: The Massachusetts 401(k) CORE Plan

MWA is pleased to share the following information with you on the Massachusetts 401(k) "CORE" Plan. MWA has participated in this plan for more than 4 years and has found it incredibly easy to use and to administer. The Office of the State Treasurer sponsors the plan, which is tailored for small nonprofits with 20 or fewer employees. For more information about the CORE Plan, and how you might be eligible for a discount on start-up fees, please contact local representative, Lisa Cardinal, at or 617-510-4036. If you already offer your employees a retirement plan, Lisa can help you compare it to the CORE Plan, too. Click here for more information.

Growing Equity Webinar Recap:The State Budget - A Policy Tool for Advancing Racial Justice

On June 22nd, we held our third session in our 2023 Growing Equity Webinar series. The topic was timely, focusing on the state budget and how we can understand our system of taxes/revenue collection and spending as a reflection of our values as a Commonwealth. Focusing on budget line items that fund important workforce development programs like YouthWorks and the One Stop Career Center Line Item, Jason Wright of MassBudget explained how to learn about the funding history using their Budget Browser.

If you were able to join any of our Growing Equity webinars this spring, keep an eye out for an e-mail inviting you to give us feedback in an informal debrief session on July 20th. If you weren't able to attend, but have suggestions for future webinars, let us know by emailing us here.

MWA Welcomes New Associate Director

On June 12th, Kelly Hanlon joined MWA as our new Associate Director. Kelly has experience in operations, event, and project management, and previously worked for UMass Amherst and TJX Companies. She is excited to join the workforce development community and meet MWA's members. Welcome Kelly!

Unprecedented YouthWorks Investment Announced by Healey-Driscoll Administration

The 16 MassHire Workforce Boards across the Commonwealth work with local partners each summer, and year-round, to design meaningful, paid career readiness and work experiences for local youth. This year, the Healey-Driscoll administration used both state and federal ARPA funds to invest $34M in these YouthWorks programs statewide. This investment will fund an estimated 7,600 young people across the state, building our future workforce and providing opportunities to young people who need it the most. Additionally, with a change in the YouthWorks statute, this will be the first year that YouthWorks programming will be available to young adults age 21-25. Click here to read the press release.

MassHire Greater Brockton Workforce Board Awarded WCTF Grant for high demand CDL Training

MassHire Greater Brockton Workforce Board, in partnership with the Southeast Regional MassHire workforce boards and career centers, was awarded a $350,000 Kenneth J. Donnelly Workforce Success Grant (aka Workforce Competitive Trust Fund (WCTF) Grant) that will train thirty-two un- or underemployed individuals from greater Brockton and the surrounding Southeast Region for jobs that require a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). These individuals will not only receive training, but also support in finding and maintaining employment across a number of employers in the region. Click here to read 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:

  • Job Opportunity: Beth Israel Lahey Health is hiring a Program Manager for Workforce Development. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • Job Opportunity: The City of Boston Office of Workforce Development is hiring an Assistant Deputy Director of Grants and Procurement. Must be a Boston resident within 6 months of hire. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • Funding Opportunity: The U.S. Department of Labor has allocated $15M for Critical Sector Job Quality Grants. Application deadline is July 17th. Click here to learn more.
  • Funding Opportunity: The City of Boston Office of Workforce Development has announced $4M for a Life Sciences Workforce Development Initiative focused on providing career opportunities to underserved and underrepresented communities. Application deadline is July 21st. Click here to learn more.
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