In This Issue:

  • State and Federal Policy Updates: FY24 Budget Conference Committee Releases Budget, June Unemployment Analysis, State Legislation of Interest, Re-Entry and WCTF Grant Announcements, Congress Disagrees on Workforce Appropriations, Treasury Report Details ARPA Economic Impact
  • MWA Updates: Racial Justice Resources, WSG Jobs and Workforce Summit Save the Date, Growing Equity Series Debrief
  • Member Updates: MassHire North Shore Career Center Redesign, MassHire Downtown Boston Career Center Opens Youth Career Center, MassHire Greater Lowell Workforce Board Receives Re-Entry Training Grant, VOA-Mass Op-Ed
  • News From Around the Sector: Jobs, funding, news and updates
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State Public Policy
State House

FY24 Budget Conference Committee Comes to Agreement

One day after approving a second one-month budget for August, the FY24 Budget Conference Committee announced that it had come to an agreement and that votes on the final budget would be planned for today, July 31st. Click here for the conference committee report. Governor Healey signed the one month budget to make sure government operations run smoothly while her office has ten days to review the FY24 budget after it comes out of the legislature.

See here for an updated MWA budget sheet with additional details. Some priority workforce development funding line items include:

  • $5.96M for Career Centers ($6.01M w/earmarks)
  • $15.37M for Career Technical Institutes (CTI)
  • $20M for WCTF
  • $22.3M for YouthWorks ($22.2M w/earmarks)
  • $7.5M for Connecting Activities ($7.8M w/earmarks)
  • $300K for Learn to Earn 
  • $3M for Manufacturing (EOHED line item)
  • $2.5M Re-Entry Demonstration ($2.75M w/earmarks)

The $56.2 billion budget does not include a final tax reform agreement, but did set aside $581M for tax relief. The final bill includes a Senate proposed provision to allow students without immigration status to qualify for in-state tuition rates and state financial aid at public colleges and universities, if they attended high school in Massachusetts for at least 3 years or obtained their GED here. The bill also divides $1B from the state's new surtax on income over $1M, using $523M for education (including $20M for MassReconnect) and $477M for transportation. The agreement also allocates a total of $475M for Commonwealth Cares for Children (C3) grants to support early education and care, and funding for universal free school meals.

MWA thanks the Senate President, the House Speaker, Chairman Michlewitz, Chairman Rodrigues, Senator Jehlen, and Representative Cutler for their support of workforce development in this year's budget.

June 2023 Unemployment Rate and Economic Analysis

On July 21st, the state released the unemployment rate for June and the revised rate for May 2023. Click here to read the 7/21 state press release. Massachusetts' June rate declined 0.2 of a percentage point from May's revised rate (2.8%) to 2.6 percent, 1.0 percentage point below the national rate for June (3.6%). The MA labor force participation rate dropped to 64.6 percent, down 0.7 of a percentage point from the prior year (June 2022). The labor force decreased by 7,400 from May 2023. Over the year, June 2022 to June 2023, the state gained 96,200 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 May were released on 7/25. The most recent local press release can be found 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. 3009 An Act Creating a Workforce Skills Cabinet Supporting Pathways to Success

Co-sponsored by Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development House Chair Josh Cutler, and Rep. Kate Lipper-Garabedian, this bill would put the Workforce Skills Cabinet in statute, rather than leaving it up to a Governor's administration to continue convening the policy coordinating body that was originally created under the Patrick Administration in 2011 and has been continued through both subsequent administrations. The bill expands the membership of the Skills Cabinet to include the commissioners of elementary and secondary education and higher education, the chair of the State Workforce Board, the executive director of MWA, and appointments by the Governor including three business representatives, three labor representatives, two representatives of the future workforce (educators or parents of school age students), and three representatives of college and career readiness or workforce development stakeholder groups. The bill also establishes an Executive Director position to staff the skills cabinet and outlines reporting requirements. Click here to view the bill text.

Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces Re-Entry and Donnelly Success Training Grant (WCTF) Awards, Releases FY23 Re-Entry Legislative Report

Two important state-funded training grant programs managed by Commonwealth Corporation had awards announced earlier this month: $2.5M in Re-Entry Workforce Training Grants and $3.5M in Sen. Kenneth J. Donnelly Workforce Success Grants (aka Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund). Fourteen organizations across Massachusetts plan to prepare at total of 287 returning citizens for success in the labor market through careers in fields like hospitality, clean energy, and manufacturing. An estimated 454 unemployed and underemployed individuals will receive training and employment support for careers in hospitality, food service, and health care by seven partnerships. Click here for the Re-Entry Workforce Training press release and here for the WCTF press release.

Commonwealth Corporation also published the FY23 Re-Entry Workforce Development Demonstration Grant Legislative Report. Click here to download the report to learn more.

Federal Public Policy

Congress Heads into Summer Recess in Appropriations Deadlock

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its FY24 Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations bill (vote of 26-2). Here is an overview of its funding levels compared to the current FY23 and proposed FY24 House levels. The Senate proposal is in line with current FY23 levels primarily, and puts the workforce development related budget items in much better position than the House proposal. The House's bill is unlikely to advance as is, given its dramatic cuts.

One major difference between the two bills is the House Labor, HHS, Education Committee elimination of the entire WIOA Youth program. Some Republican members believe that by eliminating the WIOA Youth Program funding through Perkins-CTE and YouthBuild will be sufficient to support this population. Without the WIOA Youth program, the most vulnerable youth will lose access to important services including career exploration, resume building, career counseling, navigation, etc. In Massachusetts, these federal dollars are often braided with Connecting Activities and YouthWorks state funding to serve young people with a full range of employment and education services and supports. MWA is working with colleagues from across the country to advocate for strong and stable WIOA funding, including the WIOA Youth program.

To read more about the overall appropriations deadlock and its implications, click here for New York Times coverage (may be subject to a paywall).

US Treasury Releases New Data Showing Economic Impact of ARPA Investments

State and local fiscal recovery data through March 31st shows that American Rescue Plan funding did more than just prevent immediate cuts to government services and fund emergency COVID recovery needs. Resources also helped support long-term investment in housing, workforce, and small businesses. Click here to read more.

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.

Growing Equity Webinar Series Debrief

Thank you to all those who attended one or more of our second annual Growing Equity Series webinars. We held a debrief with those who attended and received some great ideas for future webinars and how to support workforce professionals and leaders. Here are just a few:

  • Recordings and transcriptions of webinars could be helpful for follow-up conversations with colleagues after the webinar.
  • Informal peer-learning opportunities would be helpful to understand what strategies different organizations are trying, and even to simply share ideas, challenges, or progress.
  • Are there ways to create more learning communities so that when staff change, learning and ideas aren't lost?

MWA is always interested in your feedback and suggestions! Email us here.

MassHire North Shore Career Center Celebrates Redesign

The MassHire North Shore Career Center, located in downtown Salem, celebrated the redesign of its Career Center earlier this month. Local elected officials, community partners, and state officials joined the celebration, appreciating the new human-centered design, which incorporates concepts to make the space more welcoming and accessible for job seekers, businesses, and staff. Click here to read local press coverage of the event, and here for a blog post by the Exec. Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

MassHire Downtown Boston Opens Youth Career Center

The MassHire Downtown Boston Career Center, operated by JVS-Boston, celebrated the opening of its new Youth Career Center this month. The dedicated space includes virtual reality head sets that young people can use to explore what different jobs in a variety of industries are really like. Colleagues from the City of Boston, Boston area community-based organizations, workforce development partners, and staff all joined the celebration.

MassHire Greater Lowell Workforce Board Receives Re-Entry Workforce Training Grant

MassHire Greater Lowell Workforce Board received a $200K grant to partner with the Billerica House of Correction to offer training to returning citizens in fields like social services and manufacturing. Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Lauren Jones announced the grant awards at MassHire Lowell Career Center, where Lowell Mayor Sokhary Chau joined with other local partners for the event. Click here for the press release and here for a video of the Secretary's remarks at the event.

Volunteers of America Massachusetts Op-Ed: Finishing the Job on Veteran Homelessness

Volunteers of America-Massachusetts President and CEO Charles Gagnon and Chief Medical Officer Samata Sharma had an op-ed published in Commonwealth Magazine emphasizing the important role that trauma-informed support services, including behavioral health, primary care, and employment services, play in the success of re-homed veterans. Click here to read more.


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 just sample of the events, funding opportunities, jobs, and more posted on our website:

  • Job Opportunity: Massachusetts Clean Energy Center is hiring a Deputy Director for Workforce Development. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • Job Opportunity: The MassHire Metro North Career Center operated by ABCD is hiring an Assistant Career Center Manager for its Chelsea location. Click here to learn more and apply.
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