Labor and Workforce Highlights in FY'23 budget

7002-0012: Job Program for At-Risk Youth (YouthWorks)

The Conference Committee’s budget provides $28.3 Million to YouthWorks. This program is administered by the Department of Career Services and provides subsidized job opportunities for low-income and at-risk youth aged 14-25 in over 40 cities across the Commonwealth. This appropriation is in addition to the $25 million the legislature provided utilizing ARPA funds, which will be used to increase the age cut-off from 21 to 25 and expand its offerings to provide job opportunities beyond the summer months. $4.3 million increase over the FY2022 Budget.


7003-0803: MassHire Career Centers

This budget provides $15 Million for MassHire Career Centers which serve every community in the Commonwealth. They are a vital link for employers, workers and jobseekers, and assist with counseling, training, and referrals for reskilling opportunities. The budget also provides over $2 Million in additional funding to the Department of Career Services for the purposes of maintaining and upgrading career center computer systems statewide. $5.5 million increase over the FY2022 Budget.


1595-1075: Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund

This budget provides $17 Million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund. This program funds occupational training opportunities for workers with limited or no connection to the labor force, with a focus on industries where there is a high demand for new workers. Level Funded with the FY2022 Budget.


7002-1091: Career Technical Institutes

This budget provides more than $20.4 Million to support the continued growth of the Career Technical Initiative, an innovative plan to expand access to vocational technical education for high school students and adults. Career Technical Institutes build out credentialing pathways in high-demand technical and trade fields to retrain and grow the workforce. These funds enable CTI vocational programs to provide additional separate shifts of classes, allowing community members to take advantage of these programs outside traditional hours of work and school, as well as during the day. $5 million increase over the FY2022 Budget.


7003-0606: Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership

This budget provides $2 Million for the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The MassMEP is a collaborative center comprised of government, business, and academic partners that consults with small and medium sized manufacturers to support their operation. MassMEP provides services focused around helping manufacturing firms with operational matters, workforce strategies, and innovative growth opportunities. Level funded with FY2022 Budget.


7002-0040: Small Business Technical Assistance Grants

This budget provides $32 Million for Small Business Technical Assistance Grants. These grants are administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation and provided to community organizations across the Commonwealth to fund technical assistance or training programs for small businesses. These funds continue the Legislature’s commitment to supporting the small businesses that keep our communities vibrant. $25 million is targeted towards businesses that are minority-owned, women-owned, or veteran-owned, or are focused on reaching underserved markets. $25 million increase over the FY2022 Budget.


7003-0150: Demonstration Workforce Development Program

This budget provides $3.75 Million for the Demonstration Workforce Development program. This program is an initiative administered through the Commonwealth Corporation, focused on improving workforce outcomes among individuals returning to the workforce after a period of incarceration. $1.25 million increase over the FY2022 Budget.


7003-0105: Department of Economic Research

This budget provides $600,000 to support the Department of Economic Research, as it builds out its staff to continue providing the much-needed workforce data and projections for the benefit of policymakers, workers, and employers. New budget item.


RELEVANT OUTSIDE SECTIONS

7061-9805 and SECTION 10: Tomorrow’s Educators

This budget revives the Tomorrow's Educators program with an allocation of $7.5 million. This program provides reimbursement for tuition, fees, and additional costs such as room and board for students at Massachusetts public colleges and universities who commit to teaching in a state public school for 4 years. Part of this will also be an outreach plan to attract individuals from underrepresented populations. Educational services are currently around 10,000 workers below pre-pandemic levels, and teacher turnover in the state has been at least 15% higher over the last two years compared to 2019. New budget item.


SECTION 80: Paid Family and Medical Leave Adjustment

This budget provides a technical fix to the state’s paid family and medical leave law. Current law allows workers receiving paid leave through the state plan to utilize an employer paid family or medical leave or temporary disability leave policy to supplement their benefits up to their average weekly wage. This means that employers cannot provide an option for workers to utilize other benefits such as earned sick time or earned vacation time to “top-off” their weekly benefit. Employers that previously provided higher rates of wage replacement than the state’s program are in a position where they can either reduce the benefits available to their employees or opt-out of the state program to instead offer a private plan. Making this change will allow for other kinds of wage replacement programs to be used by employees to fill in the gap between their weekly benefit and the average weekly wage they had been receiving.


SECTION 148: Health Care Worker CNA Certification Pilot

This budget creates a new pilot program establishes a pilot program targeted towards helping incumbent health workers obtain CNA certification. The Commonwealth is currently facing shortages in its care workforce, putting a greater strain on existing care workers. To help alleviate these problems and improve access to the credentials necessary for better paying work opportunities, this budget seeks to create a new CNA pilot. Paid training will be offered to existing health care workers, and provided in a way to accommodate individuals who need greater flexibility due to time constraints.


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