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Labor and Workforce Initiatives
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FY09 House 2 Budget Recommendation:
Issues in Brief
Deval L. Patrick, Governor
Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor
The underpinning to a successful Massachusetts economy is a highly skilled and dynamic state workforce, which attracts employers around the world to locate or expand their businesses in the Commonwealth. The State plays an integral role in nurturing the development of the state workforce, from our outstanding primary and secondary education systems, to our public colleges and universities, and, finally, to our targeted investments and programs for employment and training. The FY09 H.2 recommendation builds on investments provided in the FY08 budget and earlier to continue to strengthen our competitive labor force and promote further economic growth.
Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF)
Originally established in 2006, the WCTF provides regional training programs that give workers skills that will qualify them for jobs that employers are seeking to fill and help them advance to self sufficiency. The WCTF has provided grant awards to collaborative training efforts composed of industry and employer groups, local economic development agencies, community-based organizations, and education and training providers. Projects receiving awards are those that develop strong programs to train or retrain employees in key industry sectors and work with employers to assess the necessary skills for Massachusetts workers to remain competitive in today's economy. The H.2 FY09 budget provides $15 million in annually-recurring funding for the WCTF, which was originally capitalized with a one-time $18 million transfer. The FY09 funding would be provided by the Governor's proposal for the Bay State Competitiveness Investment Fund, which would be funded with the first $100 million of FY08 year-end surplus (Outside Section 5).
Youth At-Risk Summer Jobs Expansion
The Governor's H.2 recommendation increases the State funding available to increase public, private, and non-profit employment opportunities for low-income youth between the ages of 14 and 21 by $2.5 million. Total funding available in FY09 for this purpose would be $9.2 million. This funding is a key resource for those communities that have the highest incidence of juvenile delinquency across the Commonwealth. In fact, in 2008 over 20 municipalities received funding that provided more than 2,500 youths in Massachusetts with job opportunities.
Workforce Training System Investments
The H.2 budget continues State funding for two important components of the State's workforce development system: the 32 One-Stop Career Centers ($5.5 million in FY09) and Workforce Training Grants ($21 million in FY09). The One-Stop Centers are the State's regional partners for delivering key federal and State program services to job seekers and incumbent workers looking to improve their skills and opportunities (line item 7003-0803). The Workforce Training Grants provide matching grants for private employers to leverage training programs and initiatives and to continue to make strategic investments in their labor force (line item 7003-0701).
Employment and Labor Law Compliance
As part of the Patrick administration's efforts to ensure that Massachusetts' workers are protected under the State's employment and training laws and regulations, the H.2 budget increases funding in the Division of Occupational Safety by $180,000 (line item 7002-0200). This investment provides for enhanced efforts to ensure that employers comply with standards designed to keep workplaces safe and employees' rights protected. At the same time this initiative will strengthen the state's efforts to deal with employers that are misclassifying employees at the expense of their workers and other employers.
|Labor and Workforce Initiatives|
Summary of New Investments
|Workforce Competitiveness Fund||$15,000,000|
|Expanded Summer Jobs/Youth At-Risk Grants||$2,500,000|
|Employment/Labor Law Compliance||$180,000|
Prepared by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance • Rooms 373 & 272 • State House
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