Labor and Workforce
ARRA funds have been invested in workforce development programs, helping
Increased Unemployment Compensation
The Federal Additional Unemployment Compensation program of $505 million from the Recovery Act has made it possible for thousands of individuals across the Commonwealth to receive an additional $25 per week in unemployment compensation. The Recovery Act has also extended the qualifying time for existing federal unemployment insurance extensions. This has allowed almost 250,000 individuals to receive extended federal unemployment benefits in 2009 and 2010 who otherwise would not have qualified.
Workforce Training and Employment Services
Massachusetts has invested over $64 million in Recovery Act funds for formula grants for the Commonwealth's 16 workforce regions. Some of the programs supported by these funds include Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Recovery Act funds, which have supported summer employment opportunities for over 8,600 youth in the Commonwealth. All of the low-income youth also received work readiness training and education as part of this program. Additionally, over 1,000 high-needs youth, many with physical or mental health-related disabilities, were hired through the Byrne Youth Jobs Program.
Recovery Act funds have also supported employment services under the Wagner-Peyser Act, which benefits employed and unemployed workers seeking to upgrade their skills and obtain jobs. Through the Commonwealth's 37 One-Stop Career Centers, customized services are provided to clients with special needs, including Veterans, individuals with disabilities and unemployment claimants likely to exhaust their benefits. Since the start of the Recovery Act, over 116,000 individuals in the Commonwealth have received services supported by these funds.
National Emergency Grants
National Emergency Grants (NEGs) temporarily expanded the service capacity of Workforce Investment Act Training and Employment programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance to support unexpected economic events which cause significant job losses. These economic events include business closures, mass layoffs and other large-scale events. Through the Recovery Act, the Commonwealth has received four NEGs thus far, totaling $4.8 million - one grant to support displaced workers due to a plant closure, two grants that support workers affected by large-scale layoffs at companies within the financial, information, manufacturing, retail and transportation sectors, and one grant that supports on-the-job training for under-skilled workers at specific companies. Over 1,000 eligible workers will benefit from services supported by these funds.
The Commonwealth was also awarded over $5.9 million in competitive grant funds by the Federal Department of Labor to invest in workforce strategies that train individuals for careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries as well as other green industries. With these funds, the Massachusetts State Energy Sector Partnership Grant (SESP) provides training in the clean energy industry to unemployed and under-employed program participants and is projected to train over 1,100 unemployed, under-employed and incumbent workers by the end of the grant (January 2013). The Massachusetts Energy Sector Partnership is co-convened by the Secretaries of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.