Over the past quarter, many projects and programs have been completed or have made significant progress. As of December 31, 2011, over 380 projects have been fully completed. The following are some highlights from Recovery Act projects that were completed between October 1 and December 31, 2011. For more information on individual projects and programs, and to see stories from the past two years of economic recovery in Massachusetts, please visit www.mass.gov/recovery
- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided over $110 million to low income housing projects through the Tax Credit Exchange (TC-X) program. Twenty projects throughout the Commonwealth have used these funds to maintain, rehabilitate and construct adequate affordable housing in over 1,200 rental units. Such projects included the construction of 48 units reserved for low-income families in Powder House Village, in Ipswich. TC-X also funded the United Front project in New Bedford which renovated 138 housing units and constructed 35 additional units. An estimated 4,889 residents will be housed in all of the units supported by these funds. The TC-X funds have also provided jobs to more than 3,500 people over the course of the program.
- The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education funded various initiatives through the Education of Children with Disabilities fund. These included consultations to special education teachers and specialists for providing special education services to students with developmental disabilities and monthly training meetings in order to meet the behavioral and emotional needs of preschoolers in inclusive settings. In addition, over $280 million was used to provide quality special education to children. There have been over 170,000 direct beneficiaries from this program, including children, their families, and childcare providers. These recipients have benefited from the availability of increased access to special education and care, and access to training and mentoring services.
- The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund provided state institutions of higher education, excluding UMass, with $170 million in funding, including $88 million for the state’s 15 community colleges. These funds have helped to mitigate the effects of economic downturn, and have been used to renovate and modernize school facilities. For example, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy used their award for a campus decentralization project and a new HVAC unit for the gymnasium, both of which were completed this past quarter.
- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided over $6 million for the Vocational Rehabilitation Basic Support Services (VRBSS) as part of a statewide workforce investment plan. It provided citizens with disabilities with the resources and training necessary to engage in gainful employment. Persons with disabilities were offered industry-specific On-The-Job training, and were later successfully employed in a variety of occupations including work as an EMT, GIS Analyst and Marketing Representative. The project also provided 45 computers and 26 scanners to be used for vocational training at several training centers throughout the state. The VRBSS also helped fund a youth leadership forum at Bridgewater State College and various youth summer employment programs in Boston, Springfield, and Worcester. The project has directly benefited over 3,025 individuals.