- Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
Media Contact for Massachusetts awarded $2.5 million federal grant to help those affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria
Charles Pearce, Director of Communications, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
Holyoke, MA — Funding will connect recently arrived residents of the Commonwealth to training opportunities in high-demand jobs.
Massachusetts was recently awarded a National Dislocated Worker Grant of $2,588,511 to connect individuals who have lost their employment as a result of hurricanes Irma or Maria to training and educational opportunities that will help them secure high demand jobs in the Commonwealth. Individuals will be able to access services paid through this grant at any Career Center in Massachusetts. Job readiness services will include English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), apprenticeships, job search assistance, and support services such as child care, books, tools, uniforms, and transportation assistance.
The announcement was made at the Holyoke Career Center in Hamden County, which has the largest amount of residents of Puerto Rican decent in Massachusetts. The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development has been working closely with Health and Human Services and the Executive Office of Education on a coordinated response to support those arriving due to the hurricane in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
“Career Center staffs have been co-located at Family Resource Centers and so far over 1300 recently arrived Puerto Ricans have received employment services,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Rosalin Acosta. “Over the past 8 months, our workforce development partners across Massachusetts have worked tirelessly to ensure that those arriving here due to hurricanes Maria and Irma have the employment resources they need to access job opportunities in the Commonwealth.”
The Career Centers have also been coordinating with the Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) to connect individuals who were displaced by the storms and may need licensing assistance. DPL is waiving the Commonwealth’s portion of any fees required for licensure across its 39 boards. DPL is also working with applicants on a case-by-case basis to verify application and licensure documentation and expedite the application process.
In addition to providing workforce training opportunities for those affected by the hurricanes who have moved to Massachusetts, the Department of Career Services recently hosted a delegation of 35 workforce professionals from Puerto Rico as part of a federal Peer to Peer Training and Technical Assistance grant. Members of the Massachusetts and Puerto Rican workforce system met to share best practices on efficient and effective delivery of workforce development services. The delegation included leadership from Puerto Rico’s State and local Workforce Boards, Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Education, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).