In This Issue:

  • An update from our Interim ED, Valerie Sutton
  • State and Federal Policy Update: State closes FY23 Budget and a message from Tim Sullivan, Liberty Square Group
  • MWA Updates: Racial Justice Resources
  • Member Updates: Worcester Career Center's Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
  • News From Around the Sector: Jobs, funding, news and updates
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A Message from MWA's Interim Executive Director

Dear MWA Members,

I am pleased to provide a brief update on the progress made during my tenure as the Interim Executive Director of the MWA starting on November 6, 2023. This work below is done with great appreciation to Kelly Hanlon! She has shown a remarkable ability to navigate ambiguity and change in a short amount of time. I also appreciate our members' dedication and collaboration during this transition period. The Advocacy Task Force (Greg Bunn, Maura Geary, Lisa Gagnon, Bob Bower, and Charles Gagnon and the Executive Director Search Committee (Chris Albrizio Lee, Maura Geary, Zoie Jaklitsch, Kara Galvin, Emmanuel Owusu) have been engaged and focused on keeping the good work going. Thank you to every one of them for their contributions!

Here are some key highlights:

Executive Director Search:

  • The search for the new Executive Director is well underway. We have formed a dedicated search committee, posted the job, and reviewed candidates. I will keep you updated as we progress through this critical phase.

Operational Transition:

  • The transition of operational responsibilities, including account transfers, website updates, and access to technologies, has been successfully transferred to the appropriate staff. This ensures a smooth and efficient continuation of our day-to-day activities.

Advocacy Taskforce & Academy Update:

  • The Advocacy Taskforce, working closely with Tim Sullivan from Liberty Square Group, has made significant strides. Tim will provide a detailed update, and members are encouraged to read his update for more information on the progress and achievements of the task force.
  • The Advocacy Academy has continued as planned, with solid attendance and engagement from our participants.

Compensation Benchmarking Study:

  • We have completed the first phase of the Compensation Benchmarking Study. This involved a comprehensive review of existing literature, industry reports, and surveys on compensation trends in workforce development, ensuring a solid foundation for our analysis. Additionally, we identified relevant job titles and roles across various levels within the workforce development sector in Massachusetts.
  • The internal equity survey should be ready to send out shortly most likely after the Thanksgiving Holiday.

As we continue to move forward, your support is invaluable. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

All the best,

Valerie Sutton

Interim Executive Director


State Public Policy

Governor Healey Files Supplemental Budget

to Close Fiscal Year 2023

After a show of support and cause for hope, additional funding for MassHire Career Centers remains in legislative limbo, as end-of-session negotiations between the House and Senate failed to produce an FY23 “closeout” supplemental budgetary bill before the holiday recess that lasts into the new year. A “closeout supp,” as it is known, is necessary to officially close the books on a fiscal year. All legislative activity between November 15th and January 2nd, including the necessary closeout supplemental budget, must now be conducted in “informal sessions,” 

meaning that even modest resistance can prevent passage. During informal sessions a matter can be stopped with the objection of merely one legislator in either the House or Senate. Even if legislation passes the House, it can still be stopped by one objection in the Senate. With six weeks remaining until the January 2nd deadline for all financial bills, additional funding authorizations for MassHire remain possible to help deliver services for the workforce elements of the humanitarian migrant crisis which is straining nearly every facet of state government.

Support and hope came in the House version in the form of $5 million broadly prescribed dollars for workforce needs related to the migrant crisis and language in the Senate’s version that called for the transfer of $2 million from the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to the MassHire Career Center line item to assist with the services being demanded of you to serve migrants seeking work authorizations, training and, ultimately, work. Working with then-outgoing Executive Director Raija Vaisanen, we relied heavily on educating and earning the support of key Senators Jo Comerford and Pat Jehlen and their staffs, as well as House Chair of Labor and Workforce Development Josh Cutler and his staff, to impress upon both chambers the need to provide MassHire with more state funding to deliver the services expected of your Career Centers. We will continue monitoring the work of the House-Senate conference committee and advocating to the conferees for the inclusion of the following goals in any final package that seeks to wind its way through informal sessions: $2 million in MassHire Career Center funding, and other tools, such as the House’s language around the $5 million workforce funding.

Ultimately, it will prove an exercise in demonstrating that the more stable and higher the funding received by MassHire, the more stable and higher the quality, reliability, effectiveness and number served will be.

Tim Sullivan

Liberty Square Group

October 2023 Unemployment Rate and Economic Analysis

On November 17th, the state released the unemployment rate for October 2023 and the revised rate for September 2023. Click here to read the 11/17 state press release.  The state’s October total unemployment rate was 2.8 percent, up 0.2 percentage points from the revised September estimate of 2.6 percent, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts lost 800 jobs in October. The largest over-the-month private sector job gains were in Education and Health Services, Other Services, and Construction. From October 2022 to October 2023, BLS estimates Massachusetts gained 77,100 jobs. The largest over-the-year gains occurred in Education and Health Services, Professional, Scientific, and Business Services, and Construction. The state's October unemployment rate of 2.8 percent was 1.1 percentage points lower than the national rate of 3.9 percent reported by BLS.

Racial Justice in Workforce Development Resources

MWA is following the conversation among the workforce development and related communities about how racism and white supremacy influence the field and practice of workforce development. We will continue to use this newsletter to share relevant tools, articles, webinars and resources to support the workforce development community.

Register Today!

Please join us on Wednesday, December 13th for a presentation with the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation (MTF) on their recent reports regarding the state's workforce development system. The presentation will include an overview of the workforce system and overall funding trends, then take a closer look at the largest programs that provide vocational and basic skill training and programs that create talent pipelines to critical sectors.

December 13th: Understanding the State's Workforce Investments

Congratulations to MassHire Worcester Career Center on its Grand Reopening!

On November 2, MassHIre Worcester Career Center and the MassHIre Central Region Workforce Board celebrated a reopening. Local elected officials, community partners, and state officials joined the celebration listening to multiple success stories and appreciating the new design, which incorporates concepts to make the space more welcoming and accessible for job seekers, businesses, and staff.


There are so many job postings and funding announcements, we moved our News from Around the Sector section to our website, where you can access the news, jobs, funding announcements and more anytime throughout the month. Go to:

Here is a just sample of the events, funding opportunities, jobs, and more posted on our website:

  • Job Opportunity: MWA is hiring an Executive Director. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • Job Opportunity: MassHire Hampden County Workforce Board is hiring a new President and CEO. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • Internship Opportunity: MassHire Metro North Workforce Board is hiring for a Communications Intern position. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • Job Opportunity: The City of Boston Office of Workforce Development is hiring an Assistant Deputy Director for Grants Management. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • MA Clean Energy Center RFP for Professional Services Support for Equity Workforce Grantees and Programming - Rolling applications welcome through December 1st. Click here to learn more.
  • Funding Opportunity: MA Clean Energy Center has announced Equity Workforce Planning and Capacity Grants. Click here to learn more and apply. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
  • BEST Hospitality is hiring and Education and Career Specialist. Click here to learn more and apply.

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