(The Center Square) — A new grant program designed to train workers to give them the skills needed to be hired into the job market has been launched, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said.
The Republican leader announced the HireNow program, which will provide $4,000 in an employee program that aims to boost hiring even if labor force participation rates remain below pre-COVID-19 levels.
“Our administration is focused on supporting Massachusetts’ economic growth and getting more people back to work, and the HireNow program is one more tool we have at our disposal to meet employers’ workforce needs and grow our workforce,” Baker said in the statement. “Flexible funds from this program will be distributed quickly to employers to help cover training costs, tuition and other needs. We are grateful to our partners in the Legislative Assembly for allocating the necessary ARPA funds to carry out this program.
Funding for the program, according to Baker, came from the legislature with the appropriation of American Rescue Plan Act dollars.
HireNow should help employers quickly hire workers and train them and get them back to work, according to the statement. Funds can be used to cover training costs or used as signing bonuses for new employees.
According to the release, the program will be open to state, for-profit and non-profit employers, but will not allow federal, state and municipal government participation.
The announcement was made at LabCentral, according to the statement, which plans to hire lab operators and other administrative and technical staff using HireNow funds through the end of the year. to train workers.
The program was designed to help employers overcome hiring challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported, according to the release, that more than 85,000 workers are missing compared to before the pandemic.
In Massachusetts, job openings are up 20% from pre-pandemic levels and in the state there are more than 200,000 jobs open, the statement said.
The program, the statement said, will expand the recruitment efforts of local workforce investment boards. The effort is supported by $50 million in ARPA funds.
“We are delighted to add HireNow to our growing number of grant programs which aim to address employment and equity gaps in the Commonwealth,” said the Secretary for Labor and Workforce Development. work, Rosalin Acosta, in the press release. “We hope these funds will encourage employers to broaden their hiring strategy to include those with potential for learning and growth on the job, through a direct skills match, as this will broaden the pool of candidates and help both job seekers and businesses.”
According to the release, employers who are in good standing with Department of Unemployment Assistance and Department of Revenue obligations will be able to submit training applications. Employers wishing to participate in the program must first register with Mass.gov/HireNow by submitting employer information.
Employers, according to the statement, will be able to apply for funding for each employee who remains employed for 60 days in order to submit a final application to receive the funding. The purpose of the funds will be approved by the state upon review of the final application.
Employees must perform work in a position for at least 30 hours per week and must be state residents and employed in the state, the statement said. Employees must be paid at least $14.25 per hour and the maximum amount is $42.50 per hour. Employers will be limited to $400,000 in the program.