New Mass. Grant Will Pay Employers $4000 To Train Each New Worker

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BOSTON (State House News Service) — Massachusetts employers in both nonprofit and for-profit sectors can apply to receive grants of $4,000 per employee to cover training costs or signing bonuses under a new Baker administration program aimed at rapidly steering interested workers toward open jobs in new fields.

Although the state's employment outlook has rebounded from a precipitous drop in the early months of the pandemic, about 180,000 Bay Staters remain out of work and employers are struggling to fill an even larger number of open positions.

Gov. Charlie Baker and his top deputies are hopeful a new $50 million grant program will help close the gap between hiring managers who want to fill available slots and prospective workers who are interested but may not have the skills.

"The folks that are out there that are looking for work and want to work -- the biggest complaint we hear so many times is that they can't see themselves in the jobs that are available. They don't know how to get there," said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. "What I am really, really hoping this program will do is help our employers by giving them some resources to look beyond the normal web, the normal catchment of folks that they will hire from."

The program, dubbed "HireNow," allows eligible employers to apply for grants to incentivize onboarding new workers, in particular those from underrepresented backgrounds or people who need additional training to get up to speed. Workers must be paid between $14.25 per hour and $42.50 per hour for a business to qualify, and no employer could receive more than $400,000 in grant awards.

Baker's office said the program will be funded using American Rescue Plan Act dollars. The governor and the Legislature in recent months have had their differences when it comes to who makes the decisions on how funds under the rescue act are allocated.

Written by Chris Lisinski, SHNS

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