Healey-Driscoll Administration’s 2024 State Workforce Agenda Includes Older Workers, Caregivers

Mar 20, 2024

The Healey-Driscoll administration released the Massachusetts’ Workforce Agenda, Meeting the Moment to Attract, Retain, and Develop a Future Workforce, which includes older workers and caregivers among its key strategies.

The outline of the administration’s vision, goals, and strategies to support workforce development statewide is part of the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Plan, required for submission every four years to the federal Department of Labor (USDOL) and federal Department of Education (USDOE) by Massachusetts.

There are several “key strategies” listed across different categories of the plan that will support older workers, caregivers and age-friendly employers, but some selected key strategies relevant to those factors are listed below by category. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs are noted as partners on several initiatives relative to caregiving.

  • Talent Attraction and Retention
    • Strengthen work supports: Launch a stipend initiative for low-income participants in sector pathway models to incentivize enrollment, completion, and employment and reduce barriers to training and employment (such as costs for caregiving, transportation, digital access and equipment, and more).
    • Incorporate a whole-of-government approach to caregiving: Work collaboratively across government, including the Executive Offices of Education, Economic Development, and Labor and Workforce Development among other agencies to take a “whole-of-government” approach to ensuring affordable, high-quality child care in Massachusetts as outlined in an Executive Order signed by Governor Healey on January 16, 2024. Additionally, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development will partner with the Massachusetts Caregivers Coalition with a renewed focus on increasing awareness of child care, senior care, and other caregiving resources in the workplace.
  • Talent Development
    • Older Workers: Partner with MassHire and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to create an employer messaging campaign to educate employers about the benefits of hiring older workers. Additionally, partner with MassHire to identify employment positions for older workers.

This Massachusetts Workforce Agenda, embedded within the WIOA State Plan, is the result of a comprehensive planning process with internal and external stakeholder engagement, listening sessions, forums and planning discussions, and an extensive public comment period and drove collaboration across state government and workforce partners.

Beginning in the spring of 2023, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and the MassHire State Workforce Board engaged with internal and external partners across Massachusetts to help form the foundation for the vision and mission, goals, and strategies outlined in the plan. Stakeholders spanned multiple organizations to incorporate feedback that ultimately shaped strategies to attract, retain, and develop talent in Massachusetts while also strengthening the state’s workforce infrastructure systems. Additionally, in the fall of 2023, the Workforce Skills Cabinet convened seven regional sessions with members from workforce development, academia, business, labor, and local and state government officials.

The Healey-Driscoll Administration also supported a public comment period through virtual, open discussions late January to early February 2024 to finalize the workforce agenda and WIOA State Plan.

More details on the plan are available on the website for the “Massachusetts Workforce Agenda” listed under the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.