Earlier today, the Massachusetts House of Representatives released its Fiscal Year 2021 budget blueprint, setting up debate for next week. This budget proposal, typically debated through the Spring, was delayed as state leaders assessed the needs emerging from Covid-19 and the resulting economic crisis. The Jewish Community Relations Council welcomes this budget, which maintains funding for the crucial services and programs long championed by our community. Some highlights include:
- $856K for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs), designed to bring wellness programs and socialization services directly to seniors, allowing them to remain in their homes and communities.
- $500K for Bridges to Colleges, which provides college preparatory programming to individuals seeking careers with opportunities for advancement and defined career ladders (includes a $250K appropriation for Jewish Vocational Service).
- $250K for Transitions to Work, an innovative job training model for young adults with disabilities.
- $2 million for Secure Jobs Initiative, a silo-busting delivery model conceived by the Fireman Family Foundation, which promotes new partnerships between housing and workforce development agencies, as well as state agencies.
- $1 million for Non Profit Security Grants, which provides vital security enhancements to non-profit communal infrastructure at increased risk of threat.
- $1.25 million for the Employment Service Program for Immigrants and Refugees, which provides English-based job training and placement services for recent immigrants and refugees.
- Crucial authorizing language for the MA Pathways to Economic Advancement initiative, the nation’s first workforce development Pay for Success program. The model is working; nearly 2,000 participants have enrolled, increasing their job skills and take-home earnings, which is increasing revenue for the Commonwealth. This language will insure that contracted funds continue to flow to sustain this initiative.
“We applaud Speaker Robert DeLeo, Chair Aaron Michlewitz and the entire House membership for their leadership in navigating the unprecedented demands on the social safety net, with investments in the types of programs that can help us heal,” said Aaron Agulnek, Director of Government Affairs, JCRC. “This historic budget includes funding that can keep seniors safe in their homes, train job seekers for a more robust recovery and help those who are housing insecure access the supports they need.”The House will debate this budget next week before the Senate releases its own budget proposal.