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BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration launched a new hiring and training grant program for employers. The program, HireNow, will help employers quickly hire and train new workers and get more people back to work. It provides eligible employers with a $4,000-per-employee grant, which can be used to cover training costs or as a signing bonus for new employees.

By providing employers with these flexible funds to facilitate quick hiring, the administration is focusing on addressing continued hiring challenges faced by employers and increasing labor-force participation. Employers can learn more about the program and apply at www.mass.gov/hirenow.

The program is open to all Massachusetts employers, including both for-profit and nonprofit entities, excluding federal, state, and municipal governments.

“Our administration is focused on supporting Massachusetts’ economic growth and getting more people back to work, and the HireNow program is one more tool at our disposal to meet employers’ workforce needs and grow our labor force,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “The flexible funds from this program will be distributed to employers quickly to help them with training costs, tuition support, and other needs. We are grateful to our partners in the Legislature for allocating the ARPA funds necessary to make this program happen.”

HireNow aims to address hiring challenges faced by employers that have been brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, unfilled job postings are up 20% compared to pre-pandemic levels, and approximately 200,000 open jobs are available across the Commonwealth.

The HireNow program will provide resources directly to employers that make it possible to immediately hire new employees and provide them with necessary training to fill open roles. The program will be supported by $50 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

“We know employers are ready to grow and expand by hiring new workers, and we’re excited to deploy flexible dollars as part of the HireNow program to jump-start those efforts,” Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said. “Massachusetts’s economic recovery from the pandemic is off and running, but we know there are still persistent workforce challenges that we must address. To boost our local economies, it is critical that we help both for-profit and nonprofit employers meet their workforce needs and get more people back to work. We appreciate the partnership of the employer community as we developed this program and look forward to putting these funds to work alongside our existing, proven job-training programs.”

Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta noted that “we are excited to add HireNow to our growing number of grant programs that aim to close job and equity gaps across the Commonwealth. We hope these funds will encourage employers to expand their hiring strategy to include those with potential for learning and growing on the job, over a direct-skills match, as this will widen the candidate pool and help both job seekers and businesses.”

Education Secretary James Peyser added that “HireNow will be an excellent complement to the Career Technical Initiative we launched two years ago, which expands access to high-quality vocational programs for high-school students and adults by creating three shifts, one during the regular school day for vocational students, one in the afternoons for students enrolled in their local high school, and one in the evening for adult learners looking to change careers or upgrade their skills. Employers will be able to recruit students from CTI programs and use the HireNow grants to offer deeper training for their employees.”

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