Baker to designate $4.6 million in funds for employee retraining

Boston Statehouse

In this photo illustration, a person files an application for unemployment benefits on April 16, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

BOSTON (SHNS) – The Baker administration will deploy $4.6 million in grant funding aimed at helping workers who were impacted by COVID-19 gain skills for jobs in high demand.

Officials announced the launch of the Rapid Reemployment Grant Program on Thursday with a first round of grants totaling $360,000, which will flow to six employer partner programs who together will train 105 people as certified nursing assistants, patient care technicians, pharmacy technicians, and computer network support administrators.

Gov. Charlie Baker said the program has “potential to help thousands of people get access in high-demand spaces around the commonwealth” moving out of the pandemic.

Massachusetts lost nearly 700,000 jobs in the early months of the pandemic, when the state’s unemployment rate shot from 2.8 percent to 16.4 percent, and many Bay Staters still remain out of work even as some employers struggle to fill open positions.

“In addition to falling unemployment, Massachusetts right now is experiencing historic demand for job postings,” Baker said. “We have more jobs available now than were available prior to the pandemic and more employers willing to consider candidates that may require additional training, which is why programs like this are so important.”

The grants are funded using federal aid Massachusetts received from the CARES Act.

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