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When Governor Baker announced the Administration’s “Opportunities for All” economic development legislation in January, he outlined goals for fostering strong communities, continuing to build a highly-trained workforce, and continuing the Commonwealth’s commitment to welcoming emerging technologies. The $1 billion economic development package was passed unanimously by the House, passed by a 38-1 vote in the Senate, and signed into law on Wednesday, August 10. 

During the signing ceremony, Governor Baker remarked how the Administration came into office understanding that while it was important to do new things that have “the possibility of working,” he and his team recognized that more importantly was finding the things that work, replicating them, and doing more of them. “This bill, I believe, is a wonderful combination of both,” said Governor Baker.

Chief among the “things that work” is MassWorks, an infrastructure grant program that aids in the economic development and job growth of cities and towns throughout Massachusetts. Half of the legislation’s funding will go towards the reauthorization of the program.

MassWorks is an incredibly powerful tool to help local communities and local developers on local projects,” said Governor Baker.

Other initiatives funded by the legislation include the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, an incentives-based state program that supports the cleanup of former industrial properties blighted by contamination, and the Transformative Development Initiative, which invests in Gateway Cities such as New Bedford and Springfield. The Commonwealth’s twenty-six Gateway Cities represent a fantastic opportunity for economic growth and revitalization, offering opportunities for many to live, work, and raise a family.

“This is a bill that talks about opportunities for all,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Not just Eastern Mass, but Western Massachusetts and Central Massachusetts. In the Merrimack Valley, down on the South coast Area. Each Region has its own special opportunities and by bringing these public dollars, we’ll be able to leverage the private dollars and really drive the economy going forward in all of these places.”

The Boston Business Journal also noted the wide-ranging impacts the legislation will have on the Bay State’s startup and innovation ecosystem, especially an angel investor tax credit that could help encourage more investment in small businesses and a digital health initiative.

“This legislation unleashes valuable opportunities for investments in the development of revolutionary new technologies and community-based innovation, connecting every region of the Commonwealth to the innovation economy,” said Governor Baker. 

This legislation makes a significant commitment–up to $100 million–towards the research, development, and commercialization of new technologies that will underpin the next generation of jobs in Massachusetts. The final bill calls for investments in emerging technologies, medical devices, clean technology, smart machines, robotics, and advanced materials that will all support our manufacturing future.

Tim Murray, CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the $45 million over three years for a workforce skills training program will expand the pool of talent available to Massachusetts businesses “and create meaningful career paths for young people as well as those seeking to upgrade their skills.” (MassLive.com)

The Workforce Skills Capital grants established in this legislation will make a vital difference to many of our educational institutions across the state, enabling vocational schools, career and technical schools, community colleges and other organizations focused on skill-building to purchase the most up-to-date equipment. “These investments will lead to more skilled workers who are able to get good-paying jobs, and help businesses meet their increasing needs for a pipeline of trained workers,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald L. Walker, II. 

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash noted that the final legislation is the “result of more than a year of conversations with scores of legislators and administration officials, as well as thousands of conversations with business leaders, municipal officials, educators, community advocates and other stakeholders.”

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