Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy joins Gov. Charlie Baker to announce a $774 million comprehensive plan to stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy at a State House press conference on Oct. 22. (Photo courtesy Joshua Qualls/Governor’s Press Office)

On Oct. 22, the Baker-Polito administration announced a $774 million Partnerships for Recovery plan to stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy.

The administration says the plan uses both existing and proposed funding sources to support five key recovery efforts: getting Massachusetts back to work; supporting small businesses; revitalizing downtowns; supporting housing equity and stability; and fostering innovation.

“This plan represents a comprehensive strategy to get people back to work and to support the small businesses hit the hardest by the pandemic, putting the Commonwealth on a path to recovery,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “By leveraging existing tools and programs and implementing new ones this plan will allow us to make critical resources and assistance to those who need it most available now.”

Some $115 million in new funding will be directed to small businesses and downtowns hit hardest by the pandemic, including more than $25 million to get people back to work, according to the administration.

The following are highlights of this Small Business and Main Street component:
$50.8 million in Small Business Grants to help the hardest-hit businesses
• $10 million to continue funding the Shared Streets and Spaces program
• $10 million for local recovery planning grants to support cities and towns
• $10 million to support cultural facilities such as museums and theaters
• $8.3 million in small business technical assistance to help businesses access grant programs and loans, and to help build business management skills, resilience and other support in navigating pandemic impacts
• $2.3 million to provide personalized technical assistance to woman- and minority-owned businesses

Another $25 million to get people back to work includes:
• $10.4 million to engage Massachusetts employers by expanding workforce partnerships with large employers in target sectors to create aligned statewide training-employment pathways
• $9.2 million to subsidize internet for low-income populations and to expand hot spots in unserved and underserved communities
• $3.2 million to modernize MassHire virtual pathways to assess and connect unemployment insurance claimants to appropriate services and supports
• $2 million to bolster manufacturing training by purchasing a standardized virtual training program to increase workforce for the manufacturing sector
• $300,000 to supplement $8.4 million for Career Technical Institutes included in the governor’s fiscal 2021 budget bill to help close the skills gap for skilled technician jobs and align training to industry needs

In addition, the plan would:
• Direct $323 million in existing capital programs as part of the response “to continue doing more of what works”
• File for $122 million through the revised state budget recommendation to supplement existing funding in support of struggling main street businesses and skill-building for residents
• Steer $43 million in federal, trust and other state funding toward the state economy’s most critical needs
• Commit $171 million to keep people safely housed during the pandemic