Secure Jobs Connect Advisory Committee
June 11, 2013

In attendance:  Bud Delphin, CareerPoint, Ken Demers, New England Farm Workers Council, Joanne Glier, DTA, Steve Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council, Lisa Lapierre, Secure Jobs Connect, Darlene Morse, CareerPoint, Shannon Porter, HAPHousing, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Robin Sherman, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Michael Truckey, Franklin/Hampshire Career Center

Click here for the May progress report attached.

Lisa Lapierre, SJC program director, reported:

The program has received 261 referrals thus far.

Hampden County: 42 enrolled, 15 placed.
Berkshire/Franklin Counties: 13 enrolled, 2 placed.Received 261 referrals.  Next group orientation on Monday – at that point will have brought in every rental assistance family – those at the subsidy cliff.

These numbers are behind year-to-date goals as originally stated in grant.  However, early experience has taught that the enrollment/placement takes longer than anticipated, and we can expect a higher number of placements towards the end of the year.

Moving from individual intake appointments to group intake sessions has been very successful.  Allows for better time management and more effective targeting of families who are actually ready.

Last group session had 40 invitees, 10 showed, plus 4 additional who followed-up.  Of those 14 total, 9 were enrolled in the program.

The next group session, scheduled for Monday, 6/17, has 75 invitees.  Every family facing HomeBase subsidy termination will have been reached out to by that time.

Discussed quality of referrals.  HomeBASE staff are well-trained in screening referrals.  Agreed that it can be very difficult to screen out families when they state readiness but then later do not evidence it with follow-through.  Agreed that collecting that data in and of itself – the number of families who say they want to participate but then fail to execute –  also teaches us something.  The referral number vis-à-vis enrollments should not be considered a performance number but instead an additional resource for analysis around working with this population.

The grant’s initial definition of “work ready” – i.e., families with day care and transportation in place – is virtually never met among the population SJC is actually seeing.

We need to look closely at the factors behind success and the reasons for failure.

Getting a family fully work ready and employed and stable should be considered a 5 year process – therein lies the inherent challenge of this 1 year program.  It is a massive process that requires “the village” of support to move it forward.  Lisa is finding this “village” to be excellent thus far as collaborations are strong and only getting stronger among state agencies and housing providers.

Additional stabilization funds to HAP (until end of FY13) are being used to support employment efforts for HomeBASE families about to lose their subsidies.  HAP has sub-contracted with Valley Opportunity Council, FutureWorks and CareerPoint to provide additional employment support services to these families.  All working very closely with SJC to determine best service fit for family.

We need to follow the families we worked with to have their successes serve as ambassadors to other families.


Spanish speaking woman who had worked in a sewing factory in PR.  Worried that language would be a barrier but had success in getting a sewing job  in Holyoke.

Mom with no work history, 2 kid.   Totally unmotivated to start, but then began to shift.  Started showing up early every day at SJC, steadfast in her search for a job.  Started work at D’Angelo’s sandwich shop 2 weeks ago and doing 30 hour/week internship at Square One.  Doing great!

Amazing experience with Dress for Success.  Really transformative.  Changes their mindset to have professional clothes and  camaraderie is key.  Very relationship based.

On the down side:  struck by the number of clients who are at the point of no alternative resources – welfare ended, no food stamps, no employment yet – and need groceries and diapers.  Have had to spend some program money to deal with the basics in order for the families to stay in the program.  FCRHRA and HAP both said to contact them when faced with this in their regions – they will assist if possible.

Also noted that 4 enrollees in program are facing evictions right now.  SJC is working with families to prevent these evictions, but the fragility of their circumstances and the myriad barriers are all too apparent.   Data must track housing alongside employment.


The DHCD lens has been “get families out of motels”  but this doesn’t lead families to solution of employment.  We need to look at problem as:  we have this number of families who need jobs.

Pamela will forward Fireman Foundation’s notes from our statewide grant meeting that summarize policy barriers and possible solutions, fyi.

Discussed ppportunity in gubernatorial race – funders should be engaged in making this an issue in candidates’ campaigns.

Need policy discussion to intersect with political discussion.  Robin Sherman interested.

We need to integrate employment into housing advocacy agendas (e.g., Homes for Families, Mass. Coalition for the Homeless, etc.).

Collaboration is key to promoting agenda and securing additional funds.  The good news is that collaboration is better than ever – DCF, DTA, housing providers, career centers  – more interaction, more cross-agency work than ever.  SJC has received good recognition from the Fireman Foundation for this success so early in the program.

Discussed Commonwealth Corp RFP –  CPM is applying on behalf of region, working with ServiceNet, Construct (Berkshires), Franklin/Hampshire Career Center – focus will be to expand SJC in rural counties.  Due 7/1

Next meeting SJC Advisory Meeting: 7/16, 3:30-4:45 pm.  Pamela will be on vacation but Ken and Lisa will facilitate.

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