Secure Jobs Connect Advisory Committee Meeting
September 17, 2013

In attendance:  Bud Delphin, CareerPoint, Ken Demers, New England Farm Workers Council, Joanne Glier, Department of Transitional Assistance, Jeffrey Hayden, Holyoke Community College, Representative Peter Kocot, Lisa Lapierre, Secure Jobs Connect, CareerPoint, Michael Morris, CPM, Darlene Morse, CareerPoint, Bill Mullholland, Berkshire Community College, Rexene Picard, FutureWorks, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Jay Sacchetti, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, Network Coordinator, Robin Sherman, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Lynne Wallace, Dietz&Co. Architects,

Reviewed progress report (Click here to obtain report).

34 employed in the program thus far (64 enrolled).

Clarified 33% retention rate only looks at first months of program, not over a 12 month period (in other words, clients are being retained!).  Only 3 “unenrolled” thus far – 2 due to moving out of state, 1 due to health issues

Just enlisted “supported employment” option (CPM pays employee as temp to start) for first time.

Seeing good progress on higher hourly wages:  last few entered employments not below $9, others at $10 (medical receptionist at Atlas employment), $12/hour (full-time at SpringfieldMedical Associates), another client making over $13/hour employed as administrative assistant at NEFWC.

Shannon Porter of HAPHousing provided update on coordinated employment efforts:

HAP saw extraordinary need (1,100 homeless families potentially in need of employment services) and decided to use its DHCD stabilization monies to support and expand SJC program through building additional capacity.  Partnered with CareerPoint, FutureWorks and Valley Opportunity Council to create targeted employment programs (CareerPoint  further along in “readiness” than SJC client population; FutureWorks targeted to employment matches for Spanish speakers; VOC an ESL, vocational focus).  Also continuing to partner with Square One and their Mom Squad program, and used HAP dollars to support SJC child care slots.  Together, these programs have placed over 78 individuals in jobs and taken together with SJC over 100 individuals have obtained employment during these months.

All agreed that we need to capture this coordinated effort and cumulative impact in our communication with the State legislature and private funders.  The “big umbrella” with targeted populations is a powerful and effective .

State Repesentative Kocot offered to reach out to House Ways and Means Chair Dempsey and facilitate a meeting with SJC and partners to share with him our model and its impact.  Thank you, Rep. Kocot!  Rep. Kocot feels it’s very important to get this information to him as soon as possible to influence the Welfare Reform debate and smarter approaches to the population all are trying to serve.

Rexene Picard of Future Works shared the impact of the cuts experienced on One Stop Career Centers as a result of sequestration.  Critical to keep these Centers funded in order to accomplish our mission.

Discussed continuing barrier of transportation needs in serving our clients.   Rep. Kocot was hopeful that the expanded funding to regional transit authorities will fill some of the gaps through added routes and expanded service.

Lisa shared a client story that demonstrated the intensive coordination required to make employment work:   23 year old woman was living in CHD shelter in Chicopee with 17 month old daughter (only “home” baby has known).   While living there, she received her medical assistant certificate and phlebotomy certificate.  She had very little work history.  Had a child care voucher through DTA.  She received a job offer for a full-time position, Mon-Friday, 8 am – 5 pm, at a medical office in Springfield.  Position is 8-5 Mon-Fri.  There was no possible way to take a bus from Chicopee to get to Springfield at 8 am.   And the day care center in Chicopee was not open long enough for her to get back in time to pick her up.   Through intensive outreach and collaborative efforts:  Square One found a day care slot to allow her child to move to day care in Springfield.  CHD allowed SJC to put in a request to DHCD and the family was moved from a CHD shelter to a scattered site shelter apartment in Springfield run by NEFWC.  Staff from 4 agencies, many hours later, and it worked!

Berkshire/Franklin Counties update:

SJC provides for 10 hours/week in each county with a goal of serving 10 families total.  6 enrolled so far, 3 employed full-time.  On target for reaching goals.

Agreed to begin planning for celebratory event in December that will honor our accomplishments and business partner contributions in particular.  Pamela will begin planning on this and be in touch.  Agreed this is an important part of our sustainability effort.  Will invite legislators and area business and other leaders.

Agreed on Meeting schedule:

10/15, 3:30 Northampton (will try for Franklin/Hampshire Career Center)

11/19, 3:30, HCC (will try for Frost Building, Room 309)

12/17, 3:30, Northampton


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