In attendance: Luis Arzola, CHD, Shawntsi Baret, Springfield Works, Bud Delphin, MassHire Holyoke, Kermit Dunkelberg, HCC,  Lisa Goldsmith, Community Action, Lisa Lapierre, Community Action, Anne Kandilis, Springfield Works, Eneida Molina, Springfield Works, Tiffany Munford, Hampden County Workforce Development Board, Keleigh Pereira, 3 County CoC, Maegan Pedemonti, Way Finders Secure Jobs, Keith Peters, Cynthia Ray, MassHire Hampshire Franklin Center, Konrad Rogowski, MassHire Springfield, Pamela Schwartz, Network

Announcement: Hampden County Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) is hosting a planning workshop on education/employment for youth this Friday, December 13,  9:30 am – 12:30 pm, Innovation Center, 276 Bridge St., Springfield. 

Employment readiness assessment tool: Anne Kandilis of Springfield Works distributed a draft employment assessment tool for feedback.  The goal is to build a more effective system for recruiting and outreach for training opportunities, which requires better assessment of work readiness so that appropriate and timely referrals are being made  (right now training slots are going unfilled). Feedback included merging the assessment into one questionnaire (the draft included a “tier 1 and tier 2” for readiness).  Click here for the new draft questionnaire (completed since the meeting – thanks for the speedy work, Anne!) and your feedback to Anne is welcome at

The goal is for this tool to be incorporated in case managers’ work with the people they serve.  Data at this point will be collected across Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties.  Special focus will be given to Springfield since it is considered the “pilot location” for Springfield Works (a process is underway to transition from Springfield Works to 413 Works to reflect the work across the region). 

It was noted that one barrier for consumers participating in trainings occurs when trainings are held at public vocational schools which require a CORI to enter the building.  There was some lack of clarity around whether this policy was driven by state law or local policy and we agreed we would learn more about this and report back for further discussion. 

Legislative Update: We had the pleasure of Rep. Aaron Vega’s attendance.  He shared an update, including discussion of the omnibus housing bill that is being negotiated between the Governor’s office and legislative leaders.  A big point of contention is around zoning law changes (to more easily allow for more multi-family and affordable housing). From a Western MA perspective, Rep. Vega noted that a concern is to push incentives for mixed housing, to make a combination of market rate and affordable housing more possible and to streamline the tax incentive process.   We discussed the transportation bill that is under debate right now and the concerns with focusing exclusively on the gas tax as the revenue raiser because of its disproportionate impact on Western MA low-and middle-income drivers.  Rep. Vega is also interested in looking at closing the loophole on the minimum corporate tax rate as a revenue source, along with other options. 

Spring Career Services Resource Fair: The group agreed it wanted to hold a career services resource fair again this Spring.  We agreed we would hold it this time in Northampton (last year it was in Holyoke) to alternate accessibility to the more western counties.  We agreed it would be sometime in March.  Pamela will follow-up with a Doodle poll to determine the date. 

413Cares: Pamela distributed information on this online resource directory.  Please check it out and “claim” your site as an organization so you can have accurate referral information.  

Census Outreach: Pamela shared the opportunity to apply for a grant for Census 2020 outreach work to focus on at-risk populations.  For more information, go here:

Training UpdateThe Network is sponsoring a budget and legislative advocacy training on January 28, 9:30 am – 12:00 noon, Kittredge Center, HCC.  This is a great opportunity to get connected on this critical component of the work to prevent and end homelessness.  Register here.

Next meeting date: Friday, Jan. 24, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm, Frost Building 309, HCC

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