Meeting via Zoom:
In attendance: Bud Delphin, MassHire Holyoke, Pat Duffy, Office of Rep. Aaron Vega, Aimee Funk, Holyoke Community College, Jeff Hayden, Holyoke Community College, Lisa Lapierre, Community Action Pioneer Valley, Tiffany Munford, Hampden County Workforce Board, Elena Nuciforo, Berkshire Community College, Sarah Offenbach, Berkshire Community College, Cindy Ray, MassHire Franklin Hampshire, Konrad Rogowski, MassHire Springfield, Pamela Wojtkowski, MassHire Berkshire
MassHires updates, Bud Delphin, Konrad Rogwoski, Pamela Wojtkowski, Cindy Ray: Each MassHire across the region shared their experience of intense demand for assistance with unemployment insurance (up to 100 calls a day), alongside intense employer demands among “essential work” employers (e.g., health services, grocery, etc.).
All MassHires are closed to the public, continually adapting their services for remote access, webinars on resume writing and interviewing, best practices for working at home, job search guidance, in addition to offering counseling by phone.
Community Action, Lisa Lapierre: Reported loss of WIOA youth internships due to crisis; moving some of the internships to food pantry work; looking for state guidance for continued enrollment in order to meet program goals. Community Action is largely focused on ensuring food access to the community.
Holyoke Community College, Jeff Hayden, Aimee Funk: All learning is remote. Lending laptops and chromebooks to students and providing technical support, also providing 2 meals daily. Converting training programs to online teaching; still figuring out how to address hands-on instruction. ESOL classes happening online and averaging 75% attendance, an impressive rate given the circumstances.
Berkshire Community College, Sarah Offenbach, Elena Nuciforo. Systems are online. Providing laptops and virtual workshops for resume writing, job searching, interviewing and offer personal one-on-one career counseling by phone. Workshops are open to all.
Office of Rep. Vega, Pat Duffy: Working closely with the City of Holyoke and local agencies; in regular conversations around food access and other critical support. The community is stepping up with donations and volunteering. The State is overwhelmed by Unemployment Insurance claims, working with MassHires to provide additional staff support (MassHires can voluntarily assign their staff to assist with processing state claims – each office is assessing their capacity and providing support as able).
Next meeting date: The group agreed it would be useful to convene again in a month by Zoom, Friday, May 1, 10 am