In attendance: Irving Concepcion, Way Finders, Shannon Doran, Greenfield Community College, Anne Kandalis, Springfield Works, Paul Mattingly, Berkshire Community College, Justin Maynard, VA, Elena Nuciforo, Berkshire Community College, Judy Raper, Greenfield Community College, Cynthia Ray, MassHire Franklin Hampshire County, Konrad Rogowski, MassHire Springfield, Jasmin Rojas, Way Finders, Pamela Schwartz, Network. Rep. Aaron Vega
Way Finders (Irving and Jasmin): They are running virtual workshops weekly, including mock interviews and other job skills. Taking referrals for CEIS and Secure Jobs. Finding good turn-out and attendance for online cohorts. Engagement levels are high, making accommodations where necessary for people working from home. Noted new RAFT funds that waive requirement to show sustainability. Also ERMA (Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance) funds, provided assistance for people up to 80% of AMI and for up to $10,000.
MassHire Franklin/Hampshire (Cindy)- continuing to offer all services; wrapping up grant on job readiness workshops, starting with 2nd cohort on health care training. Office is currently closed to the public (6-10 staff working there), beginning conversations on how to bring public in. Online offerings are getting great participation while also still meeting challenges for individuals who do not have access to computers or smart phones.
MassHire Springfield (Konrad) – continuing to offer all services virtually; live and recorded orientations. Virtual job fair next week (click here for flyer) with about 35 employers.
Greenfield Community College (Shannon and Judy) – working on Section 30 certification – to get all programs into the system – that will allow people to extend unemployment benefits (by virtue of participating in a certified training program). Working on micro-credentialing in order to get support people in getting specific skills for specific jobs. Developing partnerships (e.g. Orange Innovation Center). Developing alternative paths to allow students to direct their own education toward employment.
Berkshire Community College (Elena and Paul): developing and implementing certificate programs, e.g., for community health workers and for phlebotomy training – providing trainings based on credentials required by the state in order to ensure ready employment. Looking at community needs and developing the right matches. Working on doing this directly (as opposed to through 3rd party providers) in order to have control over the program quality. On manufacturing training, working with Berkshire House of Corrections on manufacturing and welding training.
Springfield Works (Anne): working on an assessment tool to ensure best matches between individuals and training programs. Asking the question of how enrollment is going; what do households need to connect with programs. Offered to share their tool and ongoing work, welcomed input and feedback.
Network update (Pamela): We are in the last two weeks of the Legislative Session so pressure is on to pass bills before the deadline of 7/31. Network’s two top priorities: Act to Guarantee Housing Stability and Right to Counsel Pilot Program to stave off the predicted 20,000 eviction filings when the eviction moratorium ends (now extended to 10/17). Sign on as an organizational supporter of these bills (see links). Be sure to subscribe to the Network Blog – at http://westernmasshousingfirst.org – to stay up to date on advocacy and budget news.
Next meeting date: 9/15, 11 am-12 noon. Contact the Network for Zoom link info.