Secure Jobs Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes
December 1, 2015

In attendance: Ashely Brehm, HAPHousing, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Sean Hemingway, CHD, Denise Johns, Berkshire Community College, Joanne LaCour, DTA, Madeline Martinez, HAPHousing, Johnny Miranda, HAPHousing, Maegan Pedemonti, HAPHousing, George Ryan, Regional Employment Board of Hampshire County, Robert Wojcik, CareerPoint

Progress Report – November, 2015

Thus far, there have been 26 jobs placements. Total for fiscal year is 54, so we are well on track to meeting or exceeding goals. We have exceeded our assessments for the year already (118 to date with a goal of 103) and enrollments (71 to date with a goal of 51).

We agreed that the next iteration of the progress report hand-out would zero in on placements, average wages and include a breakdown of Hampden and Berkshire Counties. Thanks to Ashley and HAP staff for facilitating this.

Preparation for meeting with Linn Torto, executive director of the Mass Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness

Linn is attending our Family Services Meeting next Tuesday, 12/8 where we will have a chance to introduce ourselves and update her about the Network’s efforts. As to Secure Jobs, Ashley agreed she will provide a hand-out summarizing the program’s success thus far. And we brainstormed the most pressing interagency issues to raise with Linn, which included: (1) the “cliff effect” – the loss of benefits – food stamps, fuel assistance, housing subsidy and child care voucher reductions – upon receipt of employment income in a way that creates a disincentive to work (the group has family anecdotes to this effect) and (2) the need for more child care vouchers in general in order to facilitate more employment opportunity (the limitation of the DTA vouchers that require a person to get work before being eligible for a voucher when they need the voucher to get the work!  The DHCD vouchers are far more useful because they do not have this limitation, but they are in too short supply).

Pamela will share these thoughts with Sue Beaton to collect any additional feedback.

Update on DHCD Learning Lab

Next Tuesday, DHCD is holding its next learning lab (which unfortunately conflicts with our family services meeting, but HAP staff and Ken Demers will be attending). We discussed the agenda item of advisory committees and Pamela shared that she will be talking prior to the meeting with Nancy Sullivan, the DHCD contract manager, about our experience as an advisory committee. Pamela will also check in separately with Ken who will be attending the meeting and has been a part of the advisory committee since the start of the program.

Argus Consulting

Pamela updated the group that the Fireman Foundation retained Argus Consulting, a marking and branding firm for non-profits, to produce an impact report and video on Secure Jobs’ success. Pamela was invited to participate in an initial focus group. There will be follow-up from Argus regarding individual success stories and other input. This is an exciting opportunity to obtain excellent marketing materials for future funding efforts.

HUD TA from John Rio, Advocates for Human Potential

John provided a brief background regarding this opportunity for technical assistance as a next step following our participation in the national jobs summit in October, 2013. He will be available to provide his expertise over the coming months (through 9/30). Our job is to decide on our priorities for assistance. Ashley and Lauren Voyer had an initial brainstorming conversation with John a couple of weeks ago where they discussed possible topics, which included to start the issue of sustainability (how to maintain and grow the program) and the development of a curriculum on job readiness so that we can provide an accessible and standardized teaching tool about our program. The group agreed that it would like to move forward with both of these ideas. And we agreed we would talk further about other possibilities at our next meeting in January.

Next meeting date:

Tuesday, January 5, 11 am – 12:15 pm, Holyoke Community College (we agreed that we would meet in this location on an ongoing basis and we would meet the second Tuesday of each month at this time going forward).

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