Secure Jobs Advisory Committee
July 5, 2016

In attendance: Ashley Brehm, HAPHousing, Bud Delphin, CareerPoint, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Dave Gadaire, CareerPoint, Allie Haber, Network, Lisa Lapierre, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Bill Mulholland, Berkshire Community College, Maegan Pedemonit, HAPHousing, George Ryan, Hampden County REB, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Maricelli Serrano, BerkshireWorks, Representative Aaron Vega, Pamela Wojtkowski, BerkshireWorks

Celebrating Secure Jobs Success:

In FY16, the program placed 120 heads of households into jobs, well over double the contract goal of 54 (and the best in the State!). The program also experienced a 93% retention rate. Click here for the progress report. FANTASTIC WORK. We celebrated with cake and a toast to the extraordinary effort with extraordinary results!

In terms of data analysis, Brandeis University will be retained by the Fireman Foundation for the first 6 months of this new fiscal year to finalize a data report.

Rep. Vega inquired about the data reflecting the relationship between these job placements and housing stability. The group agreed that this is a vital indicator of the program’s success. Ashley said Brandeis will be looking at this statewide; also HAP has just established its own database to be able to better track this data (among other indicators) internally. We should see reports from this database in the coming months.

FY17 State Budget Update:

We reviewed the final result of this year’s state budget that funded Secure Jobs statewide at $800,000. This is less than half of what is necessary to keep the program whole. Each program will experience significant cuts although the exact amount is unclear based on the number of programs that are able to continue under the current funding. Fortunately, HAP is able to allocate funds internally to keep their staff in place. The current unknown is the amount of flexible funds that will be available (which everyone acknowledged are critical to the program’s success). Also, HAP will no longer be sub-contracting with CareerPoint as a partner in the program.

Bud and Dave at CareerPoint pointed out that while the new WIOA law notes that attention should be given to several targeted groups, including homeless job-seekers, there are no special funds allocated for those services.  As always, homeless individuals will be welcome to access resources, workshops and other services provided by CareerPoint and the other career centers, but to be enrolled in WIOA, homeless participants must meet a number of eligibility requirements and must compete with other job seekers who  want to access very limited training funds or intensive career counseling services. At CareerPoint, homeless participants  will be provided as much support as is possible, but unfortunately they cannot receive the in-depth SJ services provided during the past several years.

Ashley also shared that HAP is pursuing SNAP matching dollars to support the program. They just submitted an application and are waiting to hear back.

Lisa of Franklin/Hampshire Career Center noted the value of serving families in Franklin/Hampshire County and asked HAP to consider that possibility again. We agreed that from a Network perspective the cross-regional support has tremendous value; we also noted that the issue is outcomes in the face of reduced funding for the program as a whole. HAP and FHCC will keep talking.

Ken of Berkshire Works noted that they are in the middle of conversations with HAP about HAP’s continued support of the Berkshire program. Berkshire Works has just hired Maricella Serrano to serve as the Secure Jobs staff person and Pamela Wojtkowski is in the process of training her.

Next meeting: Tuesday, September 6, 11 am – 12:15 pm, HCC, Frost Building 309.

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