Secure Jobs Advisory Committee
March 1, 2015

In attendance: Ashley Brehm, HAPHousing, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Sean Hemingway, CHD, Joanne LaCour, DTA, Lisa Lapierre, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, John Leva, VAMC, Madeline Martinez, HAPHousing, Johnny Miranda, HAPHousing, Bill Mulholland, Berkshire Community College, Maegan Pedemonti, HAPHousing Jeremiah Riordan, Greenfield Community College, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Rep. Aaron Vega, Holyoke, Ken White, Holyoke Community College

Secure Jobs February Progress Report: – click here

The program met and exceeded placement goal for FY17! Goal was 54 placements, now at 55. Average wage is $11.50/hour, 59% are earning above the minimum wage and retention rate is 83% (goal is 79%). The program will continue to enroll new clients and will also focus on retention. Congratulations to all for terrific work!

Berkshire County update: Ken reported staffing challenges (unexpectedly in hiring process again for SJ staff). Also challenges with clients facing some CORI and substance abuse issues. Another reflection of the complex challenges facing this population.

Update on Labor Secretary Ron Walker’s visit to Holyoke this week: Representative Vega hosted a meeting with Holyoke leaders (and graciously invited the Network) to discuss economic development with Labor Secretary Walker. This was a great opportunity to hear about the Department’s efforts (“the demand model” – looking to meet business employment demand) and to share information about the current initiatives underway in the region. Pamela was pleased to have the opportunity to report on the great work happening with Secure Jobs.

Progress Report/Legislative Event March 4, 10:30 am, Kittredge Center, HCC: Pamela reminded everyone of our upcoming legislative event this Friday. About 16 legislators will attend, along with Administration officials and over 100 Network partners. This event promises to be an opportunity to get inspired by the stories of people who have moved from homelessness to housing and to feel the impact of the collective efforts in the region. We will also advocate for the Network’s FY17 budget priorities. Please come!

Employment Training Series: Pamela confirmed the upcoming training series offered by John Rio of AHP as part of our employment initiatives among the homeless population. The training on Tuesday, April 12, 9:30-11:30 am will focus on Secure Jobs and how to sustain innovative demonstration projects (click here to register). This time takes the place of the regular monthly SJ meeting and Pamela hopes that all can attend. The other trainings include: Employment and Housing for Homeless Youth (Wed., 4/13, 9:30 am, Kittredge Center, HCC) and Employment Opportunities for Tenants in Permanent Supportive Housing (4/13, 1-4 pm, Kittredge Center). Please join this exciting opportunity!

Update from John Leva of VA Employment Services: John joined us at his first meeting to network with Secure Jobs. John works at the VA, assisting veterans who have experienced homelessness in finding employment. A model very similar to Secure Jobs, just targeted for veterans. He works closely with the veterans justice outreach officer and the veterans court in Holyoke. If a veteran seeks services, please refer to the VA for assistance as well.   If a member of the family is a veteran, they also qualify for VA employment services. Thanks to John for reaching out and we look forward to building the collaboration.


  • March 22 health care job fair sponsored by HAP – contact Maegang Pedamonit of HAP for more info
  • Spring Fling Job Fair on March 16 in Deerfield – many employers there and available to for all applicants across the region – contact Lisa Lapierre of FHCC for more details

Next meeting: Sustainability training, 9:30-11:30 am, Frost Building, Room 309, HCC (see above for details)

Next regular meeting: May 3, 11 am, HCC, Frost Building

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