Secure Jobs Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes
April 14, 2015

In attendance: Toni Bator, HAPHousing, Bud Delphin, CareerPoint, Donna Harris, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Joanne LaCour, DTA, Lisa Lapierre, CPM, Melissa Mateus, Springfield Partners, Darlene Morse, CareerPoint, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Robin Sherman, Franklin Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Giselle, Routhier, Brandeis University, Ken White, Holyoke Community College

Monthly Progress Report/Program Review

Please click here for current progress report.  Placement numbers under the DHCD contract are up.

Commonwealth Corp. grant – all sub-contracts expired on 2/28 – Construct and Franklin Hampshire Career Center are now performance-based and limited to job placements for currently enrolled clients. All enrollments (24 remaining) will be moved to Hampden County. This shift is a function of the limited number of individual referrals. Families of Franklin, Hampshire and Berkshire Counties will still be served under the Fireman grant. Career Point’s sub-contract under CommCorp grant ended, although CareerPoint will continue to support Secure Jobs (via DHCD funds) and Darlene will continue to work at the Secure Jobs CPM office.

We discussed Comm Corp’s billing requirements and the very dramatic barriers they pose to serving clients e.g., must submit weekly pay stubs for each week or not receive reimbursement for any amount of service. We agreed we need to follow-up on this on a policy level. Lisa and Darlen will summarize the barriers and Pamela will create a memorandum on this as the basis for intervention. We will start with discussions with CommCorp leadership and assess feedback to determine next steps.

On Fireman Year 2 funding: CPM staff resigned in the Berkshires; they are currently in hiring process. Temporary slow-down in enrollment process as a result. For Franklin/Hampshire, we agreed we need to look at the referral rate in relationship to the enrollment rate (i.e., are we getting enough referrals to reach enrollment/placement goals). Now that DHCD is placing fewer out-of-area families in Greenfield motels, the referral numbers are up. We agreed we will look at this closely next month.

DHCD Year 2 funding: CareerPoint and SJ case managers are meeting every 2 weeks; much improved communication and teamwork. Rising numbers reflect progress on coordination. The March “cohort” (enrollees in CareerPoint program) had 15 individuals and 5 are employed and 4 are in employment training. The next cohort is happening the week of 4/27

CommonWorks Pre-apprenticeship program – This program is run by Commonwealth Corp and aims to bring new employees into the building trades, historically targeting women and minorities but now expanded to include the homeless population as well. Lisa is sitting on the interview committee and has led some SJ clients to this process. Interestingly, at the interviews last week, 8 people applying who were NOT brought by Secure Jobs were discovered to be eligible for SJ services! Lisa is following-up with them.

FY16 budget update: The House Ways and Means budget is releasing its budget on Wed. We will wait to see if Secure Jobs receives its necessary funding of $2 million (up from the Governor’s $500,000) and if not, an amendment will be filed for that amount. Please stay tuned on advocacy updates. Right now DHCD has instructed to conduct “business as usual” while living with the uncertainty of the future.

Office move: Lisa reported that CPM’s Secure Jobs office has moved to: This is a positive move as it puts them in the same building as day care vouchers, allowing for collaboration ease, and it’s also near the fuel assistance office and easier to access by public transportation. A good move! New contact information:

Secure Jobs Connect
Corporation for Public Management
1628-1640 Main Street, 4th floor
Springfield, MA 01103
Phone – 413-272-2370
Fax – 413-536-5405

Learning Lab Update: Pamela and Lisa attended the statewide “Learning Lab” held on 4/13 in Boston for all Secure Jobs programs. They reported on the discussion of data needs, specifically the urgent need to provide housing tracking data, i.e., to demonstrate the ultimate efficacy of this program requires demonstrating the gain of stable housing among families we serve. DHCD responded with the creation of a work group comprised of DHCD representatives and SJ partners (Lisa included). We will wait to hear about progress on this effort.

We also shared the discussion on retention efforts, specifically how smaller incentives (e.g., $25) were not enough to get families back in the door (larger ones were). Other efforts, such as after-hour seminars, have met with moderate success.

We also shared the strategy of reaching families at the front door of shelter who are diverted from shelter. Father Bill’s and Main Spring have worked with this target population this year. They have found that this population is more challenging to reach only because the level of crisis they are in – at the front door of homelessness – makes focus on other intervention more difficult. DHCD wants to know track more specifically the families served at the front door vs. those receiving HomeBASE to better analyze outcomes.

Next meeting: Tuesday 5/19 – 3:30-4:30 pm – Northampton location, will confirm Franklin Hampshire Career Center.

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