Secure Jobs Advisory Committee
July 14, 2015

In attendance: Toni Bator, HAPHousing, Ashley Brehm, HAPHousing, Bud Delphin, CareerPoint, Donna Harris, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Bill Mulholland, Berkshire Community College, Konrad Rogowski, FutureWorks, Giselle Routhier, Brandeis, George Ryan Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Phyllis White, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Pam Wojtkowski, CPM

FY16 state budget update: Good news on the Conference Committee budget, which included the higher amount of $750,000 for Secure Jobs statewide, along with a directive to DHCD to rely as needed on the Housing Preservation and Stabilization Trust Fund for additional support. Hampden County has already been assured of at least $60,000 for FY16. Additionally, the Fireman Foundation is continuing to provide their amazing support and funding Hampden County an additional $100,000. We are grateful for this public-private partnership. Special thanks to the Fireman Foundation and our fantastic Western MA legislative delegation.

Grant Management Transition:

Due to a restructuring at Corporation for Public Management and New England Farm Workers Council, Lisa Lapierre is no longer working with Secure Jobs as of 6/30/15.  We are so grateful for everything Lisa contributed to the success of the program.  Lisa was also responsible for data tracking and production. Moving forward, Brandeis will provide a template for data collection, which HAP will manage. Ashley Brehm in her new position at HAP will manage Secure Jobs and she is in the process of hiring two employment specialists.

The Fireman Foundation grant will stay within HAP’s management with Ken Demers of BerkshireWorks as the lead liaison for the grant across the three counties. Pamela Wojtkowski, the employment specialist hired by CPM and working out of BerkshireWorks, will transfer over as an employee of BerkshireWorks.

June Progress Report:  Due to the transition, we were unable to provide the report by the time of the Secure Jobs meeting.  However, the report is now available and can be found here.

Fireman Foundation Grant Update (Berkshire/Franklin/Hampshire)

We are grateful to Pam Wotjkowski for pulling together additional data on this grant through July 10 – please click here and here.

Berkshire County experienced a significant increase in enrollments this past month. Pam expects referrals to increase further now that RAFT has its new FY16 funding (that is this program’s primary client base).

Franklin/Hampshire County has seen a big drop in referrals. Donna is in communication with FCRHRA and ServiceNet – the two primary referral sources in Franklin County.

We will meet separately with Franklin/Berkshire to have a preliminary conversation projecting outcomes and if/what reallocation may be necessary.

Hampden County:

Ashley shared the new draft referral form that will be used by all providers in Hampden County. New systems will be discussed and established at a Hampden County operational meeting tomorrow.

Bud Delphin of CareerPoint noted that the $60K allocated by DHCD will be used to support one full-time person at Career Point to work with Secure Jobs clients.

Bud also noted that career center cohorts have already been established for August. And the career center is continuing to steadily work with clients previously in the program.

It was noted that currently the budget does not provide for client transportation or bridge child care. This is a significant gap that could create barriers to employment. We agreed that Ashley and Toni would revisit the budget with HAP’s fiscal department and reach out to Fireman to discuss the possibility of a minor reallocation to close this gap. Ashley will keep the group posted.

Discussion of HUD TA opportunity: HUD has reached out to Western MA as part of its follow-up to the October national jobs summit in Washington, DC, to offer TA around workforce development. We also have the opportunity to receive on-site TA in the form of a training and they welcome our suggestions.

We brainstormed a training on how to reach out to big employers and engage them in their support of this population in their transitions to the workplace, basically outreach and engagement strategies, sharing successful models across the country and helping us tailor those successes to our region. Pamela will share this idea with others not in attendance at the meeting and collect additional feedback.

Bill Mulholland also raised the challenge of our region defining our employment needs and finding the appropriate resources to meet them. He noted that the federal government has looked to community colleges to work together to define common needs and strategies and define employable pathways. We need the federal government to help us to connect to resources out there; to help us establish incubation programs for training on hard and soft skills.

Pamela will share these ideas with others not in attendance at the meeting and collect additional feedback.

Next meeting: Tuesday, 9/22, 1:00 pm at HCC (note change in usual time due to request of meeting attendees). We will address our regularly schedule when we meet next.


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