In attendance: Luis Arzola, CHD, Holly Florek, CHD, Jeff Hayden, HCC, Gladys Lebron, MassHire Holyoke, Justin Maynard, VA, Maegan Pedemonti, Way Finders, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Alyce Styles, GCC (on phone)

Career Services Fair (2/15/19) Debrief:
Everyone agreed it was a successful event! Good turn-out (about 40 people attended); good information (about 15 providers offered information); good energy. We agreed offering this annually (in between the annual resource fair) is something we should continue to do,

Heartland Alliance grant opportunity:
Maegan updated the group about Heartland’s “Pathways Forward Challenge” grant – a 2.5 year, $75-$100K grant that will be offered to 5 communities nationwide that are committed to system change around employment and homelessness. The grant specifically targets individuals who are NOT prioritized for available housing services (e.g.,NOT families with access to HomeBASE or chronically homeless individuals with access to PSH). It does not pay for programs or services, but instead would support staff (part of a position) to support the data-oriented bridge building necessary to better connect systems.

Way Finders is going to be the lead applicant for Hampden County (there is not currently capacity for this to extend to the 3 county region, although there is the promise of gaining pilot project support that can extend into the 3 county area). Way Finders is working with Springfield Works and the City of Springfield and will reach out to the MassHires and community colleges. They met with Friends of the Homeless – where there is a target population of not-chronically homeless individuals in need of both housing and employment support. FOH is pleased to partner on this project.

Way Finders will look at its Secure Jobs model – flexible dollars with wrap-around support – this time using its SNAP employment and training dollars to support the programming.

Network FY20 budget and legislative priorities: Click here for the FY20 Budget Priorities and here for the FY20 legislative priorities.
The Network is scheduling meetings with Western MA legislators across the region to discuss its FY20 budget and legislative priorities. Please contact Pamela if you are interested in seeing the schedule and participating in any meetings.

Other Updates:
Secure Jobs: Maegan reported they reached a milestone of placing 650 individuals into employment since the program began 2013. Congratulations!

DHCD is allocating 50 MRVP vouchers to Secure Jobs participants who have been employed for at least 6 months. These vouchers will be administered by lottery, 10 at a time, over the next 2 years. Way Finders will submit individuals into the lottery – anyone who has received employment services under Secure Jobs can qualify. Refer to Maegan.

Learn to Earn and TRAIN grants are continuing to enroll and launch cohorts. Contact Jeff Hayden or Kermit Dunkelberg (HCC) or Alyce Stiles (GCC) for more information.

GCC and MassHire Franklin and Hampshire Career Center are sponsoring their annual career services fair on Thursday, April 11, 10 am- 1 pm, GCC.

Next quarterly meeting date: While initially scheduled for June 17, it has been rescheduled to June 24. Holyoke Public Library, 1st floor conference room.

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