Secure Jobs Connect Meeting Minutes
December 16, 2014

In attendance: Toni Bator, HAPHousing, Bud Delphin, CareerPoint, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Harry Duchesne, NEFWC, Donna Harris, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Lisa Lapierre, CPM, Darlene Morse, CareerPoint, Judy Raper, Greenfield Community College, George Ryan, Hampden County REB, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Robin Sherman, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority,

Progress Report – Click here for Page 1 and here for Page 2.

Referral rate is now steady, thanks to greater engagement of housing providers (the 11/14 “rally” that brought together 100 housing, shelter, and RAFT workers to share information on the program made a big difference). There have been 28 new referrals since that event. We also noted the impression made by Cindy Ferguson speaking at the event, a participant in Secure Jobs who is now employed full-time at CPM as a member of Secure Jobs staff. Inspiring!

Enrollments are also solid. CPM is now in charge of all assessments and enrollments, sending participants to Future Works or CareerPoint after assessment is complete and initial barriers (eg child care) are resolved.

We discussed the issue of job retention, noting that this number may not be completely accurate due to some database challenges (IT provider changeover caused a glitch that put the database on hold for 2 weeks, just back on line now). We noted that Darlene Morse was out of the country for several weeks and is now back, offering her support around job retention, which will be an excellent addition. She is also working in conjunction with the financial literacy specialist at CP.

There will be another “rally” after the holidays, this time likely focusing on recruiting the people who completed the career center cohorts but do not yet have jobs. This would be an opportunity to focus on increasing placements.

We discussed the award of MRVPs tied to Secure Jobs programs. 11 MRVP subsidies were allocated to our region. Lisa is working closely with 3 recipients, all of whom are having a hard time leasing up due to the low Fair Market Rents allowed by MRVP (not allowed to exceed $772-774/month). Between the FMR limit and the lack of a utility allowance, it is very difficult to make the MRVP work. We discussed the possibility of obtaining a waiver from DHCD to exceed (by a small margin) the FMR limit. Toni and Lisa will follow-up about that.

CPM is now hiring its last staff person (with $60K FY15 budget funds) for Secure Jobs. This will be a great addition. The Berkshire County case manager is now in place (via CPM, based at BerkshireWorks). She is doing great and beginning on enrollments. They have a formalized referral process in place with Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority.

Franklin/Hampshire Career Center update: referrals have slowed to zero this past month. One huge factor is that the over half the families living in hotels in Greenfield are from out of the area and they are hoping to return to their community of origin. The “referral pool” itself is very low as a result. As to RAFT families, Robin noted that most are employed. Robin will check in with Charity Day of FRHRA since she is more closely connected to the population and learn more about the referral situation.   We also noted the grant has only been underway 1 month so we need more time to assess.

We agreed that for upcoming meetings we would look at a county breakdown of referrals/enrollments/job placements. We agreed we need to closely evaluate as we go.

Secure Jobs Celebration – 2/6/15 – planning update

Pamela provided an update on legislator RSVPs: 8 legislators are tentative yeses at this point (all tentative due to advance date), including income Senate President Stan Rosenberg and HWM Vice-Chair Stephen Kulik and our own advisory committee members Rep. Kocot and Rep. Vega. We are so grateful for their support!

Thanks to career centers for the business recommendations. Pamela will obtain contact info and follow-up. Pamela will also invite county Chambers of Commerce (see Darlene re: Holyoke). If others have suggestions, let Pamela know.

Next meeting:   1/20 – 3:30 Northampton, Donna will check on meeting space at FH Career Center.

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