Secure Jobs Connect  Advisory Committee
January 14, 2014

In attendance:  Toni Bator, HAPHousing, Bud Delphin, CareerPoint, Ken Demers, New England Farm Workers Council,  Joanne Glier, DTA, Steve Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council, Lisa Lapierre, Darlene Morse, Secure Jobs Connect/CareerPoint, Bill Mulholland, Berkshire Community College, Rexene Picard, FutureWorks, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Jay Sacchetti, ServiceNet, Robin Sherman, Franklin County  Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Alice Styles, Greenfield Community College, Diana Sznyal, Representative Kocot’s office, Rep. Aaron Vega, Ken White, Holyoke Community College

Debriefed on SJC Celebration of 1/10/14

  • Fantastic event!
  • Personal stories most powerful
  • Rep. Vega: best thing he has been involved in all year!
  • A reflection of the excellent structure of the program – individualized focus, flexibility at a maximum, intensive case management is critical
  • Encouraged business involvement
  • Encouraged legislative investment
  • Immediate impact: an SJC client obtained employment AT the event!
  • As part of follow-up, consider client letters of thanks to the Fireman Foundation so Paul and Phyllis can read directly about the impact of their contribution

Commonwealth Corporation Grant Update

Will primarily focus in Hampshire, Franklin, Berkshire Counties and will bring Franklin/Hampshire Career Center, and Construct, Inc. into the team.   Eligibility criteria is broader in that it serves any homeless individual, not just families.  Committed to enroll 64, employ 38.  Will officially launch on 2/15.  Still negotiating with CommCorp to ensure flexibility in program model (not classes but individualized attention).

Reviewed the breakdown of our current collaborations:

HAP/FutureWorks:  serves individuals with the most barriers, e.g., language barrier or no work history
HAP/CareerPoint: serves individuals with least barriers, really ready to work
CPM/CareerPoint/ServicNet: serves individuals with small to medium barriers, e.g., need of a certificate or training or day care voucher or transportation – discrete needs that can be met with some intervention

Agreed that Secure Jobs Connect now refers to our whole umbrella (not just Fireman Funded project), with multiple spokes of a job development wheel.

DHCD Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein announced new $1 million RFP to expand this program across the state.  Our brainstorm in anticipation:

We need to grow this model that works.
Rep. Vega offered to write a letter of support if useful.
Discussion of criteria:  advocate for job development services to be available to all homeless and at-risk families, including shelter, motel, HomeBASE and RAFT.  Pamela will communicate this recommendation to Undersecretary Gornstein and ICHH director Liz Rogers.

Discussion of MassLEAP

DHCD will soon release another RFP  (Mass LEAP) to serve residents in public housing or subsidized housing. .Goal is to create economic mobility among state-assisted households so they can improve their financial circumstances,  and eventually get to point where they don’t need assistance to free it up for others.

Committee members expressed concern that the population for this proposal is defined too narrowly, e.g., must be working in the last 6 months to qualify for services.  Lisa pointed out that SJC has seen some of the greatest success with people who have never worked before.  She agreed to collect data on that to follow-up.

Additional funding/marketing outreach:
United Way of Berkshire County followed-up after the SJC celebration last week, expressing interest in supporting the effort in Berkshire County.
Lisa noted that with increased staff they should be able to network and market the program more.

Other outreach ideas:

  • Build  a “speakers bureau” of clients who have experienced success so they serve as ambassadors of this initiative.
  • Connect to HAP/CareerPoint award ceremonies – they happen about twice a year – celebrations of graduates of their program.  Currently internal events but we should consider making them more public and inviting local legislators, etc.  Will talk more next time one is scheduled.

Discussion of transportation barriers in rural counties:
We agreed we need to look at alternatives to meeting the transportation barriers, including:

  • Outreach to regional transit authorities to increase routes/times
  • Explore a van services (that we run)
  • Explore asset building program that leads to car ownership
  • Explore whether car/rental/transportation companies  would be willing to donate transportation services for SJC clients

Lisa shared that CTI (in Eastern Mass.) has an interesting car ownership/asset building model that she will learn more about and report back.

Update on Training/Motivational interviewing:

As part of the Fireman grant, the organization T3 provided 2 full days of training to staff across all of SJC around motivational interviewing of clients.  Very helpful and would like to continue it as new staff come on board.

Next meeting:
Monday, 2/24, 3:30- 4:45
Will confirm whether Frost Building works for meeting space.

«   »

Return to full list of blog posts.