Secure Jobs Connect Advisory Committee
April 8, 2014

In attendance:  Toni Bator, HAPHousing, Ken Demers, New England Farm Workers Council, Donna Harris, Franklin/Hampshire Career Center, Joanne Glier, DTA, Lisa Lapierre, Corporation for Public Management, Bill Monterosso, Berkshire Works, Darlene Morse, CareerPoint, Alexandra Revis, Brandeis, Konrad Rogowski, Future Works, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Robin Sherman, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Ken White, Holyoke Community College, Phyllis White, FH Career Center

Reviewed March/end of grant period progress report:

Note:  due to timing of meeting, and data preparation, Lisa offered an informal write-up with summary data.  I will send along the formal March progress report as soon as data is updated.

Summary report:

SJC enrolled 95 individuals (goal: 96)

SJC employed 60 individuals (goal 75)

SJC has retained jobs for 51 (with 4 more in active job search, which would bring it up to 55) (goal 61).

Retention rate is at 85%  (goal: 80%).  Fantastic outcome.  Note that retention numbers were almost fully achieved without needing the original number of job placements.

Other updates:

SJC is working with HCC and Square One to run a supplemental early childhood development class to help individuals achieve assistant teacher status, which would provide full-time hours.

SJC is continuing to work on car ownership deal, now connecting to program called More than Wheels based in Eastern MA  (follows the client for 2 years, provides multiple facets of support).

On housing stability:   Of all families served, 2 families have returned to shelter.  Both heads of household have fully participated in the program, done everything they can do but the bottom line is that the income is not enough to pay the rent.  We agreed we need to track these examples for policy purposes to demonstrate the vital need for subsidies for these families to make stable housing work.  Alex of Brandeis confirmed that they are collecting this data and will include it in their final analysis.

HAP reported that no individuals who obtained employment from CP or FW have re-entered shelter.

Lisa reported that one of her clients wants to meet with Rep. Aaron Vega (her representative) to share her challenge regarding the inability to maintain her stability once she had to more fully pay for her child care voucher (as her income rose, per DTA regulations).  Another very important policy conversation. Lisa and Pamela will discuss other possible outreach by this client if she feels comfortable doing it,

Year 2 under SJC (with limited Fireman support):  SJC will continue to work with 9 people who are enrolled who have not yet been employed as well as 4 clients who have fallen off of their first job and are working on finding new employment.  Will do job retention work for everyone who is working.

Western Homeless Employment Network update (CommCorp funding)

Start-up  occurred on 3/15; working with Franklin/Hampshire Career Center, Construct in Great Barrington, ServiceNet in Pittsfield

17 enrollments in Franklin/Hampshire
17 enrollments in Hampden
17 in Great Barrington
10 in Pittsfield

Everyone has met, connected to the same data network, in process of identifying/working out referral system.  Each client must have 10 hours of service to be considered enrolled.

Veteran outreach:

Pamela shared the work of the Network Veterans committee, specifically pertaining veteran employment services being offered by Springfield Partners for Community Action and Veterans Inc.  We agreed that Pamela would invite reps to next SJC meeting to discuss and maximum cross-referrals.

Discussion of  lack of school age summer child care/camp for employed parents

Pamela brought to the table the discussion that took place earlier that day at the Family Services Committee regarding the looming crisis facing newly employed parents and the lack of summer child care for their school age children.  We agreed that this Advisory Committee is the appropriate place to brainstorm solutions.

The crisis concerns families who are not receiving TAFDC (as those who are receive child care vouchers).  DHCD offers VERY limited number of vouchers for school age children in Western Mass.  Last year, SJC families made it through the summer through HAP’s generous purchase of child care slots, which is not possible for them to do again this year.

We agreed that the first thing to do was a get a scope of the challenge, to understand the rough cost (and contrast it with the cost of these families returning to shelter and receiving TAFDC again).  Lisa and Toni of HAP will do a review of their families and report back.

Next step would be to identify relevant state departments, draft letter, copy legislators, setting forth what the program needs, how much, when, to prevent these families from losing their jobs and returning to shelter.

Lisa and Ken are talking to Fireman tomorrow about a few matters and will include this issue in the call.

Also agreed we need to review whether and where the slots exist in Western Mass., i.e., if we had the resources to pay for it, are the places there to go?  Lisa and Toni will also collate the list of locations in Hampden County.

Next meeting:
May 6
HCC, Frost Building (location to be confirmed)

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