Secure Jobs Advisory Committee Meeting
June 23, 2015

In attendance: Toni Bator, HAPHousing, Ashley Brehm, HAPHousing, Sara Chaganti, Brandeis University, Bud Delphin, CareePoint, Donna Harris, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Denise Johns, Berkshire Community College, Joanne LacCour, DTA, Lisa Lapierre, CPM, Melissa Mateus, Springfield Partners, Darlene Morse, CareerPoint, Konrad Rogowski, FutureWorks, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Pamela Schwartz, Network Ken White, Holyoke Community College, Phyllis White, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Pamela Wotjkowski, CPM

Progress Reports: Click here and here

On DHCD grant, which ends 6/30, we have surpassed our enrollment goal and are at over 80% for employment and retention rates (and CareerPoint will continue to place following 6/30).

On Commonwealth Corp grant: in this last month, the program has been able to bill CommCorp for 20 client placements (great progress). Funding continues through 3/16.

On Fireman Foundation:  with the slated transfer of the contract from HAP to CPM as of 7/1, there was some confusion about the transition. Pamela Schwartz spoke yesterday with Vanessa Otero, Deputy Director of CPM, who explained that she was waiting for the contract to transfer to CPM and plans to sit down with the two grantees – BerkshireWorks and Franklin Hampshire Career Center –  to discuss new contracts for the remainder of the grant period (until 1/31/16). There is concern that if a contract is not in place as of 7/1 there will be a break in services.

UPDATE AS OF 6/30/15: Due to the reorganization taking place at CPM/NEFWC right now, it has been decided that HAP will continue to administer the Fireman Foundation grant through FY16.

We also agreed that any discussion around the potential need for any reallocation of funds based on performance goals (and rate of client intake) must wait until the contract issues are resolved. We will pick up this question and related process questions at our next meeting.

Brandeis updated that they are meeting with DHCD and Fireman this week to learn more about the prospect for upcoming funding for this fiscal year

 FY16 state funding update:

Pamela reported that the state budget is currently in Conference Committee where the House and Senate are working out differences (House: $600K for Secure Jobs; Senate: $750K). HAP was advised that they learned from DHCD that they will get $60K (a portion of the state funding, divided among the SJ funded programs across the state) for FY16 as of this time. Fireman has also advised that they will contribute $500 for the year to the program statewide – allocating $250 in the first 6 months and continuing with another $250K based on performance outcomes.

In response to both the state funding loss and the desired goal to increase integration of workforce development in rehousing efforts:

HAP is hiring 2 employment specialists (supervised by Ashley Brehm);

CHD has hired an employment specialist;

NEFWC is restructuring its shelter services and increasing focus on workforce development

On data collection: with the end of Lisa’s position as of 6/30, the group expressed great concern about the continuity of the data collection effort. CPM has advised the Network that it will ensure training and continuity of services. The group learned from Lisa that she has not yet heard who is taking over this role and when training is to tae place. She thinks this information will become clear in the next day or so. She will keep us posted as soon as she knows.

HUD Technical Assistance offer:

As follow-up to the federal jobs summit in DC last October (Western MA as one of 11 communities invited to share its Secure Jobs experience), HUD has reached out to offer technical assistance on our employment programs for the homeless population we serve. The phone call is scheduled for tomorrow. We reviewed the initial brainstorm of topics for possible TA, including: best practices guidance around integrating employment specialists within housing organizations; best practices around program sustainability in view of declining state funding and precarious private funding; and continuing the conversation regarding reducing career center barriers to serving the homeless population and retention strategies. Pamela will report back on the call at our next meeting.

Western MA Opening Doors Plan

Pamela summarized the Opening Doors Plan – our region’s alignment of our work with the federal Opening Doors Plan that will provide a data-driven blueprint for our efforts to end homelessness. She shared that based on committee feedback (individual, family, youth, veterans), the Plan will include “workforce development” in every sub-population’s strategies to end homelessness. All agreed this was appropriate.

Thank you to Lisa Lapierre

Lisa Lapierre’s last day at CPM and therefore at Secure Jobs will be on June 30. We all expressed our gratitude for Lisa’s extraordinary leadership over these last 2 years that resulted in hundreds of homeless families and individuals becoming employed and achieving greater housing stability. Her commitment and skill and innovation have been a cornerstone of this program’s success. Thank you, Lisa. We will miss you greatly!

Next meeting: Tuesday, July 24, 3:30-4:30 pm, Franklin Hampshire Career Center


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