Secure Jobs Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes
March 17, 2015

In attendance: Toni Bator, HAPHousing, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Donna Harris, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Dave Gadaire , CareerPoint, Joanne LaCour, DTA, Lisa Lapierre, CPM, Darlene Morse, CareerPoint, Bill Mulholland, Berkshire Community College, Konrad Rogowski, FutureWorks, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Robin Sherman, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority

Commonwealth Corporation update: Lisa shared a quarterly report provided by Commonwealth Corporation (click here) demonstrating where each funded program was at in relation to its goals. We are doing great!

CommonWorks Pre-Apprenticeship Program update: Lisa shared that Secure Jobs is working with ComomonWorks Training program designed to increase the number of women and minorities in building trades apprenticeships. This program will prepare 20 people in Springfield and 20 in Holyoke to successfully enter trade unions in response to the MGM and I-91 construction projects. Programs will start in next month and repeat with fall cohorts.

GCC collaboration: Mike Truckey of Franklin Hampshire Career Center and Lisa met with Greenfield Community College in response to their outreach to offer greater resource to families living in Greenfield hotels. They are discussing the possibility of a jobs fair at the college. Lisa will distribute more information as soon as available.

Overall Secure Jobs budget review: We discussed funding situation across all programs. There will be more in-depth discussion of Hampden County’s DHCD funded program and the need for some reallocation of line-items (e.g., retention awards) with all funded partners on Thursday, 3/19, at HAP.

We discussed the timing on second year Fireman Funding. Due to the program’s late start of October (first enrollments happened in January), Lisa checked in with Sue Beaton and received confirmation that we could determine a new “end” date for this funding year. We agreed that since first enrollments occurred in January, we would make January, 2016 the end date for meeting all program goals. Lisa will check back in with Sue.

Toni noted that DHCD has stated the priority that all funds from the FY15 budget ($60K to the Western region) must be completely spent by 6/30 (end of the fiscal year). We discussed the fact that we have significant child care funds remaining (which will be reallocated) due to the positive fact that 90% of clients have DTA vouchers making expenses on child care less necessary.

Survey Review: Toni conducted an informal survey of housing stabilization providers regarding their experience of Secure Jobs.  11 responses were collected.  We agreed that we would revisit the notion of a survey, establishing what we’re trying to accomplish with it and from there who should be surveyed and what questions we should ask. Ken, Robin, Lisa, Toni and Pamela agreed to follow-up to discuss further.

February Progress Report (click here). We noted that for the DHCD funded program, retention is an issue. The group noted the under-utilization of the Gift Cards for 30 days employed. Ken spoke about further strengthening the relationships with the businesses that employ our participants in order to get retention info and to ensure clients sigh releases so that staff can discuss the participant with the business.   It also may be useful to focus discussion at intake about long-term retention goals and to request paystubs at the start. The Hampden County group will discuss this issue in more depth at the meeting on Thursday.

It was also noted that Comm Corp’s first year of funding ended on 2/28 and CPM is now in the process of drawing up new sub-contracts for Franklin Hampshire Career Center and Construct. These contracts will be performance based. ServiceNet in the Berkshires is not renewing its sub-contract. We discussed the challenges around meeting CommCorp goals, including their documentation requirements (must have pay stubs which can be difficult to obtain). In general, it was noted that the great success of the Fireman funded programs is in large part a reflection of their flexibility to adapt services to meet individual client needs. Re: enrollments for Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin Counties: Donna (of FHCC) noted that referrals have increased from the Franklin Housing Authority and one client was placed in employment as recently as yesterday.

Legislative Advocacy Update: Pamela reported that the Governor’s budget included $500,000 for Secure Jobs (the same amount as in the FY15 budget). However, we are advocating for $2 million in order to effectively level fund the program statewide ($1.5 came from the Housing Stabilization Trust Fund and Fireman supplemented as well). Advocacy is ongoing around this goal and Pamela is scheduling meetings with area legislators that will include discussion of this program as a Network priority.

CWC Sturbridge Conference on May 7: all 4 career centers are presenting on Secure Jobs. Kudos to everyone!

Next meeting: Tuesday, April 14, 3:30-4:30 pm, presumably HCC but location to be confirmed.

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