Career Services Committee Meeting Minutes – 4/11/18
In attendance: Luis Arzola, CHD, Bud Delphin, CareerPoint, Emily English, Gandara Center, Rebecca Guimond, STCC, Jeff Hayden, HCC, Anne Kandilis, Springfield Works, Joanne LaCour, DTA, Lisa Lapierre, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Madeline Martinez, Way Finders, Pamela Mendes, Western MA Employment Collaborative, Darlene Morse, Holyoke Works, Konrad Rogowski, Future Works, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Alyce Stiles, GCC, Christine Ventulett-Buckley, Western MA Employment Collaborative, Tracye Whitfield, HCC/STCC
Presentation by Western MA Employment Collaborative
Pamela Mendes and Christine Ventulett-Buckley, employment liaisons for the Western MA Employment Collaborative, shared information about their program and what they offer.  Formed 3 years ago in Western MA with funding from DDS and DMH (there are 6 collaboratives statewide), it provides resources for job developers in the region (e.g., career centers) and businesses, supporting employment efforts for disabled individuals. The criteria for disability is very widely defined, physical or mental illness and does not require particular documentation.
Pamela and Christine run a job developers networking meeting that meets bi-weekly.  Contact either Pamela at [email protected] or Christine at [email protected] to get connected!
Homelessness Resource Fair for Providers
Pamela provided an update on the planning for the Network’s second annual Homelessness Resource Fair for Providers that is taking place on Thursday, June 14, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm at HCC. Last year over 200 people attended.  The Fair will offer a series of workshops on various topics, including career services (led by career centers).  Stay tuned on receiving further notice and registering for either table space or as a participant.
Language barriers to employment; lack of ESOL opportunities
The group discussed the increasing challenge of lack of ESOL – wait lists as high as several hundred – and how this shortage is adding significantly to employment barriers to non-native English speakers.  It was noted how language training is increasingly being linked to particular job skills (e.g., learning English for cooking or for health care positions).  It was agreed that the lack of language learning resources is fundamentally a funding issue and that we need to learn more about the advocacy statewide and meet with our state legislators on the issue.  Lisa will follow up with Center for New Americans to get some additional insight on statewide work.  Pamela will reach out to Senator Lesser and Representative Vega to begin to schedule a meeting with our legislative delegation.
Alyce of GCC also noted the disconnect around the under-enrollment of ESOL classes at GCC and the resulting reduction/consolidation in classes that is happening.  Will investigate that further to see how gap can be closed.
  • National emergency grant to assist PR evacuees has been approved for all the career centers and resources are now available to to provide training and other employment support.
  • Youth with disability program, serving youth ages 14 to 24, is available at career centers – providing career pathways and support. Contact any career center for more info.
  • Gaming school trainings are happening and scholarships are available; contact Jeff Hayden at HCC to learn more
  • Learn to Earn: Commonwealth Corp funded collaboration with GCC, HCC, career centers, hospitals – recruitment will start shortly for a pre-training program that will take place this summer for 6 weeks.  The people who complete it will be enrolled in a 9 month medical assistant program and earn national certification.  Mostly online learning with weekly classes at HCC; transportation and child care are provided.  Eligibility criteria: must be a recipient of either TAFDC, SNAP, WIC, day care voucher or Mass Health. Contact career centers for more info. This program is designed as a direct response to the “cliff effect” challenge.
Next meeting: Wed., May 9, 3 pm – 4:30 pm, HCC.

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