For Immediate Release - December 12, 2013


Grant funding awarded to local and regional organizations to provide more than 320 homeless individuals with sustainable employment

BOSTON – December 12, 2013 – Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein today announced $1.7 million in state funding to place more than 320 homeless individuals in stable employment opportunities.  The funding will be awarded in the form of grants to seven organizations working in all regions of the state to help individuals get back to work. 

“Supporting employment programs for homeless individuals is one of the many resources the Patrick Administration is committed to providing so that homeless individuals and families can return to a path of stability and self-sufficiency,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein. “There are countless programs throughout the Commonwealth focused on this cause, and we are pleased to partner with seven exemplary organizations to train and place hundreds in sustainable employment.”

“Sometimes all it takes is a job for a homeless person to become a self-reliant tenant,” said Aaron Gornstein, Undersecretary for the Department of Housing and Community Development. “Sometimes it takes training and a bit of help for a person to find that job.  These agencies have done extraordinary work over the years, and I am sure will provide the services and support that their program participants will need to find a job in our growing economy.”

The grant funding is targeted to support training for unemployed or underemployed residents, 18 years or older, who are homeless and in need of training and or job placements.  Commonwealth Corporation will work with the seven awarded grant recipients over the next two years to prepare, support and place more than 320 homeless individuals in sustainable employment in all regions of the Commonwealth.

Grantees were required to work collaboratively with local employers to further ensure successful placement of targets individuals.  These employers are committed to the shared goal of meaningful and sustainable employment for this population. 

“By including businesses in these partnerships that will train and place homeless individuals, we are ensuring that there are real jobs at the end of the training program,” said Nancy Snyder, President of Commonwealth Corporation.

The seven grant recipients, awarded amount, and proposals include:

Career Center of Lowell, $250,000

Municipalities: Lowell, Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Tewskbury, Tyngsborough, and Westford

The Career Center of Lowell (CCL) 1st S.T.E.P (Sustainable and Transitional Employment Program) initiative will focus on assisting individuals experiencing homelessness with building the skills necessary to becoming employable and self-sustaining. The CCL will partner with Community Teamwork Inc., Lowell Transitional Living Center, and the Lowell regional office of the Department of Transitional Assistance to deliver services to individuals residing in the Greater Lowell region. The goal of this program is to help stabilize participant’s lives with housing and employment in addition to providing appropriate support services. This program will aim to serve 50 homeless individuals.

“The Career Center of Lowell looks forward to implementing our 1st S.T.E.P (Sustainable and Transitional Employment Program) initiative,” said Barbara O’Neil, Director of the Career Center of Lowell. “This opportunity, provided through the Commonwealth Corporation, allows the CCL and its partners to make a meaningful impact for the participants. By focusing on comprehensive case managed employment support services, one-on-one and group classroom instruction, and job placement, we know the program will be very successful.”

COMPASS for Kids, Inc., $245,374

Municipalities: Lawrence, Haverhill, and other Merrimack Valley cities and towns

The COMPASS Community Collaborative Lawrence Program will build on the work the program has accomplished over the past two years, focusing on providing substantial education, support and paid on-the-job training for homeless and at-risk parents, while emphasizing: employment, employment retention and advancement, housing stability and debt reduction. The COMPASS Community Collaborative Program in Lawrence aims for similar outcomes going forward, providing assessment driven, employment-focused services for at least 50 homeless parents.

“We are delighted to be funded by Commonwealth Corporation to extend and improve our successful, specialized workforce training and job placement efforts for homeless parents,” said Executive Director Jodi Hill. “Commonwealth Corporation’s support will ensure that dozens of homeless parents become employed and, with long-term COMPASS for kids coaching and support, make gradual progress toward self-sufficiency.”

Corporation for Public Management, $230,000

Municipalities: Cities and towns in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire Counties

This project will support the Western Homeless Employment Network (WHEN) initiative, a new partnership between the Corporation for Public Management, the Franklin Hampshire Career Center, ServiceNet and Construct, four workforce development and social service agencies, which will address the acute shortage of employment and training programs for homeless individuals in Western Massachusetts. The four organizations will provide access to career exploration, education, skills training, job readiness training, job placement and ongoing support to overcome the challenges to achieving self-sufficiency. The program will serve 70 homeless individuals.

"This funding will increase access to workforce development services to homeless individuals and families, thereby ensuring housing stabilization through career exploration, education, skills training, job readiness training, job placement and ongoing support," said Vice President of Employment and Training, Ken Demers. "This grant will provide opportunities for personal and professional growth to those who have been unsuccessful in overcoming the myriad of challenges in achieving self-sufficiency resulting from limited access to individualized support and guidance."

Father Bill’s & MainSpring, Inc., $249,987

Municipalities: Cities and towns in Southeastern Massachusetts and the South Shore region with main program locations in Brockton, Plymouth, and Quincy

Father Bill’s & MainSpring (FBMS), in partnership with the South Shore Career Centers in Quincy and Plymouth, CareerWorks Brockton, and Massasoit Community College, will create WorkReady-South Shore, a project to engage homeless job seekers in order to provide them with training and skills building to place them into employment. WorkReady-South Shore will build on a longstanding partnership between FBMS and the Quincy Career Center and expand the model to all three Career Centers in the region, add more job-readiness and training resources, and open these resources to all homeless individuals and families in need of short-term job-readiness assistance in order to obtain employment. WorkReady-South Shore will serve 70 homeless individuals.

“Over the past four years, Father Bill’s & MainSpring has helped more than 500 homeless people get jobs. Thanks to this generous grant from Commonwealth Corporation, we’ll be able to do even more,” said Paul Key, Director of Workforce Development. “We will expand our model, WorkReady-South Shore, to be region-wide and will open access to homeless individuals and families. Working with the Career Centers in Quincy, Brockton and Plymouth, as well as with Massasoit Community College and employers, we will help more than 70 homeless job seekers to gain skills and employment. This is a great opportunity to advance our mission of ending homelessness on the South Shore and to do this with a group of dedicated partners.”

Project Place, Inc., $250,000

Municipalities: Cities and towns in Greater Boston

Project Place is seeking to strengthen its Workforce Development program with a new, intensive component where clients receive enhanced in-depth skills-training. Project Place also runs three businesses as part of their Social Enterprises piece that provide paid employment for clients. A new On- the-Job Trainer (OJT) will work with Social Enterprise clients needing more in-depth training both pre-job placement in the enterprise and while on the job. This new component will improve the likelihood of the completion of Project Place’s transitional job program and ensure greater success in transitioning into mainstream employment. Through this initiative, Project Place will serve 200 homeless individuals.

“We are thrilled to partner with Commonwealth Corporation and honored to receive funding for career advancement programming at Project Place. Specifically the funds will support intensive on the job training and career counseling, including credentialing in in-demand industries, and preparing our folks to be more competitive in obtaining employment. Project Place strongly believes that work helps to stabilize the lives of the men and women who cross our threshold as evidenced by our job training graduate's successes- the partnership with Commonwealth Corporation will add the needed dimension of specific skill training, to increase job retention and wages, and ultimately break the cycle of homelessness” said Suzanne Kenney, Executive Director of Project Place.

St. Francis House, $250,000

Municipalities: Cities and towns in Greater Boston

St. Francis House, the largest day center in New England, is a nonsectarian, nonprofit daytime shelter which provides basic and rehabilitation services designed to help homeless adults establish lives independent of shelters and institutions. The Center accomplishes this goal through its Moving Ahead Program (MAP) which focuses on vocational rehabilitation by preparing individuals with histories of homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse, and incarceration for employment.  MAP assists participants in securing meaningful employment that will provide not only economic self-sufficiency, but also offer them a sense of satisfaction to ensure their continued employment over the long term. Through this program, St. Francis House will serve 90 homeless individuals.

“I’m deeply grateful to the Commonwealth Corporation for supporting the Sullivan Family Moving Ahead Program (MAP),” said Karen LaFrazia, Executive Director of St. Francis House. “MAP teaches the life and vocational skills necessary to obtain employment and create meaningful careers. For so many of our guests, a good job is the solution that will permanently end their experience of homelessness. This grant will enable MAP students to achieve a pathway to independence and discover the deep satisfaction that comes from the dignity of work.”

South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Inc., $240,500

Municipalities: City of Worcester

South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Inc. (SMOC) will fund a workforce development program to address the acute workforce development needs of the homeless population of the City of Worcester. The proposed training program entitled Pathways to Employment offers two training tracks aimed at full-time employment placements including 1) Ready Willing and Able (RWA), a social enterprise alternative staffing agency that will provide 36 individuals with job readiness training through employment opportunities with support in day-labor jobs within SMOC and in contracted positions with local businesses and 2) The Green Jobs Academy (GJA) that will provide 36 individuals with job readiness and skills training education, on-the-job training, and job placements for in-demand living-wage jobs in the weatherization industry.  In total, SMOC will serve 72 homeless individuals.

“The South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC) is delighted and excited about the grant of $240,000 we have received from Commonwealth Corporation to establish a workforce development program in the Worcester region,” Jim Cuddy, SMOC’s Executive Director stated: “We are tremendously grateful for the opportunity this grant gives us to help formerly homeless individuals in the Worcester region to develop new workplace and adult education skills and to obtain and sustain stable and successful employment with good wages. Pathways to Employment, as this program is called, will enhance and expand two employment models that we have used successfully that have shown great promise in helping people to get and keep good jobs.  The program will also work closely with employers and prospective employers to provide incentives for participating in this exciting new program through employer outreach and education, including opportunities for employers to take advantage of various workforce tax credits. We are looking forward to the many positive outcomes this program will produce both for the individuals in the program and for the Commonwealth as a whole.”

To learn more about the Commonwealth Corporation’s Employment Programs for Special Target Populations, please visit our site

To learn more about resources available to support homeless individuals and families in Massachusetts, visit the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development: