I have been to a number of anti-poverty agencies across the state and my awe at the dedication and effort of the people who work at these agencies has yet to subside.
I know that I have written before about how Governor Patrick wants to make sure that we know in detail how the stimulus funds are working, so for this trip I paid a visit to the Worcester Community Action Council to see firsthand the impact of its stimulus funds. Once again, I was amazed at what this agency does to help some of the poorest in its city. Jill Daglis, the energetic executive director of the agency told me that the agency works with 72,000 families annually with that number rising consistently by 1,000 every year for the last few years. "Everyone here jumps in and does what it takes," she said.
This was evident once I heard from the staff whose programs received stimulus funding. Miurka Torres, the agency's housing specialist told me that thanks to the intake forms from the summer youth program – a program Jill told me also received stimulus funds – they discovered that many of the participants were homeless. "We ask all different types of questions so we can help them get what they need," she told me. They also discovered, Jill told me, that many of these youth were hungry so – of course – they created a nutrition program.
The agency's weatherization program, is on target to weatherize 1,196 homes with stimulus funds. But, as with any of the state's stimulus-funded weatherization programs the impact goes way beyond the warmer, more energy efficient homes: Mark Sanborn, the director of Energy Resources for the agency told me that they increased their contractor base from 10 to 19 and those contractors increased their crews. That's more people working and taking care of their families.
The list went on and on. The agency was able to expand its Head Start program with its stimulus awards, it helped more people with fuel assistance and it expanded its Job and Education Center. Judy Finkel, the director of the Center told me she was able to put together coaching, networking and training programs and with stimulus funds she hired 7 people who had been laid off. Again, the impact is multiplied:That's seven people who can help so many more people get trained and get jobs.
"All seven of us are trying to get our clients on the right track," Judy told me.
The same could be said for everyone at this agency – they are doing all they can to help those in Worcester who are struggling to get through this tough recession and to get back on their feet. I know I've said it before but it bears repeating: I'm just glad stimulus can help them do that.
Worcester Community Action Council, Inc, (WCAC) held its 45th Anniversary Celebration Event on April 28, 2010 at Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA. WCAC's 45th Event celebrated the many organizations that have helped to contribute to WCAC's achievements over the years, along with key action heroes. This year's Action Heroes recognized included: Unum, Seven Hills Foundation, Main South Community Development Corporation, Center of Hope, Energy All Stars, Smith & Jones, NSTAR Electric & Gas Corporation, Webster Five Cents Savings Bank, Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce and Education Foundation, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, and Charter-TV3.
At the same time, WCAC was thrilled to announce the establishment of the Senator Edward M. Kennedy Education Scholarship Program that was generously sponsored by National Grid and Quinsigamond Community College Foundation. The Scholarship Program will assist young people graduating from WCAC's GED and Job & Education Center programs, as they pursue higher education. WCAC also recognized the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy; his support and advocacy have been invaluable to our success over the past 45 years. We were honored that Mrs. Victoria Reggie Kennedy served as our keynote speaker and accepted an award on the late Senator's behalf.
Thank you to the many sponsors, in-kind donors, WCAC employees, volunteers, agency partners, community members, and guests for making WCAC's 45th Anniversary Celebration such a special and momentous occasion!
Click here to view photos
Thursday, April 29, 2010 - Kennedy keynotes WCAC meeting Senator's widow shares enthusiasm
By Steven H. Foskett Jr. THE TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
||Victoria Reggie Kennedy stands with Jill C. Dagilis, executive director of the Worcester Community Action Council, at the "People Helping People" awards night at Mechanics Hall last night. (T&G Staff/STEVE LANAVA)
WORCESTER — Victoria Reggie Kennedy told the audience gathered last night for the Worcester Community Action Council's 45th anniversary celebration that the antipoverty organization is as vital today as it was when it was created as an outgrowth of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty.
Ms. Kennedy, widow of the late Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, said her husband respected the work the Worcester organization does, and commended it for recommitting its efforts even as similar organizations are suffering in the tough economic times.
"Some people said caring for the poor was a luxury we couldn't afford, that it was out of style, that it was a losing political issue," Ms. Kennedy told the audience of around 500 people at Mechanics Hall. "But you knew we were talking about human beings, not politics, and you never stopped doing everything you're about, to make lives better."
The 45th anniversary celebration also included the organization's Action Hero Awards, given to individuals, groups, and businesses who have had an impact on the council's efforts.
The organization also announced the creation of the Edward M. Kennedy Scholarship Program, which will provide assistance for tuition, books, and supplies to college-bound youths. The scholarship will be funded by National Grid and the Quinsigamond Community College fund.
Deborah Penta, chairman of the board of directors at the council, called the late senator the organization's "superhero," and said his support of anti-poverty initiatives over the years, including the Economic Opportunity Act, which helped create organizations like the council, made him a worthy namesake for the scholarship.
Ms. Kennedy said organizations such as the Worcester one create hope for many individuals and families, and show them there are people who are there for them.
She said the organization reflects an ideal that the community and government can work together to make a difference in the lives of the poor.
She said the organization, which oversees groups that provide fuel assistance, summer jobs programs and green energy initiatives, has goals that dovetail nicely with anti-poverty initiatives included in President Barack Obama's efforts to provide economic stimulus.
She also said that Mr. Kennedy's passion for health care reform, which was recently signed into law, fits into the Worcester council's mission to help the poor.
"Health care reform is the most important social program since the War on Poverty started 45 years ago," Ms. Kennedy said.
"We know that despite its great history, the Worcester Community Action Council's greatest days are still ahead," she said.
The 45th Hero Award recipients were: Unum; Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce; Blackstone Valley Education Foundation; Center of Hope; Seven Hills Foundation; Energy All-Stars; NSTAR; Main South Community Development Corp.; Webster Five Cents Savings Bank; Smith & Jones; Greater Worcester Community Foundation; and Charter TV3.
On the job: Donna J. McGrath, Organizational Development Administrator,
Worcester Community Action Council
What do you do?
"My responsibilities include fundraising, technical writing and editing reports and proposals; public relations, events, program development, legislative work and being a representative of the agency on different community projects. It's quite broad."
How did you get into this job?
"WCAC was started in 1965 under president Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, and funded under the Economic Opportunity Act. Under the federal regulations for the agency, it must have a tripartite type board, with one-third from the private sector, one-third community sector and one-third public sector representatives. When I worked for the city, city manager (Thomas) Hoover appointed me to the board. I was here for five years. I just fell in love with the agency for all the good work that they do. I think people know more about us now, because that was one of the reasons the position was created, to raise awareness of the programs we have. There are about 20, and they range from emergency services through economic self-sufficiency. We have a continuum, and our goal is for them (clients) to go through that continuum, to transition from one level to the other."
Do you think the WCAC is still under the radar for most people in the city surrounding area?
"I think so, but in the past three years we've made reintroductions to many organizations, to reintroduce them to our programs. Businesses have employees who need our services."
Do you see the need for the services offered here increasing?
"We do, and we see this need frequently in our fuel assistance program. In our fuel program, for 2007 there were 11,000 households, not just individuals, but households, applying for fuel assistance. In 2008 there were 12,000 — and in 2009, 15,000. The program starts Nov. 1. So far this year we've had 16,000 apply for fuel assistance. … Any morning at 7 or 7:30, there are people lining up outside. We're seeing a lot of people who are in foreclosure, or who are unemployed. The line (between) poverty and the middle class is really blurring.
"This past summer we submitted a competitive proposal to the Central Mass. Regional Employment Board for Workforce Investment Act funds for summer jobs for young people, ages 16 to 24. It was a very short timeframe to get the program up and running, but we served over 500 people in Worcester and the surrounding area. They were employed for seven weeks in summer jobs. The thrust of the program was to reach highly at-risk young people, and most of them were out of school.
Each year we run the summer jobs program for youth 14 to 21, mostly in-school youth, mostly with state funding, which got cut again. This past summer we were working with almost 1,000 youths, getting them into jobs. We don't do all this work alone; we have many partners."
Do you do educational programs here?
"Yes, we do. We have two GED (general educational development) programs. … We just opened a Job and Education Center. They have several pathways for young people. The focus is for them to get jobs, because it's stimulus funding. The first cohort to come through wanted jobs, but as they got comfortable working in the center, through computer training and financial literacy; they wanted to continue on to school. Some have taken certificate programs, and some have applied and enrolled at (Quinsigamond Community College) and are looking for part-time jobs. We have job developers working with them."
What are some other programs that people should know about?
"We have a weatherization program, and once people are eligible for fuel assistance, they are automatically eligible for our weatherization program. We have energy auditors who go out to the homes of eligible clients and do an energy audit. We have funding to support weatherization and conservation measures, such as insulation, air sealing, and some cases, repair or replacing heating systems."
What's the best part of your job?
"First, I'm a multi-tasker, so I love the variety of work that I do. I'm very fortunate that I have great colleagues to work with, as well as many great people in the community. In my city job I was able to connect with people and learn something new. Here, I learn something new every day. It could be something small, or something about a policy, but I like it. I like expanding my knowledge of business practices, and I love working with people, though I don't have much direct service components with the clients. I do have some, and I enjoy that."
What's the worst part?
"I really don't have a worst part. … Our staff has to be so careful of federal guidelines, so if we can't help someone because of those guidelines, we get frustrated, and we try to think of other ways we can help them. I think that's the hardest."
Compiled by reporter Martin E. Luttrell
To be featured in or to suggest a job profile, send information to Dave Greenslit, Telegram & Gazette, Box 15012, Worcester, MA 01615-0012, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
JOBS, JOBS, AND MORE JOBS
Congressman Jim McGovern at the Worcester Public Library with WIA Summer Jobs
participants (Photo courtesy of Mike Reno)
Congressman Jim McGovern saw firsthand how federal stimulus funding is helping young people gain employment experience. On August 4, 2009, he visited the Worcester Public Library where 12 young people are working for the summer doing library tasks such as shelving books, helping patrons access the Internet, clipping newspaper articles for the archives, and much more.
The Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. is the lead agency for the summer jobs program in Central Massachusetts. With federal Workforce Investment Act funding through the Central Mass Regional Employment Board, the agency has been able to recruit over 500 youth, secure 120 employers, and hire temporary staff to run the program within a short timeframe. The youth work 25 hours a week and are paid with stimulus funding.
This is the first time that a federal Summer Jobs program has included not only youth from Worcester and the surrounding communities, but also youth from the Blackstone Valley and South County Corridors. Jill Dagilis, Executive Director of the Worcester Community Action Council, said "We are proud to lead this important stimulus employment program for young people. "
Lucy Gangone, Head Librarian of the Worcester Public Library, said, "the Library is pleased to participate in the federal summer jobs program for youth. One of the Library's roles is to assist the community in workforce development, and this program targets an important population group for us--young people. Our patrons directly benefit from the daily assistance the youth provide to the Library by making materials and services available."
For most of the youth at the library, this is their first job experience. Several participants remarked that they were learning a lot on the job and were enjoying working as a team. A key component of the summer jobs program is the mentoring provided by the onsite supervisor, who not only oversee the youths' activities, but also help them to develop their professional work skills. Their skills were also improved through a rigorous pre-employment training.
Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. Job & Education Center students access Worcester Public Library's valuable resources with newly-opened library cards
On Wednesday, December 16, 2009, sixteen students, ages 16-24, from the Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. Job & Education Center (JEC), accompanied by the WCAC computer instructor, opened library cards at the Worcester Public Library to assist with their individualized career readiness program.
Dr. Judy Finkel, JEC Project Director and President of the WPL Board of Directors, believes that this is a truly beneficial opportunity for these young people. "We have formed a perfect partnership. The library cards will enable the students to borrow from the full range of library resources, and, most importantly, at this stage of their job and career search, to provide access to the library's vast resources including on-line data bases and services."
The JEC students, who have been enrolled in the program for 5 weeks and have completed 37.5 hours of Pre-Employment Training, are excited about this new resource, as well. "Obtaining a library card will give me the opportunity to have access to books so I can improve my reading skills. If people do not have computers like me, they can go to the library to access materials on-line. I am also looking forward to bringing my daughter there to get books, rent movies, and play computer games," said Leslie Gonzalez, JEC student.
Students were provided with a guided tour of the library, as well as a thorough explanation of the library's many valuable resources. Students were delighted to learn about free internet access, a computer lab, resume writing support, mock interview assistance, and many workshops that are open to the public. They were informed that their newly-opened library cards provided them with discounts at local attractions such as museums and theaters. For the majority of the students, this was their first-time utilizing the library.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) federally funded Job & Education Center connects participants to educational and employment supports including Adult Basic Education (ABE) and GED classes, college readiness skills, High School Credit Recovery, college certificate programs, career exploration, internship opportunities, job coaching, and job placement. Each JEC participant will receive case management and support in the transition to meaningful employment and an improved quality of life.
"We are thrilled to be able to host an alternative education program at WCAC," remarked Jill C. Dagilis, Executive Director.
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Students
Lend a Helping Hand at Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. (WCAC)
(Left to Right) Brian Ngo, Samantha Giles, Nimo Yusuf, Sailaja Thavva,
Benjamin Chow and Garrett Mason, MCPHS students 2009
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) has always made community service a top priority among its students and college mission. MCPHS has incorporated a Service-Learning requirement to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree, which integrates community service with coursework and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. First-year students are required to select from several local nonprofit organizations to perform 20 hours of community service during their first trimester.
Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. (WCAC) was fortunate to have the volunteer service of 6 students: Brian Ngo, Samantha Giles, Nimo Yusuf, Sailaja Thavva, Benjamin Chow, and Garrett Mason, over a 7-week period that began in early October. These eager, intelligent, and upbeat young people assisted WCAC staff and departments with an array of assignments. On their first day at WCAC, the students expressed their willingness to assist in any way that would be beneficial to the agency.
Mr. Ngo, Mr. Chow, and Ms. Thavva focused their efforts on one-on-one tutoring with several Project Excel and WINGS GED students. Ms. Yusuf provided office support to a new initiative at WCAC--the East African Community Outreach Center. Ms. Giles conducted community outreach for SNAP (formerly Food Stamps program) to promote the program. Mr. Mason provided support to several programs at WCAC including assisting in the Fuel Assistance Department, SNAP, Youth Employment, and Administration.
WCAC is very appreciative to have had this dedicated group of students who often worked passed their required weekly hours, for the 7-week duration. "We could not have asked for a better group of volunteers. The students provided tremendous support to many of the agency's programs. We at WCAC believe in 'paying it forward,' and the Service-Learning model exemplifies this belief. We have seen first-hand the incredible impact it has our local community organizations," said Jill C. Dagilis, Executive Director. "Thank you, students, for such wonderful work at WCAC!"
WCAC recently celebrated National Philanthropy Day
Jill Dagilis, WCAC Executive Director; Priscilla Holmes, Deputy Director; Steve Joseph,
UNUM, Deb Penta, PENTA, Jennifer Roy, UNUM, and Chris Collins, UNUM
(absent Cary Olson-Cartwright, UNUM)
WCAC recently celebrated National Philanthropy Day by honoring PENTA Communications of Westborough and UNUM in Worcester. Hosted by the Central Mass Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Deborah Penta, along with Chris Collins, Steve Joseph, and Jennifer Roy of UNUM were presented with 2009 AFP awards.
Deborah Penta, Founder and CEO of PENTA Communications, Inc., joined WCAC's Board of Directors in 2007 because she was so compelled by the agency's work to help 71,000+ income-limited people in 37 communities through 20 programs annually. Deborah constantly "pays it forward" through her work and volunteerism and her vision and generosity are boundless. Her firm revamped and maintains WCAC's website, complete the annual report design/layout, design our Action Heroes booklets/invitations, and much more—all gratis! Personally, she and her family purchase, wrap, and anonymously donate 30+ winter coats for GED students' children! Deb, now Board Chairwoman, is very engaged—officiating our special events, attending board trainings, and dedicating an incredible amount of time and resources to WCAC. Deborah is an incredible leader, mentor, and positive energy force! We are so fortunate to have her as an amazing ambassador for WCAC.
Cary Olson-Cartwright, UNUM's Director of Corporate Responsibility, contacted WCAC in February to learn about the agency and explain UNUM's community partnership commitment and its philanthropy plan. UNUM believes in "giving back" and engages its employees in activities that support this strategy. Keenly interested in WCAC's youth programs, Cary stepped up for our GED students when she and Chris Collins, senior V.P./General Counsel, began by donating lunches and meeting the students in small groups; later engaged UNUM employees in monthly mentor meetings to discuss career paths; and then provided the inaugural WCAC GED graduation at Tuckerman Hall! Our staff, the students and their families were thrilled to be treated to an elegant, catered celebration for their grand achievements. As lead sponsor for WCAC's Third Annual Action Hero event in May, UNUM also generously provided lodging and transportation for Dr. Melinda Boone--our keynote speaker. UNUM, Cary, and Chris are WCAC's caring corporate champions!
July 18, 2009 - Young Residents Get Weatherization Training
By Danielle Kahn SPECIAL TO THE TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
||Maggie Gibson of Worcester gets instruction on spraying expanding foam from Tony Shirley of Energy All Stars (T&G Photos RICK CINCLAIR)
WORCESTER — The Worcester Community Action Council held a hands-on demonstration on weatherization this week to teach young people about energy conservation.
The pilot program included 11 participants from Worcester, who will apply the skills they learned by helping to weatherize houses in the Main South area. The program also provides them with skills for a possible career.
"It's a different kind of summer job that can lead to a career for anyone looking for work in weatherization and contracting. It's something they've never seen before," said Mark Sanborn, director of energy resources at WCAC. At the demonstration, participants learned about air sealing, different types of foams and the properties of cellulose, a type of insulation.
||Chantal Dominguez of Worcester practices using expanding foam during a weatherization basic skills class at the Worcester Community Action Corps
"We learned about different types of light bulbs, fibers and installation. We even learned how to install windows. It will be good for people to know about weatherization so they can save money," said participant Maggie Gibson.
Before the demonstration, the participants spent two days in a classroom, looking over a 180-slide PowerPoint presentation by WCAC's energy auditor, Jamison Graham.
"I showed them the slide show pictures and I passed around hands-on examples. We talked about weather priorities and why things like air sealing are important," said Mr. Graham, who hopes to show another presentation of a virtual energy audit later this month.
Homes to weatherize were chosen from an area with high foreclosures, and program participants were picked from the Workforce Investment Act summer jobs program and live in the same area.
"We learned new things every day. I like it because I'm going to take it home to where I live. They don't do any of it there," said Sadie Lopez.
"Weatherization helps the community," said Nathan Concepcion, another participant. Mr. Concepcion plans on going into contracting as a career.
The program participants also received boots from Industrial Protection Products with money donated by the National Association of Women in Construction, and hardhats, safety glasses and gloves donated by Consigli Construction.
June 1, 2009 - Worcester Community Action Council's Unsung Heroine
2009 Unsung Heroines Awardees
Priscilla Holmes, WCAC Deputy Director, was recognized by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women as one of the 100 "Unsung Heroines" of 2009 at the State House on May 13, 2009. A West Boylston resident, Priscilla Holmes will be honored for her extraordinary work with customers—particularly women—during her almost 20 years at the antipoverty agency that serves over 70,000 individuals and families in 37 towns through 20 emergency and economic self-sufficiency programs.
WCAC Executive Director Jill Dagilis said, "Priscilla is a consummate professional. She consistently demonstrates keen leadership, decision-making, and team building skills. Her work has a strong common theme: service to people in need. As a WCAC ambassador, Priscilla keeps the work of the agency, those we serve, and our mission in the forefront of her efforts. She is tireless, goes above and beyond the call of duty, and is always professional, on time, and focused on the positive."
"Our Unsung Heroines are women who don't make the news, but make the difference," said Kira Dunn, MCSW Executive Director. "They are women who use their time and talent to show us the meaning of the saying, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world'."
May 29, 2009 - US Funds Give Youths a Shot at "Real" Paycheck
By Brian Lee TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
Jack Fontaine of North Brookfield hopes to benefit from the summer jobs program
at Center of Hope in Southbridge. (T&G Staff/PAUL KAPTEYN)
Jack Fontaine of North Brookfield makes a dollar or two an hour in the Southbridge Center of Hope's shelter workshop.
Mr. Fontaine, 21, took orders at the center's bookstore and swept a garage yesterday.
For two years, he has been training at the center. Now he's ready for competitive community-based employment, said Rachel Reyes, director of programs at the center.
Born with cerebral palsy and a learning disability, Mr. Fontaine hopes to land a job as a result of the Workforce Investment Act summer youth employment services, which brought $1.5 million in stimulus funding to the region.
"He has a good work ethic and a wonderful personality," Ms. Reyes said. "Jack is an example of a lot of people who are going to come to (the WIA) program. They have some disadvantage, whether they got pregnant as a teen or have a learning disability or don't read English well; some limitation, and they just need a chance."
With the federal money, the Worcester Community Action Council, which is working with the Center of Hope, hopes to make available 300 summer jobs for low-income people, ages 16 to 24, in Worcester and 16 surrounding communities; 100 jobs in southern Worcester County; and 100 in Blackstone Valley.
In about a week, about half of the young people have been placed in the pipeline for getting a job, said Nancy N. Jackson, the Workforce Investment Act project manager for the council.
The jobs program starts July 6 and ends Aug. 21. Most jobs will pay $8 an hour, with a limited number of crew leader positions at $12 an hour.
The state received $21 million in stimulus money. It's the first federal summer jobs program in Massachusetts in more than 10 years, said Susan Lang, vice president of the Youth Pathways division of the Commonwealth Corporation, which funds a state summer jobs program.
The state is providing an additional $6.7 million and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security is putting $3.1 million of its stimulus funds toward youth summer employment. That brings the total to $30 million statewide, enough money for at least 10,000 jobs this summer for people ages 14 to 24, Ms. Lang said.
The federal infusion "allows us to do a huge bump-up in employment opportunities for young people that hadn't existed," Ms. Lang said.
The Commonwealth Corporation funds YouthWorks, another seven-week program administered by the Worcester Community Action Council, but it's for people ages 14 to 21.
Combined, the programs will bring about 1,000 summer jobs to the region.
YouthWorks is in the Senate budget for $4 million for fiscal 2010, Ms. Lang said.
The federal money was provided to the Central Massachusetts Regional Employment Board and the Workforce Central Career Center. WCAC is administering the program, which pays the workers' salaries and some transportation costs to those in outlying communities.
The stimulus money helps the program find employment for "older young adults," Ms. Jackson said.
Jeffrey Turgeon, executive director of the Central Massachusetts Regional Employment Board, said his agency is waiting to hear from the Office of Public Safety about Southbridge getting YouthWorks funds for summer jobs. Worcester is the region's only community funded through the program, but Southbridge is one of the next in line for the money if it becomes available, Mr. Turgeon said.
For the stimulus program, the Worcester Community Action Council is working with the Center of Hope and the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation.
In the Blackstone Valley, up to 60 employment opportunities have already been lined up. The deadline to secure all 100 jobs is June 11, said Christine R. Whipple, a Whitinsville-based job developer.
The Blackstone Valley has 30 to 50 young people in the pipeline for work, and the deadline for qualifying the 100 workers is June 5, Ms. Whipple said.Ms. Whipple said she's been pleasantly surprised that many employers either know students they would like to hire, or students in the region to whom they are passing along information.
Ms. Jackson said the Worcester Community Action Council is finding there are "a flood of young people who need jobs," and for many it will be their first real paycheck.
"Our experience back four years ago was the number one thing kids would talk about when you ask them what their needs were (was) a job," she said.
That's exacerbated by the economy because the young people are competing with veterans of the job market, Ms. Jackson said.
Ms. Reyes, with the Center of Hope, said her program had found about 50 job sites and workers in the South County. She said it's good that the new program is not just focused on community service.
"So where I'll take some kids to work at the Center of Hope, because that's a great experience, you could also get a job at your local doctor's or lawyer's office, a store, something you're interested in doing," which adds an extra dimension that typical work programs didn't have, she said.
The hope is to find jobs in the young person's hometown, which would connect them with the potential for future employment, Ms. Reyes said.
Ms. Jackson included day cares and mom-and-pop type mechanic shops and barbershops as among employers that can prove hands-on experience and adult mentoring. Larger institutions such as UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester have hired up to 100 young people who were trained and oriented before being put in various departments.
Employers essentially would have free summer help through the program with no responsibility for providing insurance, Ms. Jackson said.
Municipalities have shown interest. Recreation departments need work crews, Ms. Jackson said.
UMass will continue with its large-scale summer program and it is providing opportunities for young people during the summer and year round, said Diane Bono, a senior director for human resources.
The hospital has outright hired youth, committing to 50 students the past couple of years, with UMass paying their salaries. It also has a 10-participant program through which it provides Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Skills tests support, with students working up to four afternoons a week.
UMass also provides volunteer experiences for upward of 70 students from Worcester and surrounding communities through the summer and school year, Ms. Bono said.
Third Annual Action Hero Awards
On May 6, 2009, the WCAC held its Third Annual Action Hero Award event at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Worcester. Six individuals and/or organizations were honored for their monetary contribution, in-kind goods and services, and advocacy to WCAC:
John Laracy, Bagel Inn
Joseph Clouatre, Innovative Business Partners
Debbie C. Guiney and Michael Carroll, AllCom Credit Union
Nancy Concemi and National Grid Call Center staff
WCAC’s Worcester Community Connections Coalition Parent volunteers
Rod Lee, Telegram & Gazette
Dr. Melinda Boone, keynote speaker, was introduced by J. Christopher Collins, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, UNUM.
CLICK HERE to view photos from this event.
Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. (WCAC) recently nominated and honored the "Renovation Team" for the Association of Professional Fundraisers (AFP) of Central Massachusetts Annual Philanthropy Day.
(From left to right) Donna McGrath, Organizational Development Director; Priscilla Holmes, Deputy Director; Paul Fontaine, Liberty Movers; Deb Delorey, Delorey Contract Interiors ; Fran Madigan, F.W. Madigan, Inc.; Jill Dagilis, Executive Director; Steve Pratt, F.W. Madigan, Inc.; Janet Lee, Director of Administration and Finance; and Mark Sanborn, Director of Energy Resources.
Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. (WCAC) recently nominated and honored the "Renovation Team" for the Association of Professional Fundraisers (AFP) of Central Massachusetts Annual Philanthropy Day.
A luncheon was held recently at Cyprian Keyes in Boylston to salute supporters of local agencies. WCAC was pleased to endorse and salute Paul Fontaine, Liberty Movers; Debbie Delorey, Delorey Contract Interiors; and Fran Madigan and Steve Pratt, F.W. Madigan Company, Inc. for helping enhance the WCAC facilities this past summer for our staff and customers. Jumpstarted with a generous donation of used systems furniture from National Grid, many contractors stepped forward to meet WCAC's impossible deadline of about five weeks to dismantle and re-assemble our Main Street office to be up and fully functioning for the start of our busy fuel assistance season.
Special thanks to these partners who took the "we can get this done" approach and joined forces and agreed to a cooperative system that was grounded in good teamwork, constant communications, and problem solving. Thank you all for your amazing professional contributions!