WIA Summer Jobs participants


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.


Young residents get weatherization training

Full and original article posted on Telegram & Gazette

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.

Click here to read full article.


US funds give youths a shot at ‘real’ paycheck

Full and original article posted on Telegram & Gazette

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.

Click here to read full article.

Worcester Community Action Council's Unsung Heroine

Worcester Community Action Council’s Unsung Heroine

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’.”

Third Annual Action Hero Awards 2009

Third Annual Action Hero Awards – 2009

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.

View photos from the event below:

Central Massachusetts Annual Philanthropy Day

Central Massachusetts Annual Philanthropy Day 2009

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!