Governor Deval Patrick today announced $1 million in funding to connect homeless and low-income families with services to help some of the Commonwealth's most vulnerable citizens overcome barriers to work and succeed in life. These Secure Jobs Initiative grants will help connect them with suitable employers in jobs with long-term career pathways. The Governor made the announcement at the Jewish Vocational Services organization in Boston, which assists individuals from diverse communities to find employment and build careers.
"We must continually invest in our workforce to provide our workers with the skills and resources they need to become great job candidates," said Governor Patrick. "Helping our most vulnerable citizens transition into stable jobs is vital to supporting our economy and creating a stronger Commonwealth for the next generation."
Through five regional partnerships, these grants will help homeless and low-income families receive job training and placement skills, as well as access to child care services so that they can successfully attain and thrive in their careers. These partnerships will increase coordination and local innovation to improve the Commonwealth's ability to serve the needs of low-income and homeless families.
"Often times all it takes is a good paying job to lift struggling families out of homelessness," said Aaron Gornstein, Undersecretary for the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). "The grants funded today are one part of the Administration's comprehensive strategy to prevent homelessness and reduce our reliance on the state's emergency shelter system."
The Secure Jobs Initiative represents a strong collaboration between DHCD, the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), regional housing networks, nonprofit organizations and philanthropic organizations, many of whom participate on the Secure Jobs Advisory Board.
"Helping to provide clients with the skills and training necessary to get a good paying job has been a priority for Governor Patrick and is an important part of the Department's mission to help clients transition toward economic stability and improve them and their families lives," said DTA Commissioner Stacey Monahan. "These grants will go a long way toward reaching that goal and DTA looks forward to continuing to work with its sister agencies to help our state's most vulnerable residents."
"Access to high-quality early education and care is a critical resource for many families who are working hard to achieve self-sufficiency," said EEC Commissioner Tom Weber. "High-quality early education programs meet the important developmental needs of children while allowing adults to obtain and maintain family-sustaining employment. Working in partnership to provide comprehensive services to these families will help deliver positive outcomes for them and the Commonwealth."
The Secure Jobs Initiative grants are funded through the Housing Preservation and Stabilization Trust Fund established by Governor Patrick in 2013. Today's announcement builds upon a 2013 pilot program funded by the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation, during which 348 individuals were placed in jobs. Two additional agencies that were not part of the pilot program but used the program model in their organization were also able to secure an additional 156 jobs for individuals.
Following the success of the pilot program, the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation announced that it is matching the Commonwealth's investment this year by contributing an additional $1 million.
"The Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation is excited to see Secure Jobs continue," said Sue Beaton, Interim Director of the Fireman Foundation. "In the first year our state partners working alongside the foundation and our regional partnerships have together provided job opportunities for upwards of 600 individuals. As we seek to stabilize families in housing, it is key to launch them to income generating opportunities. Securing a job is often times the best life line possible."
"I applaud the Patrick Administration for committing $1 million in funding towards the Secure Jobs Initiative, providing critical job training and readiness assistance to help homeless and low-income families find a path to escape poverty," said Senator Jamie Eldridge. "If we're serious about reducing the homeless population in Massachusetts, we need to recognize that support services are critical, and I'm grateful to Governor Patrick for his leadership on this investment."
Today's awards follow Governor Patrick's recent announcement of more than $25 million in funding to create over 335 new units of supportive housing for veterans, homeless and very low-income households across the Commonwealth. With these new units, the Patrick Administration has reached its goal of creating 1,000 units of permanent, supportive housing in the Commonwealth over a year early.
Earlier this month, Governor Patrick filed a An Act to Promote Growth and Opportunity, a comprehensive economic development package that will increase opportunity across the Commonwealth by providing new tools and training so our workforce is prepared to meet the needs of employers, invests in our Gateway Cities to promote development across the entire state and provides incentives to create jobs and stimulate the economy.