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State grant to build up ‘Second Chance’ job-training in Greenfield



Recorder Staff
Monday, February 12, 2018

GREENFIELD — Greenfield will receive a $75,000 Urban Agenda grant to better help people in recovery overcome the complex barriers to employment.

The state money will be used for the Second Chance Employment and Training Initiative, which will create an alternative staffing model to help those in recovery find jobs. Harmon Personnel Services and Gardner Athol Area Mental Health Association are key partners in this effort.

This group will work with the town, the Opioid Task Force, Community Action and other organizations that aid people on their way to a successful and sustainable recovery by helping them build self-sufficiency skills.

Tess Champoux of Harmon Personnel said the grant will help to establish alternative staffing, with coaching services to aid those in difficult situations.

Mark Smith, Greenfield’s director of General Administration, was in Revere to receive Greenfield’s award Monday afternoon.

“It’s a hands-up opportunity for those looking for a second chance. Employment is an important piece to a holistic approach,” Smith said.

The plan is to ramp up efforts for Harmon Personnel Services to place clients into entry-level work in Greenfield area businesses. For those with significant barriers to employment, the Second Chance Employment and Training Initiative will collaborate with the Recovery Center, the Franklin County Corrections, Career Center and the Mass. Rehabilitation Commission to implement a supported transition to self-sufficiency.

The goal is that the employees placed in the jobs will be hired by the employer after 90 days — should the job match be successful.

The second aspect of this initiative focuses on a pilot project to be managed by the Gardner Athol Area Mental Health Association at the new Sage sober house for women. Some of the grant money will be used to supplement the hours the case manager can work with each of the six to eight residents, connecting them to workforce training and creating a “culture of work” in the residential environment.

The Greenfield grant was among the $500,000 awarded by the Baker-Polito administration for nine community-driven projects in the state — out of 30 applications. Also, Greenfield’s money award was among the largest given out.

“Our administration uses the urban agenda grant program to support communities with strong local leadership committed to pursuing high-impact projects,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “These urban agenda awards will help residents re-enter the workforce, provide technical assistance to small businesses, support entrepreneurs and invest in collaborative partnerships.”