“Summer Jobs and Beyond Program” Selected as “Youth Workforce Program of the Year!”

“Summer Jobs and Beyond Program” Selected as “Youth Workforce Program of the Year!”
Posted on 11/06/2017
Summer Jobs and Beyond Program

Please see below for some impressive statistics regarding Ware's involvement

Dear Summer Jobs and Beyond Partner,

We are thrilled to share some exciting news! The Franklin/Hampshire Summer Jobs & Beyond Program was recently selected as the Youth Workforce Program of the Year, a statewide Workforce Champions Award distributed annually by the Workforce Solutions Group to honor community partners who have contributed significantly to enhancing workforce development in the Commonwealth.  


Community Action has been honored to partner with the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board to apply for and receive one of 11 awards across the county to pilot this innovative 2 year workforce program serving high school age youth in Orange, Ware, and Turners Falls. We have been even more honored to partner with all of you - Mahar, Ware and Turners Falls High Schools, the town governments of Ware, Montague, and Orange, well over 100 area employers, and community organizations in the three communities - to make this program a success. 

Together, we have collaborated to provide career exploration, intensive case management, paid summer and school year internships, credit recovery and graduation support, and assistance to transition successfully to next steps after graduation - employment or further education. We have already exceeded our our target of serving 180 youth by May 2018, and are looking at options to continue this project into the 2018-2019 school year. 

So far...86 youth have set and worked towards goals in intensive case management. 23 young people have been accepted into college. Over 100 youth have completed internships, bringing over $230,000 in income into their communities of Ware, Turners and Orange. 24 have obtained independent employment, including several who have been hired by their internship sites. 114 youth have demonstrated skill gains such as bringing grades up in classes where they struggle or developing new competencies at work. 

It is worthy of note that this program design was not new... It was built on the strong foundation and model of WIOA youth programming that had been offered to in-school youth for many years before the targeted age range for WIOA shifted. All three of these schools have been engaged with efforts to increase graduation rates, and many of our area employers have engaged with similar programs in the past. The Summer Jobs and Beyond Program allowed us to combine forces for an impact that is truly greater than the sum of its parts. 

Thank you and congratulations to the schools who welcomed us in, the employers who took a chance, and the members of town government and collaborators who made connections left and right, creating opportunities seemingly out of thin air. 

Congratulations, all!

The SJB Team 

Lev Ben-Ezra, Director of Youth Programs, Community Action

Holly Kosisky, Assistant Director of Youth Programs, Community Action

Lee Fournier-Lewis, Workforce Development Coordinator, Community Action

Ricia Elwell, SJB Program Specialist, Community Action

Virginia Keough, SJB Program Specialist, Community Action

J Aprileo, SJB Program Specialist, Community Action

Noemi Lasalandra, Workforce Development Instructor, Community Action

Donna DuSell, Youth Pathways Coordinator, Regional Employment Board

Patricia Crosby, Executive Director, Regional Employment Board