NEW! Job Readiness Curriculum Guide
In 2009, with funding from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), MASSCAP set out to research, design and implement a comprehensive job readiness program with three Community Action Agency (CAA) pilot sites to teach critical “soft skills” to the most vulnerable low-income populations in the state. A 120-hour Job Readiness Curriculum Guide was developed through this funding which has been used by hundreds of CAA staff since it’s publication in 2010. Over 500 staff have been trained in the use of the curriculum guide which has been implemented in various ways and programs.
We are happy to now make this updated curriculum guide an “open source” document. Until now, we distributed the curriculum guide only to those who attended our 6-hour training. While we highly recommend you attend the training to learn about the best possible uses of the curriculum guide, we wanted to expand the opportunity for anyone working with low-income, under-skilled adults and older youth to benefit from this evidence-based curriculum. For information on a highly interactive and fun training on the use of the guide, please contact Jess Benedetto.
A How To Guide For CAAs on Service Integration
With funding from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Community Services (OCS) in 2010, MASSCAP, in partnership with the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University, conducted a comprehensive review of the “Community Action Access Points” (CAAPs) model developed by Community Action Agencies in Massachusetts, to identify exemplary practices in the area of benefits enrollment and service coordination. The study examined the degree to which CAAPs demonstrates exemplary practices aimed at identification and enrollment of eligible individuals and families in Federal, state and local benefit programs and ensures coordination of ongoing service delivery that empowers low-income families to become more economically self-sufficient. CAAPs introduces a new system of intake, assessment and case management for multi-service agencies. Through this study, MASSCAP examined this innovative initiative which employs a comprehensive approach to developing and implementing a model of practice that is data driven, measurable and replicable, and culturally competent in reflecting the needs of intended service recipients and their communities. The CAAPs Replication Guide provides a summary of the findings of the study and the key elements, tools and processes needed to replicate the model.
Workforce Development: Report from the Minority-owned Small Business Assistance Project
In 2006 MASSCAP, along with key workforce development partners, collaborated to create the Minority-owned Small Business Assistance (MSBA) Project. The goal of the project was to identify the workforce development needs of employees and owners of minority-owned small businesses in Massachusetts and to build bridges to existing systems, networks, and resources that would provide customized workforce development approaches and opportunities for low-income, minority populations.The project team, which included MASSCAP and representatives of other organizations, elected to study small businesses in the Hispanic and Brazilian communities in Lowell, Massachusetts. Hispanics are the largest minority group in the United States, and Brazilians are among the fastest growing groups in Massachusetts. Both groups have a strong presence in Lowell.In the study, employers and employees identified several barriers to participating in education and training programs. These barriers prevent them from growing their businesses or obtaining higher-level skills training, education, and support services that could help them to transition to career ladders and higher paying jobs.
Workforce Development Resource Guide
To assist Community Action Agencies (CAAs) and other community-based organizations (CBOs) in their quest toward establishing effective workforce development programs, this guide presents ideas, examples, promising practices, and technical information. We recognize that each state, region, city, and neighborhood in which CAAs/CBOs operate is unique and requires customized workforce strategies to best meet identified needs. For this reason, this guide is designed to provide resources to support program efforts. While CAAs operating in Massachusetts represent the primary audience for the guide, our expectation is that the wealth of information provided also will be useful to other CBOs operating in the workforce development arena across the country.
Workforce Development Materials: Case Studies
Helping to move low-income individuals and their families from poverty to economic self-sufficiency presents continuing challenges. Among policymakers and practitioners, there is now a growing awareness that what is needed is closer integration between community-based organizations and the workforce development system. One approach that shows promise, based on initial research, is to provide workforce development and other support services within a broad framework in which attainment of self-sufficiency is viewed as the ultimate outcome of many incremental steps. Here are the materials from the research project conducted in 2002-2003 set out to better understand whether and how community action programs could help individuals get the kinds of training and other services that would lead to jobs that pay family-sustaining wages:
Community Action Agencies and Other Community-Based Organizations: Adapting to the Big Change—Providing Information Technology Access and Training (2005)
Complete Document (pdf)
Establishing Effective Workforce Development Programs for Community Action Agencies and Other Community-Based Organizations in Massachusetts (2004)
Complete Document (pdf)