Greater Lowell Workforce Development Board
June 6, 2018
UML Innovation Hub
110 Canal Street
Lowell, MA 01852

Call to Order: 7:56 a.m.
Presiding Officer:  Ray Wrobel, Chair

Attendees:  Linda Arsenault, Kimberly Bodkin, Robert Broughton, Judy Burke, Maureen Fitzpatrick, Beth Goguen, Vichtcha Kong, Maureen Kriff, Michele LaGrega, Staci Landress, Stephanie Lee, Betty McKiernan, John Palmieri, Sovanna Pouv, Tom Raiche, Cynthia Smith, Ann Marie Sousa, Susan Winning, Beverly Woods.  Quorum present.  Staff: Peter Farkas, Katy Gentile, Nancy McGovern, Beatriz Sierra, Cathy Sturtevant

Welcome. Chair Wrobel welcomed everyone and introduced Lisa Armstrong, Associate Director of the Innovation Hub. Ms. Armstrong welcomed everyone to iHub and gave a quick overview of the activities going on in the building. Ms. Armstrong offered a tour of the building after the meeting should anyone wish.

Review and Approval of March 20, 2018 Minutes. Chair Wrobel requested review of the March 20, 2018 minutes.  With no comments or questions and a quorum present, Chair Wrobel requested a motion to accept the March 20, 2018 minutes.  Motion made by Betty McKiernan; seconded by Judy Burke.  All in favor?  Yes. Opposed?  No. Vote: Unanimous.

Introduction of Guest Speaker: Rachel Kaprielian, McDonald’s Corporation

Chair Wrobel introduced the guest speaker, Rachel Kaprielian.  The following are highlights from the speaker:

Ms. Kaprielian stated that McDonald’s is an innovative company that is always looking ahead. She stated It is really a group of small businesses in MA and New England and the men and women that run the franchises are what drive the company. It is also a customer driven company that sees the need to invest in the workforce. Most of the managers that Ms. Kaprielian has encountered all started as crew members. It is structured as America’s 1st job.

One of the programs McDonald’s Corporation offers is the Archways Program. The program is an education and training program open to all employees after 90 days. Employees are eligible to receive up to $3,000 a year for college tuition reimbursement. There are also ESL classes offered as well as advising. There have been more than 5500 graduates from the program and

it has had a positive impact on job retention. As part of the program, Ms. Kaprielian is out in the community developing relationships with institutions, in particular community colleges.

Mr. Broughton commented that he has had 42 employees participate in the program. Mr. Broughton commented that he wanted to be a teacher and had gone to work at McDonald’s for income. He ended up staying at McDonald’s and is now a franchise owner. He has many employees that have worked for him for 30 years. He stated that all the employee must do is apply and then it is submitted to the manager and they sign off on it. The funding is quite accessible to all employees.

Ms. Kaprielian concluded her presentation and the Chair thanked the speaker and asked if there were any additional questions.

Election of Officers

Mr. Farkas gave an overview of the process for election of new officers as included in the bylaws. Nominations were submitted for Chair, Vice Chair and 2nd Vice Chair by email. The nominations that were submitted are in the meeting packet. Chair: Ray Wrobel, Vice Chair: Maureen Fitzpatrick, 2nd Vice Chair: Danielle McFadden. Mr. Farkas stated that this was the slate submitted and a vote would be required. A motion was made to accept the slate of officers as listed by Vichtcha Kong; 2nd Judy Burke. Vote: Unanimous

WIOA Youth

Mr. Farkas gave an overview of the process for WIOA youth provider selection. Every 2 years the board puts out an RFP to contract with providers for programming for in-school (ISY) and out-of-school (OSY) youth. The funding comes from the Department of Labor and it is mandated that 75% be spent on OSY and 25% on ISY. Part of the RFP for this year was a requirement that 20% of the budget for each program was for work experience. This was a new component for this year. Mr. Farkas walked through the timeline and stated that there was one ISY proposal and 4 OSY proposals submitted. There is a chart included in the meeting packet and the recommendation is to fund the 1 ISY proposal and 3 of the 4 OSY proposals. The board is expecting a 10% cut in funding for youth from the Federal Government and the recommended numbers reflect that.

Ms. Winning asked what the programs look like and if any of the youth vendors had been funded in the past.  Mr. Farkas explained that they have all been funded before, however, Middlesex Community College (MCC) and The Career Center of Lowell (CCL) partnered as one program.  This funding cycle they will be 2 separate programs with 2 separate sets of goals and budgets.  The Lowell High School PALS program is an after-school tutoring and Career Pathway Program for in-school youth. The MCC program is a HiSET/GED preparation and career readiness program. The CTI YouthBuild program offers HiSET preparation and offers training to complete an industry recognized credential in construction and/or culinary. The CCL program is a HiSET preparation and career pathways program which also provides skills training vouchers.

Ms. Bodkin asked why there was a difference between funding and no decrease in service enrollment under the CCL recommendation. Mr. Farkas stated that the overall budget was high in staff #s and it was determined that they could still provide the same programming with less staff.  Ms. Bodkin also asked why the YWCA was not funded. Mr. Farkas explained that there were some holes in the proposal and Ms. Fitzpatrick indicated that after the review team looked at the proposal it didn’t meet the criteria as presented.

With the discussion concluded, the Chair asked for a motion to approve the youth providers as recommended. Motion by Beverly Woods; 2nd by Ann Marie Sousa     Vote: 16 Yeas, 0 Nays 2 Abstentions

GLWDB Report – Peter Farkas

Unemployment Rates: Mr. Farkas walked through the regional unemployment figures versus the State as of April 2018. Certain pockets are high-mainly among the state’s Latino and African American population, about 7%. Ms. Winning asked if they track demographics. Mr. Farkas indicated that they are unable to track at a local level. The lower unemployment numbers will result in a decrease in funding. Mr. Raiche commented that it doesn’t take into account the people who have stopped looking for work.

Workforce Rebranding Initiative: The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) is in the process of rebranding the state’s public workforce system. Mr. Farkas presented the new brand for the workforce system and our region and laid out the time line for implementation. There will be funding for the transition, approximately $26K. In addition, there is up to $18K available for early implementation. The state has set out benchmarks that must be met by September 1 to qualify. We have met the 2 that were set out for the 6/6 deadline. We should be on track to complete by the September 1 deadline. The roll out will be early September and an event will be scheduled.

Resource Development: Mr. Farkas indicated that the Board continues to seek funding opportunities. There is a list of grants that have been applied for included in the packet. The Kronos grant would be a supplement to the Retention grant. We are currently waiting for DTA to release the decision on the YPP grants, which is expected by 6/15. We are optimistic about approval. The CDBG grant from the City supplements the Youthworks grant. In addition, we have partnered with CTI on the Secure Jobs Initiative.

Annual Plan and Budget: Mr. Farkas explained that they are expecting a 10% cut in funding for WIOA Adult, Dislocated Worker and Youth. He walked through a chart of the last 3 fiscal years funding. The core funding comes from the DOL funding.

Motions: Chair Wrobel requested consideration of two motions.

Motion 1. Motion to allow the Executive Board to vote on the FY19 budget and local Annual Plan.

Motion by Susan Winning, seconded by Kimberly Bodkin

Vote: Unanimous. Motion approved.

Motion 2. Motion to allow the executive committee to make necessary fund transfers from the Adult and Dislocated Worker programs

Motion by Beverly Woods seconded by Staci Landress

Vote: Unanimous. Motion approved.

Ms. Fitzpatick requested to say a few words. She thanked Mr. Wrobel and Mr. Farkas for their leadership and because of that the Board and its activities is recognized as a best practice board at the state level.


Chair Wrobel thanked everyone for attending. The Chair asked if there was any other business. Seeing none, the Chair requested a motion to adjourn.  With no other business, motion made by Judy Burke; seconded by Sovanna Pouv.  All in favor? Yes.  Opposed.  No.  Unanimous.  The meeting adjourned at 9:00 AM.