Greater Lowell Workforce Development Board
March 20, 2018
Greater Lowell Technical High School
250 Pawtucket Blvd.
Tyngsboro, MA 01879

Call to Order: 7:58 a.m.
Presiding Officer:  Ray Wrobel, Chair

Attendees: Kimberly Bodkin, Judy Burke, Stephanie Cronin, Maureen Fitzpatrick, Charlene Jancsy, Maureen Kriff, Stephanie Lee, Betty McKiernan, John Palmieri, Jackie Romero, Andrew Shapiro, Cynthia Smith, Tom Raiche, Susan Winning, Ray Wrobel.  Quorum present.  Staff: Peter Farkas, Katy Gentile, Nancy McGovern, Beatriz Sierra, Cathy Sturtevant, Heather Donovan

Welcome. Chair Wrobel welcomed everyone and asked that the board members go around and do a quick introduction as there were some new people.

Review and Approval of December 19, 2017 Minutes. Chair Wrobel requested review of the December 19, 2017 minutes.  With no comments or        questions and a quorum present, Chair Wrobel requested a motion to accept the December 19, 2017 minutes.  Motion made by Betty McKiernan; seconded by Charlene Jancsy.  All in favor?  Yes. Opposed?  No. Vote: Unanimous.

Introduction of Guest Speaker: Shaun McCarthy, Director, Working Cities Lowell Initiative
Chair Wrobel introduced the guest speaker, Shaun McCarthy.  The following are highlights from the speaker:
Mr. McCarthy indicated that there was a handout in the agenda packet about Working Cities Lowell. Working Cities is a program that is run through the Federal Reserve and is funded by federal, state and private resources. The funding is available to gateway cities.
There is a large group of partners however it really came out of a small group of folks getting together with some of the residents of the Acre, which is the focus of the project. The Acre is typically the poorest neighborhood in the city. They host regular forums to provide access and inclusion opportunities to the city and surrounding communities.
They host a program called CHOP which is a community meal held at the Senior Center the last Wednesday of the month. They have “celebrity” chefs and usually a community sponsor. It is an opportunity for the community to come together and learn about different programs around a shared meal. The goal is to connect the residents of the Acre with resources in the city. They are also developing an asset map in three different languages. The goal of the map is also to help nonprofits coordinate resources to maximize impact.
One of the most recent successes of the project was the establishment of a trilingual ballot for the past election. The ballot was printed in English, Spanish and Khmer.  Recently we tried to have the City Council meetings translated and rebroadcasted on another day. Unfortunately, the amount of time it took to translate and the feedback from people, if they would watch it, made it prohibitive. We have had more success with translating Dick Howe, Jr.’s recap on his blog.
Data collection has been critical to our project. We are using it to provide feedback to our partners and we use it to drive strategies. One of our challenges however is the lack of residents on the board and we are developing a plan to address that.

Ms. Lee commented that the issue of diversity and inclusion on boards is a challenge for a lot of organizations both non-profit and for profit. How do we encourage women and minorities to participate? Mr. McCarthy stated that at least in the city of Lowell there are a couple of different avenues/outlets-CBA and Lowell Alliance run a leadership program, Public Matters is also another program. Working Cities also has 3 working groups that this is discussed in as well.

Ms. Winning asked what the organization was doing to achieve or make head way on the first two results/goals on the handout. Mr. McCarthy explained that they received a tech assistant grant in the 1st year. They utilized this to look at small scale manufacturing and focused on small business development that would be conducive to the Acre neighborhood. E-for All did a small pitch session and we started to develop a network of partners to provide access to small business. The second shared result/goal was to training programs and job experiences.

Ms. Fitzpatrick commented that having a list of resources in one location would be valuable. Who is attending/coming to these “new rooms”?  Mr. McCarthy indicated that they have two staff people that act like a street team and go out into the neighborhood and knock on doors to invite them to a social type meeting to get them involved.

Ms. Smith asked what the cost of sponsorship for one of the dinners would be. It is approximately $100-$150 per event.

Mr. Raiche commented that Market Basket has been an asset to the area providing many high school students with jobs. He asked about the Smith Baker project and the status of that. Mr. McCarthy indicated that the CBA bought the property and they are currently establishing a fundraising/funding team for the project.

The Chair thanked the speaker and asked if there were any additional questions.

Committee Reports

Workforce Performance and Opportunities Committee

Chair Jancsy reported out to the board on the activities to date of the Workforce Performance and Opportunities Committee. The committee developed and submitted to the State the policy for the One-Stop Career Center Certification and developed policies to ensure the efficient use of resources for customers. The full report is included in the meeting materials.

GLWDB Report – Peter Farkas

In the packet attendees will find a report detailing activities since the last meeting. Mr. Farkas touched on 5 areas through a slide presentation.


Unemployment Rates

Mr. Farkas walked through the regional unemployment figures versus the State.

Regional Planning: The blueprint was submitted and is currently in the comment period. We have received a few comments. Mr. Farkas walked through the final industries and occupations as indicated on the slide and the time line.

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, our region and explained the timeline for implementation. There will be funding for the transition, approximately $26K. In addition, because we have decided to be an early implementer we will received additional funding resources.

Youth Council: Mr. Farkas indicated that the Youth Council was started again. They met in February and had approximately 30 attendees. The initial meeting for introductions and to start laying the groundwork for next steps and goals. The next meeting will be held on April 30, 2018. Ms. Frederick indicated that CTI is going to be starting a project on youth homelessness and they will be setting up a youth committee as well and maybe some coordination could occur.

WIOA Youth Procurement: Every 2 years an RFP is issued for In School Youth and Out of School Youth vendors for funding to administer the WIOA Youth programs. The release date of the RFP is March 26th and the deadline for submission will be April 26th. It will go to a subcommittee for review then the board will vote at the June 6th

Mr. Farkas gave 2 brief updates on the youth STEM roundtable that was being planned and the on-going certification.

The dates of the upcoming board meetings for 2018 were announced: June 6th, September 20th and December 13th.


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 Susan Winning; seconded by Tom Raiche.  All in favor? Yes.  Opposed.  No.  Unanimous.  The meeting adjourned at 9:05 AM.