Meeting Minutes February 2003


Town of Hempstead Workforce Investment Board

Whatever It Takes (WIT) Strategic Planning Team

Meeting Minutes

HempsteadWorks Career Center

February 27, 2003


Lois Benjamin, Chairperson, VESID

Ana-Maria Hurtado, HempsteadWorks

Todd Goldfarb, HempsteadWorks

Edward Kenny, HempsteadWorks

Joann Lukas Von Stein, HempsteadWorks

Abraham Sabbas, HempsteadWorks

Scott T. Surkis, HempsteadWorks

Annie Williams, New York State Department of Labor

Judy Young, Abilities, Inc.

Susan Quinn, Abilities, Inc.

David Hoff, NCWD/A

Elena Varney, NCWD/A

John OÕFlaherty, GEICO

Judi Schillaci, Verizon

Lois Benjamin, Chairperson, called the meeting to order at 12:25 P.M.  The attendees introduced themselves.  Ms. Benjamin provided an overview of HempsteadWorks for the new members and described the HempsteadWorks literature.

I.        Review of Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were reviewed.  A motion was made to accept the minutes by Ana-Maria Hurtado.  It was seconded by Judy Young and carried unanimously.

II.        Project Overview

Judy Young provided an overview of the Whatever It Takes (WIT) project.  She distributed a packet and described its contents, which included:

  1. An outline of the project
  2. flyers;
  3. press release;
  4. poster;
  5. brochure;
  6. WIT Strategic Planning Team Membership List.

Ms. Young described the activities undertaken to date, including the cross-training of WIT and HempsteadWorks staff, participant enrollments and service activities.  Plans to conduct an open house at the HempsteadWorks Career Center on April 10, 2003, were also discussed.  A letter of invitation and a flyer will be sent to individuals from organizations on the mailing lists of the Team members.

III.       National Center for Workforce and Disability for Adults (NCWD/A) Perspective

Elena Varney, Lead Liaison, and David Hoff, Project Coordinator, described the role of their organization under the Customized Employment Grant.  They indicated that their organization has received a grant from the United States Department of Labor Office of Disability and Employment Policy (ODEP) to support and assist the Customized Employment Grant projects.  NCCWD/A acts as a liaison between the grantee and ODEP.  They provided instructions to the Team regarding eligibility criteria, customer flow and marketing literature.  They stressed the requirement to serve individuals with a ÒsignificantÓ disability.  In addition, they stated that the funding source should be identified in all literature.  The funding source is interested in the impact that the Customized Employment Grant makes on the workforce system.  This impact is not limited to placement.

Ms. Varney and Mr. Hoff indicated that they will share promising practices with HempsteadWorks, and will advise ODEP of any promising practices implemented under the WIT initiative.  Additional information will be disseminated by NCWD/A through monthly conference calls and publications.  Both stressed that they are not performing a monitoring role, but instead are prepared to provide technical assistance.  ODEP will assign an evaluator to perform the monitoring function.

IV.       Membership

Ms. Young described plans to expand the Team to include additional business members, as well individuals with disabilities.  Judi Schillaci asked what would be required of the business members.  She indicated that some businesses are reluctant to participate in this type of group because they perceive that they are required to hire program participants.

Through discussion, it was clarified that businesses can participate in a variety of ways, especially by acting as ÒambassadorsÓ to market the project to their colleagues in the private sector.  Ms. Schillaci stressed that the WIT project must clarify how it adds value to the many other similar projects under way.  She stated that WIT needs to answer the ÒwhatÕs in it for meÓ question to employers.  Ms. Benjamin described how the WIT project augments the array of programs and services available to businesses under the umbrella of the Workforce Investment Board (WIB).  Edward Kenny described the business services provided by the WIB, including its involvement in the New York State Department of LaborÕs Building Skills in New York State Request For Applications.

Ms. Schillaci described the need to address the skills required by the aging workforce.  The Team then discussed the importance of integrating WIT with other One-Stop partner resources, such as those of the National Council On The Aging, Inc. Older AmericanÕs Act Title V Program.

The group agreed that WIT should be marketed in the context of the HempsteadWorks system wide business services.  It was agreed that the WIB in general, and also the WIT project specifically, should listen to the concerns of businesses and Òmarket solutionsÓ to those concerns.  These solutions will be mutually beneficial to the businesses and the HempsteadWorks system.  In order for the WIB and the Strategic Planning Team to be in a position to market solutions to businesses, it will be necessary to develop close relationships.  This is an area where the business members of the Team can assist.  John OÕFlaherty suggested that the testimony of an individual who had succeeded through the project be utilized as a marketing tool.

V.        Next Steps

Ms. Benjamin summarized the suggestions of the group to assist businesses, as follows:

  • Hiring and downsizing needs;
  • Customer service training for staff;
  • Addressing issues related to the aging workforce;
  • Reaching out to small and mid-sized firms;
  • Assisting jobseekers.

The Team agreed to establish a Business Relationship Workgroup to perform the following tasks:

  • Identify additional businesses members of the Team to serve in the ambassador role;
  • Coordinate business marketing activities with the Business Services Subcommittee of the WIB;
  • Develop a business marketing strategy.

It was agreed that individuals who are interested in participating in the workgroup should contact Joann Lukas Von Stein.

VII.      Old/New Business

No old business was discussed.  Ana-Maria Hurtado requested that the members provide their mailing lists to be used for the open house invitations.

VII.      Adjournment

A motion was offered by Mr. Goldfarb to adjourn the meeting at 2:05 P.M., seconded by Ms. Young and approved unanimously.

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