CommCET (Community Connections to Employment and Training) is breaking down financial barriers for over 100 disadvantaged families in the Merrimack Valley through an innovative approach that combines job training, education, housing, childcare, case management and follow-up services. This comprehensive strategy ensures greater long-term success for families that were previously homeless or are currently at risk of homelessness.
“Our workforce development efforts combined with permanent housing and essential family supports equip families with tools to maintain long-term stability,” says JoAnn Howell, Community Teamwork’s CommCET Director. “It isn’t about short-term solutions. CommCET helps the client establish a long-term approach by building employment skills; accessing job apprenticeships, training and employment; and preparing for self-sufficiency economically, financially and mentally. Our program’s aim is to successfully create life changing, long-term solutions. I am excited to be part of these changes.”
To date, CommCET has assisted 67 participants to become employed. At the heart of this success are partnerships with the Lowell Career Center, surrounding vocational technical high schools and area employers. Twenty seven out of 33 participants are currently employed after acquiring new workforce skills at various regional vocational technical schools by training for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certifications, medical administration, business, electronics, welding, and office administration.
Profiles of success:
Jocelyn, a single mother, and her two children lived at the Best Western hotel in Chelmsford, when their family first entered the CommCET program. To accommodate her and other homeless families with children temporarily living at the hotel, staff created a transportation route that drives the children to their childcare programs, allowing the parents to pursue employment training and jobs. In Jocelyn’s case, she was able to confidently attend job interviews, knowing her children were safe and being educated in Community Teamwork’s childcare program. This and other critical case management supports led her obtaining full time employment at Lowell’s Woodbriar Nursing Facility.
Tiffany, who successfully attended the Lowell Career Center’s back-to-work program, struggled to find sufficient employment. Fortunately, thanks to her retraining, expansion of marketable skills and dedication, she landed a job with Community Teamwork, working in our Fuel Assistance department.