The Mon Valley Initiative Workforce & Business Development Program assists unemployed and underemployed individuals to prepare for and identify opportunities for employment. The Workforce Development Team holds multiple events each year and offers a variety of ways for job seekers, employers, and service providers to get involved with the program. Check out some of their significant accomplishments and highlights of 2014:
Life Without Bars II: Removing Invisible Barriers to Re-Entry
This two-day conference of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Reentry Coalition (SPARC) took place in June at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) in Homestead. The mission of SPARC is to foster collaboration among agencies in Southwestern PA who provide services to individuals whose criminal record creates barriers to self sufficiency, and this conference provided an opportunity for agencies and individuals going through the reentry process to collaborate.
The conference featured a number of notable guest speakers, including:
- Tracy Soska, Community, Organization, and Social Action Chair and Continuing Education Director at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work
- Paul Sheldon, senior development consultant specializing in neighborhood sustainability and green reentry planning
- Bonita Fahy, speaker, mentor, community change agent, and Publish America author of Guilty: The Inside Truth
- U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton
- Susan Burton, founder of A New Way of Life Reentry Project and a 2012 recipient of the Encore Purpose Prize
- Mike C. Pottinger, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation & Parole
- William K. Cimino, U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons Mid-Atlantic Regional Reentry Affairs Administrator
- David A. Harris, Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law
- Jeff Brooks, Former SPARC Coordinator and Co-Director of Workforce & Business Development at MVI
Employer Appreciation Breakfast
Each year, MVI hosts an Employer Appreciation Breakfast to thank those who have partnered and collaborated with the Workforce Team. This year, Fifth Third Bank was recognized as our Outstanding Employer Honoree, and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit was our Collaborative Award Honoree.
The East Pittsburgh Economic Development Corporation (EPEDC) invited the MVI Workforce Development Team to speak to residents at a Workforce Meet and Greet in July. Job seekers and other interested residents came to the East Pittsburgh Senior Building to learn and ask questions about the Workforce Program. Above, Co-Director of Workforce & Business Development, Tracey Reaves, talks to a resident about the program.
Two New Employees
We welcomed a new Job Developer & SPARC Coordinator, Alethia Bush (right), and Workforce Development Specialist, Camille Smith (left), to the MVI team in September!
Jeff Brooks: Celebrating 22 years with MVI
After 22 years of working for MVI, our Co-Director of Workforce & Business Development, Jeff Brooks, retired in November. MVI held a retirement party to commemorate his years of service at Dave & Buster’s at the Waterfront on November 9.
Coming up: Fall SPARC Conference
The 9th Annual SPARC Conference & Employment Resource Fair, New Year, New Beginning, New Hope: Strategies for Successful Reentry in 2015, will be held on Friday, December 12, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Building in downtown Pittsburgh. Conference topics will include a screening of the documentary Pull of Gravity and an workshop on obtaining and cleaning up your PA criminal record. RSVP by December 8 by calling 412-464-4000 x. 4001 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.