Boston LISC sends 20 to workforce development conference, FOCs highlighted

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Workforce development is integral to the success of our neighborhoods.  At Boston LISC, we know that beyond the bricks and mortar of new developments are people and families with ample skills and talent that deserve a rewarding job and career.  On May 14th we sponsored over 20 attendees to join with hundreds of practitioners at the Ninth Annual Statewide Conference for Workforce Development Professionals, hosted by the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) and the Commonwealth Workforce Coalition.  This year’s conference, entitled “Sharing Skills, Building Connections – Partnering for Opportunity,” drew attention to the success of partnering in a time of inconsistent funding streams and budget cuts.  Keynote speaker Kevin Jordan of national LISC presented the Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) as a proven model for beneficial partnering and providing optimal results for clients.  Chelsea CONNECT, a Boston LISC funded Financial Opportunity Center, led a session called "Building Economic Security through Community Coalition: The CONNECT Experience" that showcased how the FOC model is being implemented locally.


The Financial Opportunity Center model connects workforce development, financial coaching, and public benefits access service providers to create a common client flow.  As a result, agencies can focus on the service they provide  best while the formal partnerships ensure that clients receive all three bundled services in one place or via a clearly mapped track.  FOCs also benefit from a common data tracking software, Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) to easily demonstrate improvements in benchmarks like credit score, net worth, and income, as well as decreases in debt.


Boston LISC has cultivated partnerships with local workforce development agencies within its new two Financial Opportunity Centers in greater Boston and the Resilient Communities/Resilient Families Initiative.  With a national grant, Boston LISC sponsored the attendance of over 20 affiliates and one agency, Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), was able to send representatives from seven local offices to participate in the conference.  Each had unique takeaways; “I learned that you don’t need to start over when new funding or a new partnership begins, you can and should build on the strengths of your existing programs,” explains Karleen Porcena, the Operations Manager of the ABCD Mattapan Family Service Center.  “Partnerships take a lot of work,” reflected Anthony Richards of Elm Hill ABCD, “the process includes a kind of courtship, engagement, and marriage.”  And while thinking about the many benefits of partnering to an organization Jasmany “Manny” Beato, a Case Worker at ABCD Parker Hill/Fenway Neighborhood Service Center, finished the day reminded that “the main focus is the client, and asking ourselves how we can do the best for our clients.”


Boston LISC is currently funding two FOCsLIFT Boston in Roxbury and Chelsea CONNECT.

The ABCD Dorchester Neighborhood Service Center has been awarded a planning grant to implement a FOC and is a partner in the Resilient Communities/Resilient Families Initiative (RC/RF) work in Codman Square/Four Corners called Millennium Ten.  For more information on this partnership please visit

The ABCD Mattapan Family Service Center is the Lead Agency for the RC/RF work in Mattapan called Mattapan United.  For more information about this partnership please visit

For more information about all the Resilient Communities/Resilient Families neighborhoods please visit

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