October 14 - 21, 1998

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Four Groups Combine for New Employment Initiative


In a unique collaboration designed to heighten the employability of Hartford residents, four long-time Hartford community organizations will join forces to provide comprehensive city workforce development services. The announcement was made at a press conference on Tuesday, October 13, at the Connecticut Puerto Rican Forum on Park Street.

The PROGRESS (Program for Economic Self-Sufficiency) Partnership will coordinate for the first time, efforts of the Connecticut Puerto Rican Forum, Hartford Areas Rally Together (H.A.RT.), Southend Community Services and the Urban League of Greater Hartford to provide the employment training, support and placement services needed by Hartford residents and area employers. The PROGRESS Partnership has been awarded a grant of $700,000 from the Capital Region Workforce Development Board to provide services to welfare recipients. The partnership has also received additional support from the City of Hartford, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and the Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA) as well as the Mott, Rockefeller and Chase Bank Foundations.

"This is an historic occasion," said Ramon Rojano, Director of Human Services, City of Hartford. "For the first time, with the support and assistance of the State and City, these dedicated community organizations will join together to help city residents achieve their dreams of financial independence."

"Our goal is to place as many clients as possible into unsubsidized employment while jointly meeting the workforce needs of area employers," added Pamela Walsh, a veteran workforce development professional who was named PROGRESS Director. "We can now pool resources, share information, and launch joint job development initiatives to better serve our community."

Walsh will oversee the PROGRESS welfare to work initiatives along with John Padilla, who earlier this year was named Director of the Neighborhood Jobs Initiative for the Frog Hollow section of Hartford.
The PROGRESS Partnership will operate out of the HART Community Job Center at 207 Washington Street.

"While each of the four member organizations [of PROGRESS] has delivered its own workforce development services, the goal of the PROGRESS Partnership is to more efficiently coordinate these efforts, thereby minimizing duplication and creating a seamless, city-wide, and cost-effective service delivery system," said Frank Perez, Executive Director of the Connecticut Puerto Rican Forum on behalf of the four PROGRESS organizations.

Among the continuum of services to be provided by the PROGRESS Partnership will be screening, assessment, orientation, training, placement and post-placement support for employees being introduced or re-introduced to the workplace.

"We have been working with each agency individually, and so I am pleased to work with the PROGRESS Partnership collaboration to benefit our residents," said Frank Chiaramonte, Executive Director, Capital Region Workforce Development Board. "The four agencies will work great together, and the Board is also very excited to work with the PROGRESS Partnership."

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