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
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
"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
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."