Community Action Welcomes Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

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Gillibrand GreetingU.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited the Community Action Planning Council to voice her support for the Weatherization Assistance Program, a federally-funded program that helps families reduce energy bills by making homes more energy efficient.  The program’s funding has been drastically reduced, beginning April 1, 2013.  Senator Gillibrand has traveled around the state to rally local support of the Weatherization Assistance Program.

“With winter here and temperatures plummeting, that means higher energy costs for families and businesses,” said Senator Gillibrand.  “During these tough economic times, many New Yorkers simply cannot afford this added strain on their budgets– especially since New Yorkers already pay more than the national average for energy costs.  Weatherization programs help save families hundreds on energy costs while supporting local construction, small businesses and manufacturing jobs.”

“The Weatherization Assistance Program is one way in which the lives of low-income families are improved – by providing warmth and reducing energy costs, thereby increasing their ability to purchase other bare necessities such as food and medicine,” said Melinda Gault, Executive Director for the Community Action Planning Council.  “In the bitter cold winter environment of the north country, Weatherization is a vital service for low-income households.”

As part of today’s press conference, Christine Davenport, a local resident whose home has been weatherized, shared what the program has meant to her family.  “The savings in energy costs have made a big difference in the family budget,” said Christine.  “Thanks to the Weatherization program, my home is warmer, safer, and greener.”

There are currently 350 families on the agency’s Weatherization waiting list.  At current funding levels, it would take 3 and 1/2 years to accommodate these families.

Head Start and Senator Gillibrand

At the conclusion of the program, students from the Community Action Planning Council’s Head Start program presented Senator Gillibrand with custom-made t-shirts for each member of her family.  Back row, from left: William Tennet, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Lianna McAtee, Sydney Lambert, Head Start/Pre-K Director Marie Ambrose, and Ariel Raymond.  Front row, from left: Landon John, Adaya Clark, Nathan Keruskie, and Nicholas Burr.

New READY TO WORK Programs Available at Community Action

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The Community Action Planning Council is launching four new workforce development programs with support from the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). Ready to Work is designed to help prepare low-income individuals to be competitive in the job market. To be eligible, residents must live in Jefferson County and have an annual gross household income at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level. For example, this means $13,963 or less for a single person or $28,813 or less for a family of four. Click here to view poverty guidelines.  Proof of income is required.  The Ready to Work initiative includes the following programs:

Vocational Education
Working in partnership with The Workplace, Community Action will provide qualified participants with financial assistance for vocational education that will lead to employment upon completion. The goal is to be ready to enter the job market before September 30, 2013. Educational options include Certified Nursing Assistant, Home Health Aid, as well as advanced coursework in Licensed Practical Nursing, Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning, Welding, Electrical, etc. Upon completion of the program, participants will be provided with follow-up assistance in gaining a job.

To qualify for vocational education, candidates must visit The Workplace, located at 1000 Coffeen Street in Watertown.

For the following Ready to Work programs, interested candidates should contact Sherry at the Community Action Planning Council at 315.782.4900, ext. 271.

Adult Education Assistance
Eligible candidates will be provided with financial assistance to attend workshops relating to professional skills development, such as desktop publishing, communication, writing, software applications, etc.

Employability Skills Training
Participating individuals will be provided with training in employability skills to include job searches, resume building, interviewing and communication. Training will be conducted by the Jefferson Community College mobile computer lab, Jefferson Express. Small group classes are expected to run March through August 2013.

Support Services
Community Action will assist with supports that allow individuals to maintain their education or work schedule. Support services include but are not limited to uniforms/work attire, proper shoes, tools, tutoring, child care, transportation, food and other household assistance, etc.

These programs have a limited number of openings and are first-come, first served. Federal funding is currently only available through September 30. Depending on the success of these programs, they may be re-funded next fiscal year. Local support of Ready to Work is provided by the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency and the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.

Individuals who participate in Ready to Work programs must be willing to meet with a Community Action case manager to create a plan for obtaining self-sufficiency and to discuss their progress. For more information or to determine eligibility, please contact Sherry at 315.782.4900, ext 271.