2021-2023 Strategic Plan Progress
Need/Goal Statement: MOC's clients lack reliable access to high quality, affordable, culturally and linguistically competent health care. To increase access to holistic health care for our clients, MOC will build internal capacity to address the spectrum of health needs from health information and education, to primary care, and Behavioral Health. MOC's health services will include a special focus on addressing the disparities in access to care and health outcomes experience by people of color.
Develop a cadre of trusted community health workers (CHWs) to provide health education and outreach (A)
Build in-house capacity to provide primary care medical services to targeted group(s) of clients (A & I/F)
Expand capacity to provide culturally appropriate, anti-racist Behavioral Health Services to clients (A & I/F)
Summary of Progress: Progress has been made toward expanding Community Health Worker (CHW) capacity by assisting staff in obtaining their CHW certification and in securing additional funding for CHW positions via the Family Planning Grant. The Family Planning Grant has also kick-started MOC's efforts to integrate medical services into MOC's program array. We anticipate the Family Clinic will start seeing patients in early 2024. In addition, we have entered into a management services agreement with a Fitchburg-based pediatric practice with the intention of purchasing the practice and launching Opportunity Health at the end of 2024. The Counseling Center at MOC has launched successfully and earned a 3-year CARF accreditation. In the past 12 months, the Couseling Center doubled its capacity to serve those in need of behavioral health supports. MOC has also had success in recruiting a diverse Behavioral Health workforce. Moving forward, efforts to retain and expand diverse staffing in the areas of health and behavioral health should remain a focus and additional attention should be paid toward training staff on Trauma Informed Care and the intersection of race and health/mental health. More information can be found here.
Need/Goal Statement: North Central MA lacks the necessary capacity to meet families' varied child care needs. Over the next two years, MOC, the region's Head Start provider, will work collaboratively with higher education, skills training providers, and existing child care providers to expand the region's capacity to provide a range of child care options that meet all families needs and that can scale up and down as conditions in the economy dictate. A special focus will be placed on engaging families of color and educators of color to ensure more appropriate representation of people of color as both customers and providers of early education and care services.
Support expansion of the local early education and child care workforce by partnering with higher education and skills training providers in innovative ways (C)
Expand region's capacity to engage families of color in early education and care opportunities (C)
Summary of Progress: Investments have been made in infrastructure to support healthy environments for CCHS students and in building CCHS staff capacity to pivot between in-person and hybrid working environments via training in communication platforms and data systems as well as in developing policies and procedures related to continuity of operations. There is ongoing coordination with Fitchburg State University, Mount Wachusett Community College, and Monty Tech's teacher training programs to support a pipeline of staff for MOC's CCHS. In addition, MOC has launched an in-house Child Development Associate (CDA) program. Moving forward, work should focus on expanding access to services for families of color as well as recruiting and maintaining a diverse workforce. A new Making Opportunity Work for Employees Initiative kicked-off with an agency-wide staff survey around existing and needed benefits. Data from the survey informed MOC's decision to add employee benefits such as: tuition programs in partnership with MA Providers Council and other state resources, free mental health support, removal of the waiting period for employer 403b contributions, Pet Insurance, a new EAP plan, and various perks and discounts.
Ready programming and facilities to meet pandemic-related health and safety standards to maximize MOC's capacity as a early education & care provider (A)
Build staff capacity to be "ready" to pivot (A)
Need/Goal Statement: Low-income community members in North Central Massachusetts lack the necessary skills and supports to find and maintain employment that pays a living wage. Utilizing our Bundled Services approach, MOC will provide holistic services to people (re)entering the workforce in order to set them on the path toward sustainable employment with the opportunity to grow meaningful and economically viable careers. MOC will also build agency capacity to offer internship opportunities and financial incentives to people of color to support the diversification of the local workforce, particularly in the areas of early education and care and health care.
Provide Bundled Services to residents seeking re(employment) to support training, search, placement, and maintenance (I/F)
Provide internship opportunities, in-house, in the fields of child care and/or health care, for low-income community members, particularly those of color (I/F)
Provide financial incentives to people of color to pursue career pathways in early education and care and health care (I/F)
Foster an attitude of entrepreneurship among our communities' youth of color by launching a Youth Innovation Center ( (A & I/F)
Support people of color in maximizing income and building net-worth by providing access to financial resources and products (i.e., Financial Empowerment Center) (A & I/F)
Develop innovative strategy around Universal Basic Income (A & C)
Summary of Progress: Progress has been made toward integrating Financial Empowerment programming into MOC's program array and creating structure within the Workforce Development area. MOC explored becoming a SNAP Employment & Training provider, which would help to offset expenses in the area of Workforce Development and thus further increase capacity. For now, these efforts are on hold as we navigate a significant expansion of programming in the areas of health care and housing (see related sections). Though challenged by continuing construction delays, the Youth Innovation Center has a dedicated group of Youth Founders driving program development and preparing the space and themselves as leaders for the official launch slated for early 2024. Finally, partnerships have been forged with institutions of higher education around building MOC's behavioral health and Child Care & Head Start workforces. Please note: due to limited capacity and the significant investment of funds that would be necessary to launch a Universal Basic Income strategy, we are removing Objective 6 from our Strategic Plan and will no longer be tracking and reporting progress toward it.
Need/Goal Statement: North Central Massachusetts lacks sufficient safe, affordable housing for low-income community members. As a result, low-income community members are struggling to afford housing costs (i.e., rents, utilities, etc.). This struggle has been exacerbated by the high unemployment rates resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. To address the lack of available housing, MOC will purchase and rehab housing stock to increase the supply of low-threshold, market-rate quality units. MOC will also offer Emergency Assistance ($) and comprehensive case management services to help community members avoid eviction.
Provide emergency rent/mortgage/utility assistance to low-income households (I/F)
Provide comprehensive case management and Financial Empowerment services to households receiving MOC emergency rent/mortgage/utility assistance (I/F)
Purchase multi-family properties and rehab to provide high quality affordable housing for low-income community members (A & I/F)
Package Housing Stabilization model for local landlords to reduce evictions locally (A & C)
Summary of Progress: MOC's focus for the past two years has been on securing and administering funding to support families at risk of losing housing, primarily due to the pandemic. We have served as a hub for emergency housing assistance for the Region, helping families to avoid eviction while earning and maintaining the trust of philanthropic organizations. The past year brought with it two long-awaited opportunities to expand our service array. At the close of FY23, MOC had secured a long-term contract to administer the LIHEAP program in North Central Massachusetts after being recognized by EOHLC as an outstanding provider in our first year. We also opened four Emergency Shelters across the Region in support of the state's homelessness crisis. These new programs have required a temporary refocusing of our priorities away from becoming an affordable housing provider. However, we remain committed to providing case management services to families as they move from transitional to stable housing. Please note: for the reasons listed above, we are removing Objectives 3 and 4 from our Strategic Plan and will no longer be tracking and reporting progress toward them.
To review MOC's Strategic Plan Progress for the period of October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2023, please visit here.