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2024-2026 Strategic Plan

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DOMAIN: HEALTH

Health
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Need/Goal Statement: M.O.C.'s clients lack reliable access to high quality, affordable health care that is provided with linguistic competence and cultural humility. To increase access to holistic health care for our clients, M.O.C. will build internal capacity to address the spectrum of health needs from health information and education (including nutrition education) to family planning, primary care, and Behavioral Health.

Provide nutrition education to 10,000 residents, annually.

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Increase the percentage of eligible M.O.C. clients who are enrolled in nutrition benefits and programs by 10%, annually.

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N/A

Expand capacity to provide comprehensive culturally appropriate Behavioral Health Services by 10%, annually.

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N/A

Provide Sexual & Reproductive Health/Women's Health to 400 residents of North Central Massachusetts, annually.

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Build capacity to provide Primary Care services to 2,500 residents of North Central Massachusetts by 2025.

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Summary of Progress: Nutrition Education is being provided ongoing in Nutrition Services, WIC, and CCHS. Initial conversations have begun around interdisciplinary collaboration on a nutrition education curriculum for integration into a wider range of M.O.C. programming. Making Opportunity Count's Reproductive Health Services clinic opened on schedule in late 2023. The focus for the second half of FY24 will be developing a marketing plan that is sensitive to the needs and preferences of the clinic's target populations (i.e., low-income individuals, adolescents, people of color, and LGBTQ+ populations) to boost engagement in the services. After further consideration of market factors and organizational capacity, Making Opportunity Count has decided to redirect energy away from developing our own primary care services and toward enhancing existing programming while also forging new collaborations with health care providers in the community.

DOMAIN: EDUCATION

Education

Need/Goal Statement: North Central Massachusetts lacks the necessary capacity to meet families' varied child care needs. Disruptions in the early education and care system during and following the pandemic, a dearth of new educators graduating from training programs, and low-job satisfaction among current educators are hampering the region's ability to provide needed early education and care programming, particularly to families with low incomes. As the region's Head Start provider, M.O.C. will bolster recruiting and retention efforts to ensure we are operating at maximum capacity and creating safe, healthy learning environments for our students, families, and staff.

Build a pipeline of early education and child care providers by partnering with higher education and skills training providers in innovative ways.

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Increase Behavioral Health supports for teachers as well as children and families to decrease disruptions in the classroom.

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Improve staff retention through wellness programming.

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Achieve pre-pandemic capacity in the Family Child Care Home program.

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Promote healthy and safe environments for children, families, and staff.

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Summary of Progress: Efforts during the first six months of FY24 focused on staff recruitment, retention, and development. Though our own online Child Development Associate (CDA) credentialling program and partnerships with local educational institutions around coursework and internship placements, Making Opportunity Count's Head Start program has sufficient staff to operate all classrooms. Opportunities for staff development, including tuition reimbursement, and recent wage increases have helped to slow the tremendous turnover that characterized the COVID years. Additional supports to teachers and families around behavioral health, through training in trauma informed approaches and an embedded clinician, are also helping to stabilize classrooms and the workforce. Ongoing health and safety improvements to facilities are continually improving learning conditions for children, families, and teachers.

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DOMAIN: WORKFORCE

Workforce
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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. As one of the larger employers in the North Central MA region, M.O.C. has the opportunity to impact the economies of over four hundred local households, many of which are living at or near the CSBG income eligibility level. Through ongoing enhancement of our wages and benefits programs as well as our staff engagement and development efforts, MOC be an employer of choice for individuals living in our service area.

Promote a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace.

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Enhance employee engagement through a learning and development strategy.

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Augment employee earnings by cultivating a meaningful benefits package.

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Enhance employee knowledge and comprehension of our products and services.

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Summary of Progress: Significant strides have been made in updating and modernizing Making Opportunity Count's onboarding processes. New first day programming and a quarterly Discovery Day have been implemented to give staff a better understanding of the benefits of joining M.O.C.'s team as well as the organization's structure, common procedures, and workplace culture. Making Opportunity Count has hired a project manager to lead an "Employee Knowledge Initiative" aimed at building communication and integration across the agency's wide array of programming. Human Resources and the Leadership Team have worked to engage staff through Listening Sessions; benefits, wage equity, and climate surveys; quarterly Town Hall meetings; and ongoing Employee Opportunity Groups (EOGs). With information gathered through these events and tools, M.O.C. leadership has worked to better align both benefits and staff engagement strategies with staff-elevated needs and priorities. Making Opportunity Count's Human Resources Department and the existing EOGs are planning two events for the second half of FY24 and early FY25 - a series of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging trainings by Human in Common (June and August) and Opportunity Summit (October), an all staff day of learning and togetherness.

Housing

DOMAIN: HOUSING

Need/Goal Statement: Residents of North Central Massachusetts are struggling to find, afford, and maintain safe, energy efficient housing. This struggle has been exacerbated by ongoing utility cost increases, post-pandemic rent increases, and an increase in demand for temporary and transitional shelter. To help residents find and maintain affordable and energy efficient housing, M.O.C. will offer a continuum of services including: temporary shelter, housing placement and stabilization, and Emergency Assistance ($) programming as well as weatherization services and other energy efficiency improvements. 

Temporarily shelter 360 families facing homelessness in M.O.C. operated EA Shelters, annually.

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Stabilize 80 families in permanent housing, annually.

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Reduce housing costs for 7,530 families through rent and utility assistance programs, annually.

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Reduce housing costs for 3,000 families through energy efficiency improvements, annually.

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Add 15 units of affordable housing in M.O.C.'s Service Area by 2026.

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Summary of Progress: Making Opportunity Count is now operating 8 Emergency Shelters across the region. Placements into permanent housing from the shelters, as well as our existing permanent family shelter at Devens, are slow due to a severe shortage of affordable housing units across the region. To help increase affordable housing options for low-income households, Making Opportunity Count has hired a Community Property Development leader. With this new capacity, M.O.C. is in the process of engaging multiple stakeholders in developing a plan to create additional affordable housing units in the region. In the meantime, families in the shelters, as well as in our C3 and UMass/Tufts ACO programs, receive case management and placement assistance as they move toward more stable living situations. Making Opportunity Count continues to provide services that reduce housing costs for families with low incomes through our LIHEAP, weatherization, and heating system repair and replacement programs. Additional financial assistance for utilities and rent is on hold until federal funds are released through the EFSP program.

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