As we leave summer and transition to fall, our leadership and staff have taken the opportunity to reflect on the past several unpredictable months, step back with perspective, and develop a thoughtful plan for the future. The safety of our clients, staff, and community has been at the forefront of our minds as we continue to navigate life with COVID-19. We remain grateful to Mayor Marty Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker for their continued efforts to keep all residents of the Commonwealth safe. Their guidance has been instrumental in informing our response to the pandemic.
Project Place is proud to report success in the profound efforts of our staff this spring to create and implement virtual stabilization, workforce development, and career service programming. This resulted in a lifeline to our clients, connecting them to critical resources to address their immediate needs. Over the past five months, our remote programming model has improved with practice and presented new avenues to reach community members in need. Project Place served over 400 more individuals during this period than in previous years. We have been able to engage individuals who are isolated due to COVID-19, who would ordinarily have attended in-person classes at our building in the South End. We have also connected with individuals who may have faced obstacles from attending in-person classes in the past, such as mothers with children at home and individuals living a bit further away. We have gotten creative, adding a rolling admissions model and night classes to increase access to our programs during these especially difficult times.
Our newest addition, SPARRC (Stabilization Programming Around Recovery and Resilience Coaching), has been instrumental in reaching a population of individuals who have traditionally struggled to find stability. In August, 120 clients participated in SPARRC services through workshops and individual meetings connecting them to resources and technology. Currently, we have 20 clients enrolled in our virtual Work Ready class, creating cover letters, resumes and participating in virtual mock interviews. Our Industry Internship Program (IIP), which provides clients with advanced industry training, nationally recognized credentials and transitional employment in our social enterprises, ran a successful online Serve-Safe training in August. Project Place Enterprises (CCBH, LEAP and WOW) welcomed new trainees in positions as essential workers providing facilities maintenance, logistics, and production services in the community. Project Place staff returned to the Suffolk County House of Correction, providing job readiness classes and reentry support.
Despite the many challenges imposed by the pandemic, we have not missed a day in supporting our clients. Our structured virtual programming will continue this fall through online workshops, Google Classroom, Zoom meetings, and telephone calls. Staff have begun inviting clients into the building to meet with them individually and in small groups to work on employment applications, housing referrals, and provide one-on-one counseling.
We are touched by the perseverance and motivation of our clients in these unprecedented times and have been reminded of the importance of a supportive community to such a vulnerable population. Project Place remains dedicated to our mission. As we continue our vital work of securing employment and permanent housing for those in need, we are grateful for your continued commitment to our community.
Suzanne Kenney, Executive Director
Aaryn Manning, Incoming Executive Director