Springfield program putting people to work and improving properties

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Reducing the unemployment rate, and helping neighbors live in a healthy home. That’s the goal of a new workforce training program in Springfield.

And the best part is…it’s free. Take a few tests and you’ll be eligible for 200 hours of workforce training.

Futureworks Career Center in Springfield says they already have 15 people interested in a new free construction training course. Applicants will be tutored in carpentry, mold abatement, de-leading, energy efficiency, work site safety and property management.

Joe Mineo, Futureworks Career Center:
“Getting this type of training or certificate will lead to full-time employment for folks who are laid off. Getting updated skills so they can get back into the workforce,” explained Joe Mineo of Futureworks Career Center.

If you are interested, you have to take a few tests and live in certain sections of Springfield.

“Even though we are at a flat employment level for the region. Your inner cities like Springfield and other cities tend to have higher unemployment levels, especially in the minority population,” said Larry Martin of the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County.

It’s part of the Healthy Homes program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Their skills will be used to repair homes in their own community. Springfield’s Memorial Square and Six Corner’s neighborhood.

“Many of the homes were damaged by the tornado. Some of which were in receipt of aid from FEMA and insurance immediately and many of which were not. Some of those have taken on additional damage over the last four, five or six years,” explained Senior Project Manager for the Healthy Home Program, Nigel Greaves.

Greaves told 22News he has about 30 people who’ve applied for property repairs. Owners need to have their income verified. If chosen they will be eligible for a 0% interest forgivable home loan.

The training courses will be held at Putnam Vocational Technical Academy in Springfield.