The Fedcap School Graduates Another Remarkable Class

The Fedcap School Graduates Another Remarkable Class

This year’s class continued an exceptional metric of success for The Fedcap School—100 percent of enrolled students have graduated over the past five years. All of this year’s graduates are either starting jobs or going to college.

Seventeen remarkable young people graduated from The Fedcap School in a ceremony on June 14, 2022. This year’s class continued an exceptional metric of success for The Fedcap School—100 percent of enrolled students have graduated over the past five years. All of this year’s graduates are either starting jobs or going to college.

Many of the students are the first in their family to graduate from high school. One graduate, a young woman who joined the school at 13 and is now 21, struggled hard at first but has earned a bonded security license to provide security for banks. She said, “I thought I would never make it to this day. I’m a different person now and I can hardly believe it.”

“I was especially proud of this group because they had two years of remote instruction,” said Fedcap School Director Luanne Macri. “I saw firsthand what being out of school for that long did to them, and how they regressed. They missed their friends. It was hard, and it took a while to get it all back.”

Fedcap Inc. Justice Initiatives Efforts Are Reducing Recidivism and Praised by NYC Department of Corrections

Fedcap Inc. Justice Initiatives Efforts Are Reducing Recidivism and Praised by NYC Department of Corrections

Each individual Fedcap works with actively engages in services to meet their ongoing reentry needs, with the goal of successful integration into the community and reduction in recidivism.

On May 19th at around noon, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) and NYC Department of Corrections (DOC) contacted Silvia Estrada, Director of Justice Initiatives for Fedcap Inc. Nineteen men were being released from Rikers Island early as part of a 6A initiative (Rikers Early Release due to COVID), and 14 of them would be coming to Fedcap between 6pm and midnight. The men didn’t know they were being released until that day. Would she be ready to receive them?

Sylvia and her team sprang into action. Staff members from Fedcap Inc.’s IMPACT and LINK programs offered to stay as late as needed to welcome the men home. They prepared hygiene kits, metro cards, gift cards, snacks and cell phones for the men to have upon arrival. Most of those returning from Rikers have homes to return to, but for those that don’t IMPACT coordinates with an agency that places people in hotels designated for reentry.

At 9 pm, the DOC bus arrived at Fedcap offices at Gertz Plaza in Queens. “The gentlemen were greeted by our team with smiles, lots of clapping and all the goodies,” Silvia said. “Seeing their faces brought joy to all of us. Every single one of them thanked us and were extremely appreciative. We heard statements like ‘When I woke up this morning, I never imagined I would be out and coming home to all of this, it is incredible.’”

To date, the IMPACT team (Integrated Model through Programming, Accountability, Community and Training) has received 46 individuals from Rikers early release, and 30-40 more are expected in the next few weeks. The team follows up with each individual on a weekly basis as part of an early release contract they sign with DOC.

All were enrolled in LINK, (Leveraging Inspiration, Networks and Knowledge) Fedcap Inc.’s Rikers-based program, where 22 fulltime staff work on Rikers. The program is active in four of the nine jails on Rikers Island. LINK engages with about 700 people daily, providing case management, mentorship, work readiness and hard skills training. After release, individuals are enrolled in IMPACT, Fedcap Inc.’s reentry program. Each individual actively engages in services to meet their ongoing reentry needs, with the goal of successful integration into the community and reduction in recidivism. Reentry supports include mentorship, medical and mental health referrals, substance use treatment referrals, work readiness, sector-based training, job placement, retention services, and case management.

The yeoman work of Silvia and her team elicited high praise from DOC. “I wanted to personally offer our sincere gratitude to you and your team for your commitment and dedication to those assigned to our care,” wrote Francis Torres, Deputy Commissioner, Division of Programs and Community Partnerships, DOC. “The dignified way in which Fedcap welcomes and celebrates their reintegration is unparalleled. We know the work we will do is always wrapped in uncertainty and yet all we can do is try. And Fedcap does that and more.”

The programs have an impressive record of success in their first year of operation. Employment metrics show that 108 individuals served by the program are actively employed—about 25 percent of those enrolled since rollout. There have been only two rearrests, not even a single percent of those served. The program has great value in reducing overcrowding and fights at Rikers Island. Those eligible for early release are noted for good behavior and have no incidents on their records.
Grant Collins, Senior Vice President of Workforce Development, The Fedcap Group, praised the teams’ efforts. “The work that we do providing much needed in-community services for those coming out of incarceration is vital. Silvia and her team continue to do exceptional work right here in New York City. Congratulations to the entire Fedcap Inc. criminal justice team serving the community inside Riker’s Island and those returning to New York City.”

CWS Gala Highlights 145 Years of Impact

CWS Gala Highlights 145 Years of Impact

Community Work Services’ annual Gala was special in so many ways. The Gala marked the 145th anniversary of this venerable organization that was founded in 1877 as the Cooperative Society of Visitors Among the Poor of Boston. With a mission to provide services to those in need by addressing the roots of poverty through employment, education, and housing improvements, CWS is part of the fabric of the Greater Boston community.  

The inspiring and energized event, held at the Boston Hyatt Regency and attended by over 200 people, honored CWS’ history, heritage and legacy, as well as some of Boston’s most valiant champions whose contributions are what keep Boston strong!  

Our 145th Anniversary Gala was such a success in so many ways,” said CWS Executive Director Craig Stenning. “We filled the room with friends and supporters, shared a wonderful meal and exceeded our revenue targets. Our presenters and Honorees told the story of CWS in a very powerful way—a story of hope and excellence, and of 145 years of helping individuals with barriers to economic wellbeing live lives full of possibility, opportunity, security, and hope.”      

One of many highlights was when Erika Tarantal, Emmy Award Winning Journalist, WCVB Channel 5, and the evening’s MC, introduced Mass. Governor Charlie Barker, who offered kind words and thanks for CWS’ service to the community.  Lauren Baker, 1st Lady of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, was presented with a Public Service Award for her tireless work on behalf of the state’s nonprofit agencies. Also present in the room were a host of state representatives and city councilors.  

Christine McMahon, President and CEO of The Fedcap Group, offered inspiring words about the persistence of CWS and honored its beloved outgoing Board Chair Paul Davis. “It is remarkable that throughout the momentous events of the past 145 years, CWS stayed strong, rising to the task of meeting the ever-changing needs of the city of Boston. This does not happen but for steady, savvy leadership at the top level—and for nearly 20 years that leadership resided with Paul Davis.  I know from personal experience as a CEO, how much lighter the load is when you know you have a real partner in the work.  I am certain both Serena and Craig sincerely appreciated Paul’s guidance and insight.

CWS was founded by Annie Fields, a revered figure in Boston’s history. At the Gala, Paul Davis presented the Annie Fields Founder’s Award to Serena Powell, who served as CEO of CWS from 2004 to 2017, and is now Executive Director of Fedcap Maine.  ‘Annie Fields led with courage and strength, and those words fit Serena to a t,” Paul said. “Serena implemented new programs, imposed fiscal discipline, and put in place modern structure and governance. She initiated growth that allowed us to serve more participants with better results. Thank you Serena for your many years of service and for the impact you made on so many lives. ”  

 In accepting the award, Serena said–“Today, we talk about inclusion, diversity, equity, social justice and accessibility, but these are not new conceptsThe women who founded CWS knew that our society would be better if everyone, not just some, are supported to succeed.”   

Other highlights from the evening included a successful paddle raise fundraiser to help returning citizens, as well as a program to provide job coaching and placement services for Ukrainian refugees who are coming to Boston in search of a new and safe life.   It also included  presenting the Helen Keller Leadership Award to State Senator William Brownsberger, who played a key role in both the criminal justice reforms of 2018 and the police reforms of 2020.      And presenting the 2022 Participant Award  to Joshua Fatal, a returning citizen.  Joshua inspired the gathering with his powerful story about the journey that brought him to CWS—and to success and sustainable employment.  

CWS helped me get a job at a Boston Hotel,” Joshua said. “It changed my life.  The training at CWS helped me get into this role and provided me with a foundation for the future. They gave me all the tools I need to succeed, and I am so grateful.” 

Older Workers: A Solution to the Labor Shortage

Older Workers: A Solution to the Labor Shortage interviewed ReServe Executive Director Edward Bolognini about what older workers bring to businesses, and how they can help solve the labor shortage.

Ed Bolognini, Executive Director of ReServe was recently interviewed for an article on the website of NerdWallet, a personal finance company with a strong online presence.

The article–Are Older Workers a Solution to the Labor Shortage?–asks whether older workers, classified as those age 40 and over by the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, are the answer to today’s labor shortage. There are 10,000 people turning 65 every day in this country. They possess a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can be tremendously beneficial to companies. Currently ReServe has 435 ReServists placed in organizations throughout New York City, Miami, Augusta, MA, Boston, MA and Wilmington DE.

To date, the article has been picked up by Yahoo Finance,, The Tallahassee Tribune, (in Grant County, Oregon), The Weekly Journal (Puerto Rico & Caribbean), WFMZ-TV website (Berks County/Philadelphia/Lehigh Valley), Madisonville Messenger (Kentucky), and Alexander City Outlook (Alabama).

ReServe was founded in 2005 by Jack Rosenthal, Herb Sturz and Michael Weinstein, on the premise that hiring older workers, leveraging their experience and talents is good for business and good for the older worker. In the NerdWallet article, Ed had the opportunity to expand on the value of older workers–beyond the experience and knowledge they bring to the workplace, there is also a cultural advantage they bring to the organization. Their no-nonsense work ethic, ability to motivate co-workers and insight on how to solve seemingly intractable problems is invaluable.

“You’ve worked with people, for people, around people for a long enough time that you have settled into how you successfully interact with colleagues, supervisors, customers and clients,” he said.

Click here to read the article. Congratulations to Ed for sharing his insights, and for bringing ReServe to the attention of a wide national audience.

Fedcap’s Families Forward Employs Mainers in Their First Step Toward Economic Well-Being

Fedcap’s Families Forward Employs Mainers in Their First Step Toward Economic Well-Being

The people who drive Families Forward live and work in the state of Maine including the Executive Director Serena Powell and every member of her leadership team.


Families Forward is committed to helping people obtain long term economic well-being. Families Forward was designed and implemented to meet the existing and emerging needs of the people of Maine. The people who drive Families Forward live and work in the state of Maine including the Executive Director Serena Powell and every member of her leadership team.

93 Maine residents are employed in Families Forward, with wages that exceed most social service jobs in the state of Maine. Of those 33 were born in Maine. They have robust benefit packages and are provided numerous opportunities for professional training through our Brown Bag Lunches and Professional Development Collaborative and leadership development through our Leadership Academy. They are raising their families, including 133 children, in Maine and contributing to the Maine economy.

Nearly 60 percent of the staff of Families Forward have lived in Maine for over 20 years. They are “Mainers” to their core and implement the program with the strong work ethic and integrity the state of Maine is known for.

Families Forward leadership honors individuals who have serve our country demonstrated by the fact that 12 percent of the staff are veterans.

Just under 30 percent of the staff working in Families Forward have been with us from the very beginning—a very high retention rate in social services. Given that this period includes two years of a global pandemic, this retention rate is remarkable. Staff range in age from 18 to 70 with the majority between the ages of 35 and 50, reflecting the average age in Maine. Four percent of the staff are over the age of 70—demonstrating our commitment to hiring people who bring diverse views and experiences to the work.

Maine has a diverse population of immigrants and over the past five plus years, Families Forward has intentionally and successfully recruited diverse staff, 32 percent of whom speak more than one language.

Families Forward also “walks its talk,” with 30 percent of staff having been former participants; after education and training they found that they were the perfect fit for working in this field. Their “lived” experience is invaluable to other Families Forward staff and to every participant who walks through our door.

Brian Bell Presented with Prestigious UK Employment Services Sector Award

Brian Bell Presented with Prestigious UK Employment Services Sector Award

Brian Bell, CEO of Fedcap Employment and Fedcap Scotland, was recently presented with The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) Outstanding Contribution to the Sector award. ERSA, the national membership body for the employment support sector that advocates for high-quality services for the UK’s jobseekers and low earners, presented Brian with the award in a virtual ceremony in July, 2020—and in person on April 5th of this year at ERSA’s annual conference.

“Brian has devoted his career to readdressing social injustice – and has helped millions of people in the process,” ERSA said in a statement. “From his roots as an Unemployment Benefits and Jobcentre Officer in the 1980s to the prominent employability expert and leader of an international company that he is today, Brian has never forgotten why he does what he does.”

“What an absolute honor to win this award,” Brian said. “I’ve worked in the employability industry pretty much my whole working life. Along the way I’ve met, and learned from, some remarkable people, and been fortunate enough to get involved in so many incredibly interesting projects – some in the U.K, some further afield including Ireland, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. I have a wonderful team around me, who I love working with. They are as passionate about their work as I am, and they keep me right.”

Leaders across The Fedcap Group praised the great work of Brian and his team, and the recognition by ERSA.

“I want to congratulate Brian for this well-deserved award, and for his remarkable work on behalf of individuals and families seeking a path out of the cycle of unemployment,” said Christine McMahon, President and CEO of The Fedcap Group. “Brian understands the root causes of unemployment and what it takes to motivate and prepare people to find and keep sustainable work. The energy, empathy and professionalism he brings to this critical work are an inspiration to his customers and his great UK team. His innovations have changed countless lives and helped to rebuild communities across the UK, and are now being exported around the world.”

“Congratulations to Brian Bell, for the impact of his work on so many, and his professional contributions over the years,” said Grant Collins SVP Workforce Development the Fedcap Group, and President of Fedcap UK. “Brian is a true ambassador for the industry, and this is a well-deserved honor reserved for only the very best!”

Susan Paterson, UK Operations Director for Fedcap Employment and Fedcap Scotland, has been working with Brian for 17 years, starting at Working Links, an employability organization that was founded in 2000. “Brian has always been close to the front of the business and, and he has never lost his human touch,” she said. “He is completely customer focused, he understands the impact of unemployment and economic hardship on customers, families and communities. He knows from a customer perspective what solutions will work, and that is what makes him so unique.”  

Growing up in an economically deprived area of Gateshead in Tyne and Wear, in North East England, Brian witnessed firsthand the impact of inter-generational unemployment on individuals and families. He noted the lack of effective supports and interventions, early experiences that inspired him to seek new and innovative solutions to support those caught up in the cycle of unemployment.

Today, Brian is widely recognized as an expert in creating innovative interventions that work for the people who need them most, consistently using his expertise and deep sense of empathy to support people on the road out of poverty to sustainable employment. The impact of his work extends well beyond the UK as his work readiness practices are exported to governments in the Republic of Ireland, Singapore, Chile, France, Poland, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, the US, and Canada.

Brian began his career in 1980 as a Frontline Unemployment Benefit / Jobcentre Adviser, part of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the UK’s largest government department with responsibility for welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy. After 20 years with DWP in a variety of positions, he was a founding director of Working Links, where he served as Managing Director. Brian has served as CEO of Fedcap Employment and Fedcap Scotland since 2019

Fedcap Rehabilitation Workers Thanked for Keeping GSA Facilities Open During Pandemic

Fedcap Rehabilitation Workers Thanked for Keeping GSA Facilities Open During Pandemic

Fedcap Rehabilitation workers at the GSA New Jersey Consolidated contract have shown unwavering commitment throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.

On Tuesday, March 29, Fedcap Rehabilitation President Steve Coons visited with the team for a thank-you lunch provided by GSA. Also present were GSA’s Gary Palmer, Mark Drumel, and John Beier, who all praised the Fedcap client worker staffs for their service, their selfless work ethic, and attention to detail as they kept the GSA facilities safe and open for business every day during the Pandemic, for tenants as well as the public who utilize these facilities.

Chelton Loft Chosen to Participate in NYC Mural Arts Project to Reduce Stigma of Mental Illness

Chelton Loft Chosen to Participate in NYC Mural Arts Project to Reduce Stigma of Mental Illness

Artist Kristy MarCarthy shows a mural draft to attendees at the community event.
Charlene Niles, Chelton Loft Assistant Director; Kristy McCarthy, artist; Suzanne Stoute, Chelton Loft Program Director
Artist Kristy McCarthy and Peer Specialist Felix Guzman discussing mural at community event.

Chelton Loft, a Psychosocial Clubhouse for adults living with serious mental illness has been selected to participate in the innovative New York City Mural Arts Project (NYCMAP).

The project is a collaboration between Chelton Loft, a part of Wildcat Services Corporation, and NYCMAP, a program of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) that uses the collaborative mural-making process to discuss mental health and foster new relationships in NYC communities. It works with community-based organizations, artists, people living with a mental health condition, and the community at large to promote mental health awareness and break down stigmas associated with mental illness.

Over the course of the six-month project, art workshops are held at Chelton Loft and interspersed with events held in the community, said Suzanne Stoute, Chelton Loft Director. The workshops and events include discussions about peoples’ experiences with stigma around mental illness.

NYCMAP provides a mural artist and a peer with lived mental health experience to lead discussions and develop a theme for the mural. Chelton Loft was chosen among numerous community mental health provider applicants to participate in NYCMAP. At an event on March 21 at EL Barrio’s Artspace, community members were invited to see the artist’s sketch of the mural, provide feedback and to learn more about Chelton Loft.

The ideas for the mural have been contributed by Chelton Loft members, about 15 of whom are participating in the project. The final design will be revealed at its official unveiling at the end of June in East Harlem. The mural will feature scenes reflective of healing, and of the spirit of tolerance, inclusion and support that defines the East Harlem community. It will be 25 ft. x 46 ft. and painted on polytab (also known as parachute cloth).

Chelton Loft, located in East Harlem, has been operating for over 35 years and is accredited by Clubhouse International, which works to strengthen and expand clubhouses worldwide. Clubhouses assist adults living with mental illness to promote their recovery and reintegration into a meaningful role in community life. This is accomplished through the provision of self-help, empowerment interventions, community living, and academic, vocational or leisure time rehabilitation.

The NYCMAP project has had a profound and positive impact on clubhouse members, spurring powerful discussions of the nature and prevalence of mental illness, and inspiring Clubhouse members to create art, some for the first time.

“The event at EL Barrio’s Artspace was positive and fun. Members have reported several interesting takeaways including the discussion around the statistic that 1 in 5 adults have a diagnosable mental illness and a chance to share their talents and skills with the larger Harlem community,” Suzanne said. “It is having a big impact on our members by reminding them that their voices are heard. It is also attracting members of the community, young and old, to learn more about the work of Chelton Loft.”

MVLE Honored For 50 Years of Helping People With Disabilities Thrive in Their Communities

MVLE Honored For 50 Years of Helping People With Disabilities Thrive in Their Communities

On March 9th, Virginia State Senator George Barker (D), Southern Fairfax County, read a proclamation and statement recognizing MVLE and its work in the community.

The Senator’s statement came as MVLE, which operates in Senator Barker’s district, prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary as an agency.

“Senator Barker is an outstanding leader in our community, he has been a voice to be heard and his advocacy for people with disabilities is unmeasurable,” said MVLE President and CEO April Pinch-Keeler. “To provide a voice when others are not able or given the opportunity to be heard is something that takes awareness, truly makes a difference in lives of people with disabilities. Senator Barker was a lead champion in passing Medicaid expansion in Virginia, and he continues to ‘work with purpose.’ On behalf of MVLE, I thank the Senator for recognizing MVLE’s 50 years of providing services for people with disabilities and supporting our mission of Creating Futures One Person At A Time.”

Here is Senator Barker’s statement–

“For 50 years, MVLE has been helping people with disabilities reach their full potential and realize their dreams through education, training and job placement. The impact of MVLE’s work is felt across northern Virginia, where persons with varying degrees of abilities are living independent, productive lives, overcoming challenges and bringing pride and joy to their loved ones as they pursue their personal and career goals.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the employment of people with disabilities. With an unerring sense of purpose and a laser focus on mission, MVLE continues to fight for equity and inclusion, helping people identify their interests; understand work-related goals; become familiar with job and career possibilities, and know the dignity of work and the feeling of a job well done.

Each year, MVLE partners with over 125 local organizations to provide community-based work opportunities and rehabilitation services to more than 450 adults with disabilities. And our capacity is growing–in 2018, MVLE became a part of The Fedcap Group, a global network of top-tier nonprofit agencies dedicated to advancing the lives of people with barriers to economic well-being.

Working with our government and business partners, MVLE is set to deliver at least 50 more years of service to the people of Virginia, In the words of Sharon Bartlett, whose daughter Rachel is an MVLE client—“MVLE believes that their clients can learn. They don’t see a ceiling. They believe that people always have the ability to grow and expand their knowledge. MVLE lives that, and it shows.”

Fedcap’s Document Management brings One Stop Solutions to Business

Fedcap’s Document Management brings One Stop Solutions to Business

The Fedcap Group has been recognized as a pioneer in social enterprise since its founding 87 years ago. That proud tradition lives on today in the work of Fedcap Rehabilitation’s Digital Imaging and Document Management team.

Under the leadership of Kevin Pugh, the team’s excellent work has left a trail of very satisfied internal customers. “When the Document Management team started working at different customer sites, we talked about delivering the best quality of services and viewing all opportunities as potential customers with referrals,” Kevin said. “I am extremely proud of the staff because of their dedication and commitment to successfully establish the first mobile scanning team at Fedcap.”

Fedcap’s Career Services program offers youth and adults (18-24 years) applying for or receiving cash assistance benefits opportunities to help them increase their job skills and build a career that will lead to success and financial security. Referrals are made through the program’s contract partner, NYC Human Resources Administration.

Each year Career Services programs are audited by the city and state, and are required to maintain client records, said Kelly Washburn, Senior Director of Workforce Development. The program, which began in 2017, was paper-based for its first years of operation, generating mountains of paperwork including intake forms, job search logs and assessments that were stored in hundreds of boxes in file rooms.

The excessive storage created major headaches. Document retrieval was inefficient and time-consuming. Storage was expensive, as there was no room to keep all the boxes on site. Fedcap Inc. maintains a risk register for all programs of factors that could adversely impact program operations or contract requirements. The paper overload problem in Career Services was part of the register.

When the pandemic hit and referrals were put on hold, the team saw an opportunity to digitize the documents. Kelly heard about the document management team from a colleague, and a decision was made to use this valuable internal resource. Within a week Kevin assessed the job, and provided cost breakdowns and a proposal. Coordinating with the program’s operations manager, Kevin brought the equipment on site, and then brought in his team.

The work began in October—converting documents into images and digitizing the entire filing system—and was completed by the end of March. The program is far more organized and efficient now. Client files stored in a secure SharePoint folder can be accessed with the click of a button, whereas before staff might have searched for hours or days. Digitization never would have happened without the document management team, as it would have taken staff years of work and cut into valuable client time.

”The team was super professional and efficient, and made everything so easy for us,” Kelly said. “They treated us like any valued commercial customer, and far exceeded expectations.”

When Silvia Estrada started her current position as Director of Justice Initiatives for Fedcap Inc., filing and recordkeeping for the Rikers SMART program were paper-based. With no formalized system and piles of boxes and paperwork, Silvia reached out to Kevin for help. The team picked up the boxes of documents and organized them so that every single case file had a name and could be easily accessed. When the SMART contract was up for renewal the team returned a second time to organize documents for the jail-based program, and again the team came through, completing the job within a week.

The impact of the document management team’s work has been remarkable, saving uncountable staff hours. The program is audited regularly by its funder, NYC Department of Corrections–there have been three separate audits since the digitization effort. In the past it took a month to prepare for audits, and required a team of five people to search for the relevant documents. Now, it takes a few days, and Silvia can do it herself. “This is an amazing resource that a few years ago we didn’t know existed,” she said.

While Fedcap Rehab’s Article 31 clinic in the Bronx maintains electronic records for current clients, it had a massive backlog of paper records that it was obliged to maintain for six years. Kevin’s team came to the location and did the scanning work onsite, and arranged for proper disposal of paper records.

“Kevin devised a one-stop solution for us, and did it in accordance with HIPPA requirements,” said Ed Bolognini, Executive Director of Wildcat and ReServe. “They delivered platinum-level service ahead of schedule and at an excellent price. Whenever I call Kevin with a question he calls me back ASAP and remembers every detail about the job. This is social enterprise at its best, delivering a quality product while having an impact in keeping with our mission.”

To find out how our Print Imaging and Document Management Services can capture and maintain your vital data, contact Kevin Pugh, Document Management Manager, at