State Grant Puts Recruiter Inside Haverhill Manufacturers; Helps Haverhill Chamber Map Latino Firms

Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce President Dougan Sherwood before the Haverhill City Council in 2019. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The $95,000 “Urban Agenda” grant handed out by Gov. Charlie Baker and reported by WHAV Wednesday is a first for Haverhill—paying a job recruiter right inside three local manufacturing firms.

About $80,000 of the grant pays for a pilot project to add a full-time business services representative/recruiter at three of the city’s largest manufacturers—Cedars Mediterranean Foods, Southwick Clothing and Joseph’s Frozen Foods, according to mayoral spokesman Shawn Regan. Money for the post would pass through to MassHire Career Center, formerly ValleyWorks.

Andew Herlihy, community development division director.

“This MassHire employee will provide direct employment connection for career center clients to entry level manufacturing positions at these companies, assisting with recruitment, screening, retention and support services for new hires,” he said. Another portion assists MakeIt Haverhill, the Mount Washington workforce training center operated by Keith Boucher. Regan noted the grant was written by Haverhill Community Development Director Andrew K. Herlihy.

The remainder of the grant is targeted to the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce. In a statement, Rep. Andy X. Vargas said the Haverhill Equity in Economic Development Initiative plans to have Chamber conduct the first dedicated effort in Haverhill to map Latino businesses and analyze their business needs.

“Between bodegas, engineers, accountants and barbers, Latino small business plays an important economic, cultural and civic role in Haverhill. It’s exciting to see the Haverhill Chamber leadership continue to promote inclusive economic growth for our community,” Vargas said.

Haverhill is already home to many diverse microenterprises, minority entrepreneurs and traditionally Latino-serving businesses. However, Vargas said, these businesses are often separated from traditional economic infrastructure such as banks, incentive programs and English-language advertising. The Chamber plans on utilizing the data it collects to create greater access to traditional economic tools for the Latino business community.

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