JUNTOS IN THE COMMUNITY
Each partner has different community connections that it brings to Juntos. As a result, the partnership overall is linked to a wider range of community residents, organizations, service providers, educational institutions, businesses, and government officials than it would be without each partner's connections. As one Juntos member observed, "It's easy to become isolated, but not now, because we're part of a much larger family of programs."
Members of Juntos increasingly are being asked to serve on local committees and boards. For example, Juntos was asked to participate in the Holyoke Workforce Development Audit process of the Holyoke Employment Partnership/Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, and members also have been asked to join the Holyoke Employment Partnership, a local consortium of employers and workforce development providers. The partners also are becoming a stronger voice for adult education in advocating for community, state, and federal support for adult basic education. There's "power in numbers," as one partner pointed out.
In addition, the partnership has gained increased visibility and support within Holyoke because of its advisory council. Council members can reach people in the city and state with whom the partners individually might not have much contact. For example, the Juntos member from Holyoke's School Committee pointed out that she no longer has to convince other school committee members of the importance of adult education. This was evident during a recent school committee vote of 10-1 in favor of writing a letter to the state legislature to keep adult education as part of the state Department of Education rather than moving it to the Board of Higher Education. She also said that adult education issues are now introduced routinely as part of the school committee's agenda, without Juntos having to bring it to the attention of the board members. As one partner noted, "[Juntos] has increased our credibility within the city. Before we were seen as little isolated programs."