May 2021
A Message from the Executive Director
I regularly appreciate our Just-A-Start forbearers for the trails they blazed in the organization’s early years. The youth programs they started grew into YouthBuild, their small-scale home renovation initiatives set us up to be an effective affordable housing developer, and our groundbreaking mediation work is now a model for helping tenants maintain housing stability.

Gordon Gottsche, Just-A-Start’s founder, also had the foresight to launch our Biomedical Careers Program with the City of Cambridge when the now-booming life sciences industry was still in its infancy. Thirty years later, we’re on the frontlines of two critical and related challenges - how can this booming sector meet its needs for a well-trained and diverse workforce? And how can we assure that the economic opportunities associated with the sector are accessible to people of color, immigrants, and others who have been excluded for too long?

Our continued planning on our Rindge Commons project, with its state-of-the-art education and training space, will be a significant step forward. Combined with the quality of our training programs, our expanding employer partnerships, and growing local employment opportunities, we’re prepared to connect even more residents with family-sustaining careers.

Together, we’re changing the way that employers think about talent and where they can find it, one skilled graduate at a time. 
Growing career pathways for workforce development graduates
We love when graduates return to share their time and talent in our community!

Prem Kathayat, a 2015 graduate of the Biomedical Careers Program, recently facilitated a Good Manufacturing Practice workshop for 22 current students and alumni.

After completing the program, Prem began work at Takeda, advanced in his career, and is currently a Manufacturing Supervisor at uniQure – one of five program graduates employed by the company!

Our programs' Alumni Services network helps to connect students, graduates, and local employers with continuing education and career opportunities. Do you know an employer in need of skilled talent or interested in partnering with the program? We’d love to hear from you! Please reach out to Korynn Stoyanoff, Director of Workforce Development, to learn more.
Free tax preparation generates over $500,000 in refunds to the community
We recently wrapped another successful season of free tax preparation, helping 322 households to file their tax returns securely and accurately! Volunteers also assisted many households with prior year returns, like one participant who was also struggling with overdue rent. After we completed her 2020 taxes plus returns from the three prior years, she was eligible for a refund of nearly $8,000, which she was able to put towards her rent.

Throughout the tax season, 18 certified volunteers helped participants to navigate complex tax situations including loss of income, unemployment benefits, stimulus payments, and gig economy work, and to ensure that eligible families were able to claim their Earned Income Tax Credit. We’re proud to help community members maximize their financial resources and resolve past challenges so that they can move forward with greater stability.
Are you looking for an affordable apartment? Apply by June 11!
Applications are open until June 11 for future residents of the Squirrelwood Apartments community! 17 new and renovated affordable apartments are available for rent, and applicants will be selected in a lottery process. The Squirrelwood Apartments community is located in the Port neighborhood of Cambridge, and studio, 1-bed, 2-bed, and 3-bed apartments are all available.

The new apartments are ready to become high-quality, energy efficient homes for 17 new families. Please spread the word to anyone who may be eligible to apply!
Our mission is to promote equity by creating access to stable housing and building pathways to economic opportunity. 
1035 Cambridge Street #12 | Cambridge, MA 02141 | 617-494-0444