JP’s Volunteers of America Hires Upson to Lead New Re-Entry Partnership with Essex County Sheriff

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Jamaica Plain-based Volunteers of America of Massachusetts (VOAMASS), a nonprofit that creates opportunities for individuals through residential and outpatient behavioral health treatment, re-entry for incarcerated offenders, veteran services, and senior living, has hired Michael Upson to lead its Re-entry Vocational Training Center Program.

The program is part of a partnership between VOAMASS and the Essex County Sheriff funded by Pathway Home, a U.S. Department of Labor grant program that assists justice-involved individuals in gaining meaningful employment.

As program manager, Upson will oversee a team of case managers and employment specialists helping individuals transitioning out of Essex County’s correctional facilities learn new skills, earn academic credit and secure employment.

“We are very excited to have Michael joining VOAMASS as the inaugural program manager for this groundbreaking effort to help justice-involved individuals in Essex County succeed in re-making themselves and their careers,” said Charles Gagnon, President and CEO of VOAMASS. “Michael’s experience and drive will further energize a team that is laser-focused on building a program amid the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Prior to joining VOAMASS, Upson was an employment specialist at the South Middlesex Opportunity Council, where he supported the agency’s job development and case management services and taught life skills courses to support individuals’ efforts to secure employment. He previously had a career in account management and sales in telecommunications.

Volunteers of America of Massachusetts was incorporated in 1934 and headquartered in Jamaica Plain. Volunteers of America of Massachusetts provides an array of outpatient and residential behavioral health services including substance use and behavioral health treatment for individuals, families, and veterans and re-entry programming. Additionally, Volunteers of America of Massachusetts operates three independent and assisted living residences. The organization serves approximately 3,000 individuals across Massachusetts.