Nominee: Melissa Cline

Melissa Cline, Job and Business Developer (Mat Su Youth Housing), My House

Nominated by board member, Stephanie Berta:

Every day, Melissa arrives at the MY House drop-in center between 7:30 and 7:45am and immediately reviews daily staff schedule for our two on-site job training businesses:  Gathering Grounds Cafe and Steamdriven Boutique. She responds to, and problem solves, any daily schedule changes from possible absences of interns and/or staff who may call in sick. Next, Melissa prepares the cash drawers for both businesses, providing change for the tills if needed. If the cafe is short on supplies, she frequently makes a run to the store and then she holds daily staff & intern huddles before opening in order to support the training program and expectations.  For example, the Cafe, through the MY House Supper Club, plans daily for a hot meal that they provide every day at 3pm for any youth, no strings attached. The menu, ingredients, and supplies/inventory for that is required daily.  Also, a plan for the Boutique to execute sorting and storage of donations, until they are ready to be added to the retail sales floor, along with any plans for possible pick-ups or deliveries of donations. Melissa's day also consists of placing product orders for the cafe, phone calls and/or meetings to maintaining, and establish new partnerships with local vendors, so as to provide fresh ingredients from the community, and with local businesses who may have job openings for employees with food service or retail sales experience that our trainees can apply for.  

She holds weekly all-staff meetings and completes weekly intern reviews to support both staff and interns with problem solving, crisis support, as our interns are all youth experiencing homelessness, and further support with case management and our on-site partner, Nine Star Education & Employment Services when appropriate. Melissa creates the weekly schedule for both businesses as well as plans and executes all the special events, such as fund raisers or community events that the cafe provides food for. 

Melissa has been associated with My House for 4 years.  She started with MY House in college internship in the spring of 2015 and was then hired as a full-time Youth Employment Specialist in the Fall of '15 by our on-site partner, Nine Star Education & Employment Services who has a desk right next to case management in the MY House drop-in center building. She worked in that capacity until 2017 when she accepted a position with the State of Alaska's Dept of Corrections teaching life skills classes to incarcerated persons.  In 2018 she moved out of state, however in 2021, Melissa moved back to Alaska and started working for MY House in April as the Job and Business Developer.    Melissa Cline is invaluable to the MY House Job Training Program.  She is a leader in the office amongst her peers, and even more importantly, she is a mentor to the staff she supervises and the homeless and at-risk youth she serves. The experience she brings to her position has well prepared her for working with youth struggling with homelessness and other trauma.  

She was with the State of Alaska Department of Corrections working with inmates transitioning to reentry, assisting them with behavior issues and anger management.  Melissa was also an inmate supervisor at the Washoe Country Sheriffs Department and worked for the Sierra Nevada Job Corps assisting at-risk youth.  Melissa is trained in trauma-informed care and has excellent communication skills with the young demographic she helps daily.  She is a great listener and has the amazing ability to motivate her staff and the youth in the job training programs to take the steps forward that are required for them to meet their personal goals. Melissa takes care to empower the youth participating in training programs to be prepared for/moving into employment opportunities. She is also consistently contacting local businesses to job develop her trainees, communicating and following up with business owners after trainees have been placed in jobs to check in on their performance, additional training needs, and any retention issues. This endears her to all parties:  MY House, the youth clients, and the business/employer partners.  Melissa’s unique skills and abilities benefit all who are privileged to work with her.    

In her time with My House, Melissa has increased CFPM (Certified Food Protection Management) certifications in the Gathering Grounds Cafe and led the launch of a newly structured training program with focused goals and accountability.  She has established new partnerships with local vendors & businesses to use locally grown ingredients in the Cafe's menu items
She has worked with case management and Nine Star Education & Employment Services to offer paid internships to youth experiencing homelessness and at-risk youth in order to help them attain goals such as:  high school/GED completion (22% year over year increase), vocational training and certification through training partner NIT (Northern Industrial Training), mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment programs, OCS's (Office of Children's Services') case requirements, transportation to and from job training, and stable housing.

Listen to a podcast (produced by My House) about Melissa's work here

read more about Melissa and My House's work here

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