United Way announces full-service community schools grant project manager

Wednesday Feb 24th, 2021


United Way is pleased to announce Bill Herlihy as the Program Manager responsible for administrative and clinical leadership in the Removing Barriers to Learning Through Case Management in Erie’s Community Schools project, in partnership with UPMC of Western Behavioral Health at Safe Harbor, Erie’s Public Schools, and Gannon University.

In July, United Way announced a $2 million US Department of Education grant to boost our community schools initiative. This grant, the largest single award to United Way in the organization’s 105-year history, will further support United Way’s community schools initiative aimed at removing barriers to learning so students and their families can succeed.

The project is designed to serve 3,138 high-risk, low-income students attending the five pilot United Way community schools. These include Edison Elementary School (PreK-5), McKinley Elementary School (PreK-5), Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School (PreK-5), East Middle School (6-8), and Strong Vincent Middle School (6-8) in Erie’s Public Schools. Each school is a Title I Schoolwide building.

Bill will oversee the project which is expected to strengthen capacity to better utilize services for truancy, health, and community resources through incorporating case managers at United Way's five pilot community schools. Case management will also allow two new services to be introduced, including home visitations and resource coordination. 

Goals for this project include: increasing social, health, and mental health services and supports; increasing overall school attendance and decreasing truancy and chronic absence; increasing family and community engagement and supports; and implementing evaluation strategies that can build a predictive model that supports the development of an early warning system.

Bill has a BA in Criminal Justice and MA in Community Counseling from Edinboro University and has worked in the social services field since 1989. Bill has over 20 years of service in Crisis programming with his employer, UPMC Western Behavioral Health at Safe Harbor. He has also worked for the New Dominion Wilderness program in MD, the Institute for Family Centered Services in VA, and several social services agencies in Erie County. Bill is a Master ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skill Training) trainer and along with his training partner has helped hundreds of individuals become willing, ready, and able to provide emergency first aid to persons at risk of suicidal behavior.