City of Providence awarded $400,000 Working Cities Challenge Grant

City of Providence Awarded $400,000 Working Cities Challenge Grant

Funds to aid implementation of neighborhood workforce development sites targeting underserved job seekers 

PROVIDENCE, RI – Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza Friday announced that the City of Providence has been awarded a $400,000 grant through the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’ s Rhode Island Working Cities Challenge (WCC). The grant will aid the implementation of the PVD—Transforming its Workforce System initiative proposed by the Providence Working Cities Challenge Team, which was led by the City’s Office of Economic Opportunity.  

The winning proposal put forth with collaborative efforts by a diverse group of community-organizations, public and private organizations, and Providence residents aims to enhance how the City’s workforce system connects to and works with underserved job seekers through the creation of four (4) Neighborhood-based Connection Sites that will expand access to robust employment services. 

“A signature initiative of my Administration is to help lift people and families out of poverty through the restructuring of workforce development, “said Mayor Elorza. “This investment by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is recognition of the important work the City is doing to ensure that all residents have the skills they need to compete in the 21st Century economy.”

According to a 2015 American Community Survey (ACS) by the United States Census Bureau, the City of Providence had approximately 8,000 unemployed residents.  As part of the initiative, the City will create new pathways and pipelines in addition to the Providence NetworkRI One Stop Center (One Stop) for unemployed residents to access training and employment services necessary to gain better access to high-growth and high-wage industries in the regional economy. 

Connection Sites, which will provide services through collaborative efforts of a Mobile Team composed of One Stop staff and Connection Site staff, include community-based organizations or public sites that have trusted relationships with the target population within the scope of the initiative. In most cases, partners are already providing adult education and workforce development services to clients. 

The four (4) pilot Connection Sites that will allow residents to access services within their neighborhoods include the Providence Career and Technical Academy, the Providence Housing Authority, the Genesis Center, and Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island. Initiative partners combined have committed over $190,000 in in-kind support throughout a 3-year period. 

Additionally, the Providence Working Cities Challenge Team intends on working with One Stop to brand, market, and promote the new community access points; extend hours for better accessibility; pilot revisions to streamline the intake process at community sites; and provide One Stop and Connection Site staff strengths-based career counseling and cultural competence training. 

The City has committed $57,500 in funds over 3 years to supplement program development and to support the advertisement of the community locations. The City has also committed in-kind support amounting to $179,000 over 3 years in dedicated staff time by the directors of the Office of Economic Opportunity, First Source Providence, Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston, two (2) employment counselors, the director of Career and Technical Education Programs and coordinators.

(release from City of Providence)