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Springfield, Pittsfield Each Given $475,000 in Working Cities Challenge

BOSTON — The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston announced that Springfield, Pittsfield, Haverhill, Lowell, and Worcester will each receive $475,000 in the second round of the Working Cities Challenge, a competition for smaller cities in New England focused on building collaborative leadership, which is shown to be a critical element in economic growth for struggling post-industrial cities.

The five communities put forward initiatives focused on neighborhood revitalization, workforce development, and improving access to economic opportunity. The cities will work on these initiatives over a three-year period, accompanied by technical assistance and a learning community for best-practice sharing.

“I want to congratulate the winners of the Working Cities Challenge. Collaborative leadership is at the heart of this competition, and these five cities demonstrated significant capacity to reach across sectors and advance efforts on behalf of low-income residents in their communities,” said Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren. “I look forward to following the progress in the communities in the coming months and years.”

Added Gov. Charlie Baker, “together with our partners in the private, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors, we are proud to leverage greater resources to support and prepare communities for success. The Working Cities Challenge elevates local leadership, amplifying solutions from the community level to increase cross-sector collaboration and improve economic outcomes for low-income residents.”

Last fall, 10 Massachusetts communities were each awarded $15,000 design grants through the Working Cities Challenge to strengthen their bids to the competition. The five winning cities were selected after a six-month design-grant period, which saw the cities refining proposals and adding partners from across their community.

The Springfield Works Initiative will advance the city’s economy by enhancing and strengthening the connectivity between employers who need qualified workers and low- income Springfield residents who need meaningful employment. It aims to achieve this goal through an innovative collaboration between employers, educational institutions, service providers, community leaders, community-based organizations, government, and residents.

The Springfield Works Initiative core team includes the Western Mass. Economic Development Council, the Springfield Office of Planning and Economic Development, the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, MGM Springfield, Partners for Community Action, HAPHousing, Springfield Technical Community College, Western MA National Machine and Tooling Assoc., the Community Foundation of Western Mass., Tech Foundry, United Personnel Services, United Way of Pioneer Valley, and DevelopSpringfield.

The Pittsfield Bridges: Transformative Movement (PBTM) initiative will support the journey from poverty to sustainability by collaboratively building community resources and removing barriers. The effort’s vision is for all people in Pittsfield to experience a just, thriving, and safe community. The PBTM’s goal is to improve individual, institutional, and social fairness and respect in the community and thus support individuals moving out of poverty.

The PBTM’s core team includes Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, the city of Pittsfield, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Berkshire Community College, BerkshireWorks Career Center, Berkshire United Way, Goodwill Industries, Berkshire Children and Families, Berkshire Health Systems, Berkshire Community Action Council, Downtown Pittsfield Inc., Pittsfield public schools, the local NAACP chapter, Pittsfield Community Connection, West Side Neighborhood Initiative, First United Methodist Church, Heart 2 Heart Ministry, Manos Unidas, Brien Center for Mental Health, Multi-Cultural Bridge, and Girls Inc.

For more information on the Working Cities Challenge, visit www.bostonfed.org/workingcities.

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