The Gateway Cities Journal
News and information for leaders who care about Gateway Cities


Candidates support proven-risk youth


This past August staff and youth from the United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) in Lowell launched a Youth Violence Prevention Policy Series. Gubernatorial candidates visited UTEC and engaged in roundtable discussions on various policy issues with respect to reducing youth violence by focusing on work with "proven-risk" youth. Differing from "at-risk" or "high-risk" youth, UTEC defines "proven-risk  youth" as those young people who already have a history of serious criminal and gang involvement, ages 16 to 24, and who likely represent the largest return on investment within our communities (from a public safety, public health, and economic perspective).



As a final part of this series, we issued a survey focused on policies that we believe would positively impact proven-risk youth across the Commonwealth. All candidates responded (Charlie Baker, Martha Coakley, Evan Falchuk, Scott Lively, and Jeff McCormick), andmost notably, all candidates stated their universal commitment to each of the four specific policy questions listed in the survey.


Task Force for Proven Risk Youth  As a mechanism to facilitate ongoing policy development and a commitment to outcomes delivered, all candidates were first asked if they would support "the creation of a commission or task force to focus on the development of new programs for proven-risk youth, and to coordinate an annual report card for how Massachusetts is performing on outcomes specific to proven-risk youth." All candidates answered YES.


New Funding for Reentry Services?  Notably, all candidates responded YES to the question posed around "supporting a new funding source for community-based re-entry programs aimed at reducing the Commonwealth's current recidivism rate (greater than 60%)." They were also provided the opportunity to share "any criminal justice reform areas that (they) would emphasize to allow for such increased funding." Baker stated that "Investing in re-entry programs in order to reduce recidivism is a sound investment in our young people and communities which will also save the state money in the long-term." Coakley mentioned "the importance of shifting funding from prison expansion, to focus on effective prevention measures, including effective reentry programs, behavioral health counseling, and substance abuse treatment." Falchuk responded, "Policies that reduce - and eliminate - the need to incarcerate so many people will reduce the extraordinary expense of incarceration, but also the lost opportunities each one of these young people represent." McCormick responded, "This is also an issue of poverty and access to opportunity. Judges need more discretion in sentencing and the State needs to provide the resources to prevent kids from entering into the system in the first place." (Lively did not elaborate upon his "yes" to the question.)

Sustain SSYI Funding?  All candidates also said YES, they would "support fully-funding the current Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI) line item at $9.5 million, or expanding it, to serve the highest-crime communities in the Commonwealth." In its survey, UTEC noted that SSYI is one of the only state sources to specify street outreach work as an approach to proven-risk youth. Baker: "I believe in proactively engaging proven-risk youth and enlisting those who have been successful in changing the lives of youth across the commonwealth to be part of the planning and public safety process. I will work with legislators and communities to ensure that the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative continues to receive the adequate funding it needs to complete its mission in the Commonwealth." Coakley: "I understand the importance of the street worker and interrupter model of addressing violence, and I will make greater funding for the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative a priority." Falchuk: "Every young person deserves the best chance to get ahead, and these programs are a proven way to help them get off of a path that far too often leads to a tragic end." McCormick: "Funding needs to be increased and allocated to Streetworkers to do the important work that they do in the community. In addition, we need to look at the whole child, from education to jobs to healthcare, and reduce violence among our youth." Lively did not elaborate on his "yes."


Two Generation Program?  Given that many proven-risk youth are parents themselves, UTEC drew upon The Aspen Institute's recent report that calls for policy reforms to focus on a two-generation approach to best break the cycle of violence and poverty. Two-generation approaches address the needs of both vulnerable parents and their children. Candidates were asked if they "support a specific two-generation program to provide comprehensive services for proven-risk youth while simultaneously offering early education programming for their children." All candidates also answered YES.  


Established in 1999 and driven by evidence-based data, UTEC's mission is to ignite and nurture the ambition of our most disconnected youth to help trade violence and poverty for social and economic success. UTEC combines street outreach and gang peacemaking work with case management, education and employment offerings within a social enterprise-based model, including an infusion of civic engagement programming.  With statewide recidivism rates averaging at 65 percent and the cost of incarceration nearly $45,000 annually, UTEC and similar programs make a compelling case for cost savings through investing in an approach that includes outreach and comprehensive reentry services. Despite the proven-risk histories of its youth, UTEC's recidivism rate is only 14 percent-4 times lower than the state average. UTEC also helps coordinate the New England Streetworker Network.


Gregg Croteau, UTEC Executive Director

Geoff Foster, UTEC Director of Organizing and Policymaking



2014 Gateway Cities Innovation Award & Summit


MassINC's Gateway Cities Innovation Institute will recognize the hard work and commitment of Governor Deval Patrick and House Speaker Robert DeLeo on behalf of Gateway Cities by naming them winners of the 2014 Gateway Cities Champion Award. This new award honors leaders who have advanced public policies that support the growth and renewal of the Commonwealth's Gateway Cities. The awards will be presented at the Institute's annual event on November 13th.


Housing & Economic Development


MassDevelopment issues a call for Fellows to support the Gateway Cities Transformative Development Initiative. looks at bringing a facility to Fall River that it projects would create 1,000 new full-time jobs with an average salary of $35,000 and health benefits in the first three years of operations. If approved, Amazon hopes to have the facility operational by the second half of 2016.


A Swampscott developer purchases the 65-acre site of the former General Electric gear factory in Lynn and says he plans to build a mixed-use, residential project, the Item reports.


Four Leominster companies receive a $235,000 Workforce Training Fund grant to train and hire employees, according to the Leominster Champion.


Brockton Mayor William Carpenter endorses the application by Raynham Park owner George Carney to bring back horse racing to the Brockton Fairgrounds for 60 dates in 2015.


The Revere Market Basket opens for business. Market Basket CEO ArthurT. Demoulas is greeted by well-wishers and supporters. The new store is expected to employ roughly 475 full- and part-time workers.


Peabody city officials have released a guide on how to do business in Peabody for local business owners. Mayor Ted Bettencourt says that it offers a comprehensive overview or municipal government and the city's permitting process, according to The Salem News.


The EPA issues an RFP for a new "small cities" planning grant.




The Department of Higher Education releases its Vision Project update, projecting that Massachusetts will need an additional 65,000 post-secondary degree holders to meet employer demand by 2025, an estimate that's in line with recent findings from MassINC's At the Apex report.


Lots going on next Thursday, November 6th: The Rennie Center Hosts a forum on disconnected youth, the United Way of the Pioneer Valley hosts a GradNation Summit in Springfield, and DESE hosts a statewide Connecting Activities conference.


Holyoke Public Schools have drastically reduced the number of suspensions due to programs like the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program, which promotes good behavior by rewarding good behavior, according to WGGB. For an interesting take on the importance of school discipline policy, take the time to listen to "Is this working?" last week's episode of This American Life.


Check out Ed Week's take on strong peer reviewed evidence that non-academic support provided City Connects-a model featured prominently in the Gateway Cities Vision-are effective.


Quinsigamond Community College has received a $300,000 grant for its newly opened Healthcare and Workforce Development Center in downtown Worcester. The money, which comes from the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation, will be used for furniture, fixture and equipment at the facility, the Telegram & Gazette reports.


Public Safety


Lowell-based UTEC gathers candidate questionnaires from the gubernatorial campaigns, demonstrating widespread support for building upon existing Streetworker programs by finding sustainable funding for reentry programs and expanding the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative.


UMass Lowell students voice concerns about public safety in Lowell, and also push for more nightlife, the Sun reports.


Springfield receives $250,000 in federal funds for anti-violence job training and workforce development efforts.


Chelsea-based Roca expands to Boston.




MassDOT gives Fall River a $25,000 grant to hire a landscape architect and a professional engineer to produce a detailed design for the future proposed site of the Fall River depot rail station, according to the Herald News.


No need to ride a broom to Salem this Halloween, as a new MBTA parking garage is open and operating.  Mayor Kim Driscoll notes that "[She is] very excited to see it open, especially prior to the final week of October when the crowds of visitors coming to Salem are the largest".




New Bedford is ranked the top fishing port in the nation by Fisheries of the United States in its annual report released on Wednesday. This will be the city's 14th consecutive year being the top fishing port, with a "highest valued catch at 130 million pounds of fresh seafood that is valued at $379 million."


Brockton plans to use state grant money to turn a former downtown brownfield site into a "passive recreation" park with benches and walkways.


University of Massachusetts Lowell's Toxic Use Reduction Institute has awarded a $20,000 grant to Springfield to help launch organic land care practices at six parks and fields in the city.


Haverhill invests $12.1 million to fix drainage systems and keep pollution out of the Merrimack River, the Eagle Tribune reports.


Passing of Mayor Menino


Mayors of Gateway Cities remember former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, recalling him as a man who "always thought of other people first".



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