Media Advisory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - NOVEMBER 6, 2015                                                                                   Contact: 
Matthew Campion, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston   617.973.1476 
Ellen M. Ganley, WCAC Director of Development  508 762-9807 

Worcester Selected for Working Cities Challenge Funds
$15K grant to help to address area unemployment

Governor Charlie Baker with WCAC Executive Director Jill Dagilis.
Boston, Massachusetts - At a ceremony held in the Hall of Flags at the Massachusetts State House yesterday, the City of Worcester was named one of ten communities in the Commonwealth selected to receive funds through a second round of the Working Cities Challenge. 

Governor Charlie Baker and Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren announced the $15,000 design grant awards for ten communities including partners for the Worcester project -Worcester Community Action Council, Inc., the City of Worcester, Clark University, Regional Environmental Council and Sodexo. WCAC and Clark are the co-lead applicants for Worcester's effort. City Manager Ed Augustus joined the team for the presentation, for which the Boston Federal Reserve Bank judges lauded the uniqueness of Worcester's food economy concept.

The Worcester project intends to address unemployment and under-employment issues among disadvantaged workers -  including youth, women, immigrants, racial/ethnic minorities, veterans, and the hard-to-employ - while  spawning the economic growth and employment prospects of emerging food entrepreneurs, small food retailers and a broad array of the food economy businesses. 

The design grants are intended to support a six-month planing period, after which teams are eligible to apply for implementation grants estimated to be in the range of $300,000 - $500,000.

"We look forward to working with the City, Clark University, REC, Sodexo and many other community partners on this initiative which furthers our goals of workforce development for limited income individuals and promoting livable wages by connecting in a unique way with the food economy throughout Central Massachusetts," said Dagilis.

WCAC Director of Planning Anne O'Brien, Jake Sanders of Worcester City Manager's Office, Ramon Borges-Mendez of Clark University and WCAC Executive Director Jill Dagilis.
The Working Cities Challenge, launched in 2013 in Massachusetts, builds on Boston Fed research that identified cross-sector collaboration and leadership as the key ingredients in resurgent smaller cities across the country. In January 2014, six cities in Massachusetts received $1.8 million in funding for projects to address issues impacting low-income communities. Funding was provided by the Commonwealth, private sector, and local and national philanthropic organizations, and cities were selected on merit by an independent jury not comprised of Boston Fed representatives. Four of those cities from the first round won multi-year grant awards and continue to make progress expanding their efforts and improving the lives of low-income residents in their communities.
With additional funding commitments from the Commonwealth, and from public and private partners, the Boston Fed formally launched 
 the  second round of the Challenge in July, modifying the application process to include an initial round of design grants.  Brockton, Haverhill, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Revere, Salem, Springfield and Worcester were the communities selected to receive a design grant award.

About WCAC

Celebrating its 50th year, the Worcester Community Action Council is the federally designated anti-poverty agency for central and southern Worcester County, with a mission of helping people move to economic self-sufficiency through programs, partnerships and advocacy.

Serving the City of Worcester and 44 neighboring communities of Auburn, Blackstone, Boylston, Brimfield, Brookfield, Charlton, Clinton, Dudley, East Brookfield, Hardwick, Holden, Holland, Hopedale, Hubbardston, Grafton, Leicester, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Monson, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Northborough, Northbridge, Palmer, Oakham, Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Southbridge, Spencer, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sutton, Upton, Uxbridge, Wales, Warren, Webster, West Boylston, West Brookfield and Westborough.  
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