From The Connection.
Our city has won the Boston Federal Reserve “Working Cities Challenge,” which promotes economic growth throughout cities in Connecticut, as well as other parts of New England. This grant provides $450,000 in a multi-year commitment to support the implementation of different strategies and resources to help single parents in need begin their journey towards financial stability and economic independence.
The collaborative team, led by the Middlesex United Way and The Connection, has received the $450,000 grant to reduce the percentage of Middletown single-parent families living at or below the Federal Poverty Level from 35% to 20% over a ten-year period.
During the first year, the initiative named Middletown Works will address the root causes that hinder low-income single parents from securing opportunities that will lead to a living wage job. Middletown Works will focus on creating vocational pathways to sustainable careers, specifically in healthcare, STEM, logistics and manufacturing, where there is an identified local need. Part of the plan is to link existing employment services in Middletown and give job seekers multiple points of access to these resources. Middletown Works also hopes to raise employer awareness about the needs and strengths of single parent employees, through outreach and engagement efforts, with help from the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce and local businesses.
The collaborating, diverse core team who will continue to work on this initiative are co-leads Middlesex United Way and The Connection as well as representatives from the City of Middletown, Middlesex Community College, Wesleyan University, Middlesex County Community Foundation, Middlesex Chamber of Commerce, Department of Children & Families, ACES/Early Head Start, Shiloh Christian Church, and several other community members/parents who represent the target population for this grant.
Middlesex United Way, The Connection and The Peach Pit Foundation each have committed to providing an additional $45,000 collectively as part of a required match to receive the grant.
Middletown competed against sixteen qualifying cities during the application process when The Reserve Bank’s Working Cities Challenge officially launched in Connecticut in 2016. Middletown is joined by East Hartford, Danbury, Hartford, and Waterbury as the awarded communities selected.