Springfield to receive Working Communities Challenge Grant

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – The town of Springfield was recently one of eight regions chosen to receive a $15,000 planning grant as part of Vermont’s Working Communities Challenge grant competition. Launched last May, the grant competition supports local collaborative efforts to help build stronger economic communities throughout Vermont’s towns, regions, and cities.

The announcement was recently made by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President and CEO Eric Rosengren and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott. The other regions selected were Greater Barre, Lamoille County, Northeast Kingdom, Northwest Vermont, Southern Vermont, White River Valley, and Winooski.

The eight planning grant recipients will be participating in three meetings, beginning in March, and will be engaging with the public as they prepare their grant applications, which will be submitted in June.

“This is an important milestone for the Working Communities Challenge in Vermont,” Eric Rosengren said. “We are very grateful to Gov. Scott, his administration, and our philanthropic and private sector partners for all they’ve done to help get us here.”

The Springfield region co-recipients of the planning grant are the Springfield Regional Development Corporation and River Valley Technical Center, each being selected by an independent jury. The duo applied for the grant on behalf of several area organizations and nonprofits and state agencies.

The grants will support the teams’ work in order to turn their ideas into formal action plans. In six months, four teams will then be chosen from the eight for larger, multi-year awards in order to execute their plans. The funds are estimated to be $300,000 for each team.

The SRDC and RVTC’s proposal project is based around increasing the region’s workforce participation, job retention, and racial equality. If chosen as one of the four grant recipients, they are proposing a multi-year plan to address improving in these areas within the Springfield region through training and education, but also other aspects such as better transportation, restorative justice, and the coordination and availability of child care.

“We look forward to working with these eight community teams in the coming months, as they refine their proposals with guidance from the Fed and other experts,” Rosengren added.

SRDC Executive Director Bob Flint spoke of Springfield’s plan moving forward in an exclusive interview. “We’ve put together a great team, including human service agencies, training resources, and employers. We look forward to collaborating with these resources, as well as the public, over the next few months in putting a strong application together for the final grant decision. We believe this could be a really strong opportunity for the region.”

Gov. Scott added what an important opportunity this program is. “It’s great to see Vermont communities collaborating together with a wide range of public and private partners addressing complex issues to improve the future of Vermonters and to make our state a better place to live in. I look forward to seeing these ideas progress as the teams move forward with the challenge.”

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