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Working Communities Challenge

Lamoille County’s Working Communities Challenge (WCC) grant focuses on reducing the barriers to employment that weaken our economy and our community. This grant will strengthen and improve the infrastructure that allows people to access our existing network of workforce resources. Reducing systemic barriers will support businesses and workers and build a healthy community in a post-COVID economy.

Lamoille County’s Working Communities Challenge grant focus areas: 

1. Workforce transitions and workforce development

2. Reducing systematic barriers:

  • Substance misuse
  • Transportation
  • Childcare
  • Broadband access
  • Information gathering (communication)
  • Racial and other equity issues

Target populations:

  • Young adults transitioning into the workforce
  • Older adults transitioning out of the workforce
  • People recovering from substance misuse disorders
  • Individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19
  • Parents re-entering the workforce or switching career paths
  • Post-incarceration employees

The Lamoille Working Communities Challenge Grant:

  • $315,000 over three years.
  • Run by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Backbone partners: Capstone Community Action and United Way of Lamoille County.
  • Local core community partners: Racial Equity Alliance of Lamoille, Lamoille County Planning Commission, North Central Vermont Recovery Center, Jenna’s Promise, Morrisville Afterschool Program, Green Mountain Technology and Career Center, Agency of Human Services, VocRehab, Creative Workforce Solutions, Lamoille Restorative Center, Northern Vermont University, Lamoille Economic Development Corporation, Lamoille County Chamber of Commerce, VT Dept of Labor, Town of Johnson, Salvation Farms, Lamoille Union High School, and more.

We will increase collaboration and access to resources through three main efforts:

  • An information hub with trained navigators to answer the phone and pair people with the resources they need to overcome barriers. 
  • Increased broadband access in our community. 
  • A director to facilitate cooperation between organizations and communication throughout the community.

 

Strategic planning (through March 2021):

Facilitate a strategic planning process to create goals, objectives, action plans, roles and responsibilities, timeline, and budgets

Engage core partners

Develop and implement communication plan and assessment metrics

Gather and review community input and data

Conduct equity training and continual evaluation by racial equity professionals

Create job description for project director and hire

 

Implementation (beginning April 2021):

Launch information hub website

Hire, train, and support navigators

Market information hub resources to community

Continue to build interorganizational relationships

 

Press:

Better together: Service agencies work in concert during pandemic

Lamoille County team matches jobs with seekers

 

What our backbone partners have to say:

Clarissa French, co-director of United Way of Lamoille County: “We are in the planning phase of what will hopefully be a long term and sustainable community structure supporting individuals, organizations and businesses with the goal of a healthy community and strong economy.”

Ellen Hill, co-director of United Way of Lamoille County: “Working Communities Challenge grant is just that— a challenge. With these challenges come a plethora of opportunities. Collaboration is a hallmark of Lamoille County and this grant will support and expand current initiatives that focus on equity, education and training, and to identify and address workforce barriers. This is an opportunity for local businesses, human services, the education sector, and municipal governments to work together to strengthen our economy and build a healthier community.”

Greg Stefanski, Capstone Community Action: “We’re so excited about our WCC team and beginning the work of improving the quantity and quality of jobs in Lamoille County.  Our focus will be on those facing many barriers to gainful and enjoyable employment with the hope that our whole community will benefit.”