SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) has awarded $400,000 Community Empowerment and Reinvestment Grant to Springfield WORKS.

The funding will help programs that identify and support at-risk children and youth in Springfield, and provide needed social services as well as career and technical education, and substance abuse recovery and prevention services.

More than half of Springfield residents identify as Black/African American, Latino/Hispanic, and other people of color. Many live in communities that have historically suffered from segregation and lack of investment, creating inequities in education and economic opportunities. Springfield WORKS will partner with seven local organizations to identify these barriers and work together to create programs and initiatives within the communities.

The idea is to achieve two goals with specific outcomes:

  • Goal 1. Identify needs in workforce and intervention programs for the formerly incarcerated.
    • Outcome 1A. Provide $25,000 sub-grants for seven key organizations that serve low income, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color), at-risk youth, and people at risk of, or having completed incarceration. These funds will increase the partners’ capacity to serve these families.
    • Outcome 1B. Work with sub-grantees to provide cross-training across sectors. As a result, each of the individual partners will be better able to serve clients and the network of providers will be more effective at reaching, engaging and supporting our target population.
  • Goal 2. Increase knowledge of the gaps and opportunities for successful workforce engagement for youth and young adults in Springfield.
    • Outcome 2A. Outreach to map community services and ID where systems are misaligned.
    • Outcome 2B. Develop and collect needs assessment data from seven key informant partner agencies, youth, and residents, through surveys and community information sessions with key informants.

“Everyone deserves an opportunity to fully participate in the economy. Collaborative partnerships bring together workforce development and social service partners, employers and jobseekers, to build trust and break down the barriers that residents face in securing employment and the resources necessary for economic and family well-being.” Said Anne Kandilis, Director of Springfield WORKS.