Cranston, Newport and Providence win Working Cities Challenge grants

THE CRANSTON WORKING CITIES Challenge team discussed their winning design grant proposal with Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren and Executive Vice President Jeff Fuhrer. Cranston is one of three teams awarded $400,000. /COURTESY FERDERAL RESERVE RANK OF BOSTON / STEVE OSEMWENKHAE
THE CRANSTON WORKING CITIES Challenge team discusses its winning design grant proposal with Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren and Executive Vice President Jeff Fuhrer. Cranston is one of three teams awarded $400,000. /COURTESY FERDERAL RESERVE RANK OF BOSTON / STEVE OSEMWENKHAE

PROVIDENCE – Cranston, Newport and Providence each won $400,000 grants in the Rhode Island Working Cities Challenge Competition, the Federal Bank of Boston announced Thursday. The grants were awarded for proposals focused on workforce development and socioeconomic inclusion. The cities were given a six-month design phase to create their prospective programs.

The three cities were selected from the original 13 cities chosen for the program and beat out the seven finalists.

Cranston’s program, OneCranston, will focus on increasing access to employment and post-secondary opportunities and addressing persistent socioeconomic disparities in the city by increasing youth programs and working with local employers.

Newport’s program will fund a development system that prepares unemployed and underemployed Newport residents for higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs that fit vacancies in various Newport industries.

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The Providence program will create what it calls “connection sites,” which will be community-based organizations or public sites that have relationships with the city’s target population and pair them with a new mobile employment center that provides a vast array of career services.

“I congratulate Cranston, Newport and Providence, as well as all of the Rhode Island Working Cities that submitted applications to this competition,” Eric Rosengren, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, said in a statement. “Winning this competition is just the start of a lot of hard work on behalf of these cities’ residents. I look forward to working with these communities and building off this positive momentum to implement their respective initiatives.”

The Working Cities Challenge began in Rhode Island in 2015 after a successful run in Boston.

However, funding for the Working Cities Challenge was not provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, but by a collaboration of the state of Rhode Island. The state committed $150,000 to the competition annually for three years, which will come through the R.I. Commerce Corp., the R.I. Department of Labor and Training and R.I. Housing, according to Gov. Gina M. Raimondo’s office.

According to a press release from the Federal Bank of Boston, funding was also provided by local and national philanthropic organizations including the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Rhode Island Foundation, Living Cities, and NeighborWorks America, as well as private-sector firms including Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Bank of America, the Washington Trust Co., AT&T New England, Verizon, and Webster Bank.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor.

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