Springfield WORKS Awarded $450,000 Community Empowerment and Reinvestment Grant

We are pleased to announce that Springfield WORKS/EDC 413 Works, Inc. has been awarded the 2024 Community Empowerment and Reinvestment Grant (CERP), funded by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Economic Development.

“This program seeks to develop, strengthen, and invest in community-led efforts to bring positive economic outcomes to communities that face historically disproportionate challenges to economic growth” (Read more about CERP here)

Building on our collaborative work with prior CERP funding focused on reducing barriers to employment for individuals or families with a history of incarceration in Springfield through a trauma-informed lens; we will use this renewed funding to further engage employers to break down barriers to meaningful employment and implement more effective practices for Fair Chance hiring of individuals impacted by conviction histories, poverty, and social and economic inequity.

As a community, Springfield is rich in programs, but poor in systems. While there are an array of social service organizations across the city, the community lacks sufficient cross sector coordination to identify gaps, leverage resources, increase communication, and find opportunities to benefit those most marginalized in our community.

We will introduce an inclusive “Outside-In” hiring strategy to expand equitable opportunities for local residents using a Human-Centered Design (HCD) methodology. HCD is a creative design process centered on the principle that those closest to a problem have critical insight into the need or solutions. Adopting an HCD framework will bring together client voices and employers to the “hiring” conversation with intentionality and respect.

This work is central to our mission to remove systemic and racial barriers to economic opportunity and well-being and our work building a resilient, inclusive, and equitable economy in the Greater Springfield Region. Like our last CERP project, we aim to drive outcomes in key areas: Direct Impact for individuals and families, Capacity Building for residents and employers, and broader Systems Change to better support the equitable growth of our local economy.

Read more about Our Mission and Our Work.

As always, this work would not have been possible without the tireless collaboration from our CERP partner agencies: