The seasons may change, but WCAC’s commitment to helping individuals reach economic self-sufficiency remains. From a successful summer jobs program, to forty years of weatherizing homes, playful classrooms and preparation for fuel assistance season, read all about it and more HERE.
The Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. recently welcomed two new staff people to its Job & Education Center, reaffirming its commitment to strengthening and growing employment opportunities for low-income and at risk youth in the Worcester area. Read more HERE.
The city of Worcester was recently named one of just five cities to be awarded a $475,000 grant from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and its partners as part of the second round of the Working Cities Challenge in Massachusetts. Winning cities will receive three-year grants of $475,000 to carry out the initiatives they have developed through design grants awarded last fall.
Through this grant, Working Cities Worcester (WCW) will convene and inspire workers, employers, government, universities, nonprofits, and communities to create equitable short- and long-term employment opportunities in the local food service economy to uplift individuals and communities from poverty, with livable wages. The initiative will provide workforce training and career paths for disadvantaged workers in cooperation with local employers, increase career opportunities and operational support for ethnic food vendors and retailers in disadvantaged neighborhoods, and create a learning community to ensure workforce development is a strategic priority in the local food service economy as well as a key item on the economic policy agenda for the City of Worcester.
“Food service is a critical and growing segment of our economy, and this funding will allow us to support it with skilled labor, while providing good job opportunities for our residents,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr.
The WCW core team includes: Worcester Community Action Council, Inc., Clark University, Regional Environmental Council, Sodexo, Chartwells, City of Worcester, Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board, and the Latino Education Institute of Worcester State University.
Worcester Community Action Council recently hosted a thank you reception for its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program volunteers. This year’s group logged 620 volunteer hours, preparing a total of 895 returns (up over 710 returns prepared in 2014) and generating over $1.5 million dollars in refunds (up over the $1,060,100 generated in 2014). Special thanks to the team of volunteers from UNUM, pictured above with WCAC Board Chair and UNUM Senior VP Steve Joseph, which has been a strong supporter of the VITA program.
WCAC participates in the VITA program through the Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition which works to promote free tax preparation services available to individuals and families who qualify. IRS-certified volunteers prepare taxes and specifically look for tax credits the household may be eligible for, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC) and other credits. Some households with children are eligible for tax refunds of over $6,000. Utilizing the free tax preparation services allows families to retain their full refund, avoiding typical preparation fees which can often run into the hundreds of dollars.
A special thank you to Bank of America who is supporting WCAC’s YES (Youth Employment Seminar) program with a $6,000 grant. Pictured here are WCAC’s Executive Director Jill Dagilis, Job & Education Center Director Charla Hixson and Bank of America’s MJ Driscoll. YES offers small cohorts of disconnected youth soft skills, work and financial readiness training as well as case management and any required wrap around services required to get them job ready.
Southbridge Savings Bank’s Charitable Donations Committee recently announced the donation of $36,000 to Worcester Community Action Council to assist local residents with home heating costs. The bank is committing to a total of $4,000 to each community it serves. Read more here.