The Springfield Area is one of four regions in Vermont to receive the Working Communities Challenge grant. The 3-year, $300,000 grant is provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and supported by the State of Vermont and several philanthropic organizations.
The goal of the Springfield Area Working Communities Challenge (SAWCC) team is to increase workforce participation throughout the region by addressing the challenges that prevent residents from finding and maintaining employment. More specifically, the team aims to address systemic barriers associated with transportation, childcare, housing, education, and recovery.
The strategy for the SAWCC Team is to create a holistic, wrap-around approach to meet the needs of individuals seeking employment. This will be done by creating a collaborative network of regional employers and social service providers. Cross-sector engagement from these community partners will contribute to strengthening existing systems and help develop new ones.
Employment Research Study
The SAWCC Team has the opportunity to launch our own research study focused on employment patterns within our region. The Research Study will aim to collect data-driven information from employers and residents of the region to identify the barriers that prevent individuals from finding and maintaining employment.
The responses will be anonymous. The contact information gathered from residents will only be used to send the $40 stipend. Anyone living in the SAWCC region (see map) can join, regardless of employment status, and businesses of all sizes are encouraged to participate.
What are the questions like?
The surveys will include questions on employment, housing, transportation, and childcare.
Registration for employers to participate is still open, see the ink below (Registration for residents is no longer open)
Employers – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/EmployerIntake
Employer Resource Group
These monthly meetings are open to all employers to hear from content experts on a range of topics. Hosted and facilitated by Bev Widger of HRXperienced, the goal for this group is to provide employers with tangible strategies for recruitment and retention, while also cultivating a networking opportunity.
Previous topics include:
- Strategies for Improving Job Postings to Attract Candidates
- Substance Use in the Workplace: Supporting Staff in Reocvery
- Impacts of Childcare on Employment
FREE and open to all employers, the group meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 9 am.
To join please visit our Facebook page for the latest invitation.
WCC Childcare Assistance Fund
The Springfield Area Working Communities Challenge has created a subsidy to help support families within our region who are having difficulty with costs related to childcare.
It is open to all families and can be used to cover current costs, back bills, and registration fees. Our goal is to help parents and guardians during this difficult time continue working or re-enter the workforce.
To be eligible:
- The family must live within the SAWCC region (see below)
- Must have physical custody of at least one child living in the home.
- At least one parent/guardian in the household is working or seeking employment.
- There is no income requirement for families to access this fund.
The Springfield Area Parent Child Center is distributing the fund on behalf of the SAWCC Team. To learn more about the WCC Fund contact:
Springfield Area Parent Child Center
Childcare Counts Coalition
This group of WCC partners is dedicated to increasing the availability of high-quality childcare in the working community’s region. Recognizing that access to childcare is a critical economic and workforce development issue. The group seeks to engage a broad range of partners and families on the issues impacting childcare.
The Springfield Area Parent Child Center has developed an Employer Childcare Guide to enable employers to assist staff in the search for childcare.
To address barriers pertaining to transportation, members of the extended partner network have formed the Transportation Taskforce.
Partners at Southeast Vermont Transit have designed a comprehensive Ride Guide to help disseminate information to Employers, Service Providers, and Residents of the Springfield Region.
Free Laptop/Device Program
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of access to internet-enabled technology for all individuals. In an attempt to help job seekers overcome this barrier, the SAWCC team created the Free Laptop/Device Distribution program.
This program allows those seeking employment to receive a free refurbished laptop or Chromebook from the River Valley Tech Center. To qualify, applicants must meet income requirements, have internet access and live within the SAWCC region (see map below). Applicants must have a member of a partner agency certify the that information within the application is accurate.
Application: SAWCC Laptop Program
The Springfield SAWCC Region includes Andover, Baltimore, Cavendish, Chester, Grafton, Londonderry, Ludlow, Plymouth, Reading, Rockingham, Springfield, Weathersfield, Weston, Windham, West Windsor, and Windsor.
SAWCC Core Team Members
- Reach Up/TANF, VT Agency of Human Services – Jeanne Neal
- River Valley Technical Center – Scott Farr
- Springfield Regional Development Corporation – Bob Flint
- Vermont 2-1-1 United Way – Carmina Garciadealba
- VT Agency of Human Services – Sue Graff
- VT Department of Labor –
- Vermont Packinghouse, LLC – Karen Murray
- Building Bright Futures
- Edgar May Health & Recreation Center
- Mount Ascutney Regional Commission
- Mt. Ascutney Hospital & Health Center
- Parks Place Community Resource Center
- Southeast Vermont Transit/ The MOOver
- Springfield Area Parent Child Center
- Springfield Medical Care Systems
- Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Springfield Supported Housing Project
- Turning Point Center of Springfield
- Vermont Adult Learning
- Working Fields