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.