Learning Communities

Working Cities are invited to attend a series of structured team planning sessions to advance local efforts. These Learning Communities are designed to provide relevant information and best practices organized around key thematic challenges raised by Working Cities throughout the competition’s process. The Learning Communities will also act as forums for the winning Working Cities to update teams as to their progress.

September 30: Building Cross-Sector Partnerships in the Working Cities—Strategies for Engaging (and Sustaining) Resident and Business Leadership (Microsoft New England R&D Center, Cambridge, MA)

Keynote: Play audio (Right-click to download) sound
Panel: Play audio (Right-click to download) sound

This Learning Community marked the first learning community open to the public. Both winning and non-winning cities joined together at the Microsoft New England Research and Development (NERD) Center to discuss strategies for engaging and sustaining resident and business leadership in smaller cities. The session began with a keynote address from Scot Spencer, Associate Director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, followed by a panel discussion, featuring:

  • Jessica Andors, Executive Director, Lawrence Community Works
  • Carlos Sanchez, Director of the Latino Business and Economic Development Center at Ferris State University and Interim Executive Director of the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan
  • Bill Traynor, Partner, Trusted Space Partners
  • Ayn Yeagle, Assistant Director for Nutrition and Wellness, Montachusett Opportunity Council, Inc.

May 29: Using Data to Discover What Works in the Working Cities (Greentown Labs, Somerville, MA)

Play the full event audio (Right-click to download) sound

This Learning Community, held at Somerville’s initiative partner Greentown Labs, focused on best practices in measuring a range of city-wide metrics. The day-long session featured a panel of national experts in leveraging city metrics, including:

  • Kathy Petitt, Director, National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership at The Urban Institute (Washington, DC)
  • Erica Raleigh, Director, Data Driven Detroit (Detroit, MI)
  • Molly McGrath Tierney, Director, Baltimore City Department of Social Services (Baltimore, MD)
  • Zachary Tumin, Deputy Commissioner, Strategic Initiatives at New York City Police Department (New York, NY)

Teams then caucused in groups to share best practice and discuss a series of special topics, including data self-assessment and communications and governance before touring Greentown Labs.

March 27: Building Out Your Theory of Change
(Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg, MA)

The six winning teams from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Working Cities Challenge gathered in Fitchburg for a brainstorming session around education and workforce development. Each team—from Fitchburg, Lawrence, Salem, Holyoke, Chelsea and Somerville—was awarded a grant from the Fed in January to fund their proposals to innovate government services in sectors from adult education to workforce development among youth.

Read more: “MassInc: Winning Working Cities Teams Roll up their sleeves

Forthcoming Learning Communities

Supporting Small Business and Immigrant Entrepreneurs
Effective Strategies for Family and Community Engagement