East Hartford, Conn., received a three-year $450,000 grant to implement its East Hartford CONNects initiative, which works to improve the quality of life in the Silver Lane neighborhood. The initiative seeks to increase access to workforce development and educational resources, and it focuses on expanding resident engagement and participation in decision-making.
The East Hartford CONNects team aims to bring together local employers, workforce intermediaries, and job seekers to align resources and create a culture of career development and family-sustaining employment. The Silver Lane School is the heart of community for local families, and it offers workforce help and resources, including a career specialist focused on helping residents advance in their vocation. Neighborhood life is enhanced when residents have a strong voice and formal role in decisions that impact their futures.
The Silver Lane neighborhood is about 56 percent minority. It has higher poverty rates, more households led solely by females, fewer college degrees, and poorer elementary education outcomes than neighborhoods in nearby towns with higher percentages of white residents. As a result, residents have comparatively limited opportunities in education, employment, and community participation.
There is also significant underemployment in Silver Lane, meaning many working residents aren’t earning enough to make ends meet. Residents face barriers to career-track employment, including low levels of educational attainment, the need to care for children or other family members, and inadequate time to pursue advanced job training or education due to the demands of their low-wage jobs.
An employer-led partnership will help align career opportunities with workforce readiness in Silver Lane. It will use its expertise in engagement to increase communication between employers and job seekers. It will encourage and model improved hiring practices.
The partnership will also help identify and dismantle structural inequities in local workforce systems that disadvantage low-income and minority residents. Additionally, the team will work to improve adult education programs, so enrollment and completion are low-cost or free, and quality is high.
Its strategies include:
- Determining regional best practices in workforce readiness programs and working with local workforce intermediaries and experts to invest, test, and duplicate these practices for East Hartford job seekers
- Engaging employers to increase recruitment and hiring from East Hartford, including for internships and apprenticeships
- Increasing career exposure and workplace learning for East Hartford public school students
- Encouraging low-income and minority residents to become involved in community planning, decision-making, and leadership
Increase household wealth for at least 10 percent of households earning less than the median income.
- East Hartford Public Schools
- East Hartford Public Library
- Town of East Hartford
- CT Center for Advanced Technology
- Family Resource Centers
- Goodwin College
- East Hartford Adult Education
- Capitol Workforce Partnership