Today Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President and CEO Eric Rosengren and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced that Newport has won the Fed’s Working Cities Challenge, a competition for Rhode Island communities to improve the lives of low- and moderate-income residents. The program officially launched in Rhode Island in 2015 with state, private sector, and not-for-profit support.

Newport will  receive multiyear grants of $400,000 to support programs designed to spur workforce development and job creation among low- and moderate-income residents. Newport seeks to lift families out of poverty through the development of a well-established, integrated, and efficient workforce development system to fill vacancies in high demand industries within the city. 

“I congratulate Cranston, Newport, and Providence, as well as all of the Rhode Island Working Cities that submitted applications to this competition,” said Rosengren. “Winning this competition is just the start of a lot of hard work on behalf of these cities’ residents. I look forward to working with these communities and building off this positive momentum to implement their respective initiatives.”

“Great things can happen when Rhode Islanders work together,” Raimondo said. “I am incredibly proud of our Rhode Island Working Cities applicants, who spent months collaborating on their plans to improve their communities, and look forward to seeing the results of their hard work.”

About the Working Cities Challenge

The Working Cities Challenge, launched in 2013 in Massachusetts, builds on Boston Fed research that identified cross-sector collaboration and leadership as the key ingredients in resurgent smaller cities across the country. The Working Cities Challenge in Rhode Island builds upon the success of the initiative in Massachusetts (now in its second round of competition).

In August 2016, seven Rhode Island communities received $15,000 design grants to sharpen their proposals. After a six month design phase, the teams submitted implementation award applications to and were interviewed by an independent jury, which selected Cranston, Newport, and Providence in April 2017.

Funding for the Working Cities Challenge is not provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, but by a collaboration of the state of Rhode Island including the Raimondo administration, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, the Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training, and Rhode Island Housing. Funding is also provided by local and national philanthropic organizations including the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Rhode Island Foundation, Living Cities, and NeighborWorks America, as well as private-sector firms including Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Bank of America, the Washington Trust Company, AT&T New England, Verizon, and Webster Bank.