A $15,000 Working Cities Challenge Grant has been awarded to Danbury. The funding will be used to improve the lives of low-income residents as part of a collaboration between the United Way of Western Connecticut and Community Action Agency of Western Connecticut. The grant will be used to create a plan which will make Danbury eligible for a $500,000 grant. Ten of 16 eligible cities were awarded the Boston Federal Reserve funding to promote economic growth throughout cities in Connecticut and New England.
United Way CEO Kim Morgan says the goal is to dramatically reduce under and unemployment of people who are struggling. The focus will be on job training in the areas of childcare, healthcare, and manufacturing. The plan will create strategies to tear down barriers to employment, such as limited education, English language skills, transportation and childcare.
Morgan says the grant is especially welcome in Danbury, where the foreign-born population has grown to 32%, many of whom do not have a high school diploma, and 50% of whom earn less than $35,000 per year. The child poverty rate has grown from 6% in 2007 to 21% in 2015.
The collaboration now includes the City of Danbury, CityCenter Danbury, Danbury Public Schools, Naugatuck Valley Community College, Connecticut Institute for Communities, Western Connecticut State University, Western Connecticut Health Network, Tribuna, and the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce.