MAYOR BRONIN: HARTFORD NAMED ONE OF 50 INVEST HEALTH CITIES BY REINVESTMENT FUND AND ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION
Hartford, Conn. (May 18, 2016) — Today, Mayor Bronin announced that the City of Hartford has been selected by the Reinvestment Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to take part in the new Invest Health initiative. Invest Health is aimed at transforming how leaders from mid-size American cities work together to help low-income communities thrive, with specific attention to community features that drive health such as access to safe and affordable housing, places to play and exercise, and quality jobs.
Hartford was selected from more than 180 teams from 170 communities that applied to the initiative. Cities with populations between 50,000 and 400,000 were asked to form five-member teams including a representative from the public sector, a community development expert and an anchor institution, preferably academic or health-related.
“This is great news,” said Mayor Bronin. “It’s a testament to the hard work happening in our community by civic, nonprofit, and corporate partners to improve overall health and eliminate health inequities citywide.”
Mid-size American cities face some of the nation’s deepest challenges with entrenched poverty, poor health and a lack of investment. But they also offer fertile ground for strategies that improve health and have the potential to boost local economies. The program has the potential to fundamentally transform the way Hartford improves opportunities to live healthy lives by addressing the drivers of health including jobs, housing, education, community safety, and environmental conditions.
“With a long history in community development finance, we are excited to help create a pipeline to channel capital into low-income communities through public and private investments,” said Amanda High, Chief of Strategic Initiatives at Reinvestment Fund. “Our goal is to transform how cities approach tough challenges, share lessons learned and spur creative collaboration.”
Over the next 18 months, Invest Health teams will take part in a vibrant learning community, have access to highly skilled faculty advisors and coaches who will guide their efforts toward improved health, and receive a $60,000 grant. Hartford will also engage a broader group of local stakeholders to encourage local knowledge sharing. Learning from the program will be synthesized and disseminated through the project website.
“Public officials, community developers, and many others have been working in low-income neighborhoods for years, but they haven’t always worked together,” said Donald Schwarz, MD, MPH, MBA, RWJF Vice President, Program. “Invest Health aims to align their work and help neighborhoods thrive by intentionally incorporating health into community development.”
Hartford’s projects will explore a broad range of ideas. Project teams will travel to Philadelphia for a kick-off meeting on June 7th and will meet regularly to share lessons learned throughout the 18-month project. A full list of awardees and more information is available at www.investhealth.org.
MAYOR BRONIN: HARTFORD SECURES FEDERAL GRANT TO FUND 275 YOUTH SUMMER TRAINING PROGRAMS AND JOBS
Hartford, Conn. (May 17, 2016) — Today, Mayor Luke Bronin joined Capital Workforce Partners (CWP) in announcing that Hartford has secured a federal grant to provide 275 youth with summer and year-round job opportunities and exposure to career pathways for in-demand job sectors.
“Connecting Hartford’s young men and women to jobs is the single most important thing we can do to build a stronger Hartford,” said Mayor Bronin. “The Promise Zone Youth Employment for Success is a critical part of our effort to expand youth employment opportunities in Hartford, and I’m incredibly grateful to Senator Blumenthal, Senator Murphy, Congressman Larson and the Obama Administration for their support. I also want to thank Capital Workforce Partners and other community groups who are working hard to prepare to launch this program for Hartford’s young people.”
These opportunities are part of Promise Zone Youth Employment for Success (Promise Zone YES!). The project serves as a way to transform youth-serving systems and engage the Promise Zone in partnership with Blue Hills Civic Association, unlocking the untapped talent of North Hartford as an engine for economic prosperity and investment in the future of the youth.
“It’s even more than just giving youth something meaningful to do,” says Thomas Phillips, President, and CEO of Capital Workforce Partners. “By providing these employment and skill-credentialing opportunities, we are working toward closing achievement gaps, and our future workforce is better prepared to meet the business needs of the region today and tomorrow. It is an economic competitiveness imperative.”
The 275 youth served will be a mix of in-school and out-of-school youth, with 190 placed in unsubsidized employment, 85 placed in post-secondary education or training, and 204 gaining industry-recognized credentials. CWP, the local workforce development board for North Central Connecticut, will partner with the City of Hartford, Hartford Public Schools, Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, and two employer partnerships.
News of Hartford receiving these federal funds today is part of a larger U.S. Department of Labor announcement of $21 million in Grants to Connect Young Americans to Jobs. Connecticut’s capital city is one of 11 communities across the country will receive a portion of the $21 million to launch and expand innovative approaches that provide young people with summer and year-round jobs.
About Capital Workforce Partners - Capital Workforce Partners is a regional workforce development board serving 37 municipalities in North Central Connecticut. The board coordinates comprehensive programs for job seekers and employers, and its mission is to leverage public and private resources to produce skilled workers for a competitive regional economy. For more information about Capital Workforce Partners, visit www.capitalworkforce.org
About the Hartford Promise Zone - The Hartford Promise Zone is a 3-mile area, which begins near Homestead Avenue and extends north to Keney Park. City and federal officials announced the federal designation for the Clay Arsenal, Northeast and Upper Albany neighborhoods on April 28, 2015, hoping to result in an infusion of manpower and money to one of the capital city's neediest areas.
MAYOR BRONIN OPPOSES BILL AIMED AT LIMITING BROADBAND ACCESS FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES (H.R. 4884)
MAYOR BRONIN SIGNS ONTO LETTER THAT STATES H.R. 4884, IF ENACTED, WOULD HARM MILLIONS OF LOW-INCOME JOB SEEKERS AND VETERANS
Hartford, Conn. (May 10, 2016) — Today, Mayor Luke Bronin is urging members of Congress to oppose a bill that limits funds for the Lifeline program, which helps over 13 million low-income American families afford broadband access.
H.R. 4884, if enacted, would cap the amount the allocated amount of funds for this program annually at a level that is lower than it is currently spending.
“Too many people in Hartford – and nationwide – find their opportunities limited by a lack of broadband access,” said Mayor Bronin. “The Lifeline program is so important because it provides much-needed subsidies to those who otherwise would go without internet access. I urge members of Congress to block passage of H.R. 4884, which would hurt low-income job seekers.”
More than half of Americans believe that those without broadband access are at a "major disadvantage" when it comes to finding job opportunities or gaining new career skills, according to a recent Pew Charitable Trust Study. But the same study found that still today one-third of adults do not subscribe to high-speed internet.
The internet is a top resource for many of today’s job hunters: Among Americans who have looked for work in the last two years, 79 percent utilized online resources in their most recent job search and 34 percent say these online resources were the most important tool available to them.
“Scaling back the Lifeline program doesn’t just hurt jobseekers,” said Mayor Bronin. “It also hurts low-income children. Without broadband access at home, kids are unable to do research, write papers, and communicate with their teachers. This restricts a child’s ability to learn and benefit from a technology-driven education.”
There are close to 100 million people in the United States who don’t have Internet access at home, according to the Federal Communications Commission. And while almost half of Americans in the lowest income bracket own a computer, less than half subscribe to broadband access at home, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
This divide is even more stark between demographic groups. Only 64 percent of African Americans and 53 percent of Latinos have Internet access at home — that number dips down to 51 percent for households with limited English proficiency.
And, according to a recent study by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, teachers in high-poverty schools were strikingly more likely to say that the “lack of resources or access to digital technologies among students” was a challenge in their classrooms (56 percent vs. 21 percent).
For the full-text of the letter that Mayor Bronin signed onto opposing the Lifeline program, please see below.
Dear Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Pallone:
We write to express our strong opposition to H.R. 4884, the Controlling the Unchecked and Reckless Ballooning of Lifeline Act of 2016. We urge you to oppose this legislation, which could severely undermine the Lifeline program. Ratification would harm millions of low-income job seekers and veterans, and leave millions of low-income school children on the wrong side of the homework gap.
As leaders in local government, representing communities large and small, the modernized Lifeline program has tremendous potential to improve the lives of our low-income residents and enhance the long-term prospects for our cities as a whole. Last year, the mayors of America’s cities joined together to pass a U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution expressing support for the Lifeline program reform and modernization efforts by passing. Further, a coalition of 37 mayors and the National League of Cities recently wrote a letter applauding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in modernizing and reforming the Lifeline program to include affordable broadband Internet service to benefit millions of low-income households.
H.R. 4884 would exclude an undetermined number of the eligible low-income participants from enrolling in the program by imposing a hard cap of $1.5 billion annually on the Lifeline program. By contrast, the FCC’s reformed and modernized program provides a reasonable $2.25 billion budget, and further mechanisms to prevent fraud and abuse to ensure fiscal responsibility.
Additionally, we are greatly concerned that at times of greatest need H.R 4884 could severely hamper the vital purpose of the Lifeline program to provide low-income consumers with vital communications services. As mayors from cities all across the country we are uniquely aware that times of recession or natural disaster may necessitate an increase in the program’s budget. While the FCC’s flexible budget is both reflective of the goals and principles of the Lifeline program and allows for an appropriate respond in the event of an unanticipated increase in need, the hard cap in H.R. 4884 would do neither.
We oppose any effort to defund or to impose hard caps upon Lifeline. The FCC’s approach to Lifeline will complement local efforts already underway to increase competition and make broadband more affordable for low-income Americans to bring about digital equity and inclusion. In this vein, we urge you to oppose H.R. 4884, and to allow full implementation of the reformed and modernized the Lifeline program. We stand ready to work with the FCC, broadband providers, and members of this distinguished committee to make implementation of the modernized Lifeline program a success.
MAYOR BRONIN APPLAUDS GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR PASSING THE FAIR CHANCE EMPLOYMENT ACT
Hartford, Conn. (May 6, 2016) – Today, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin applauded the Connecticut General Assembly for passage of The Fair Chance Employment Act (HB 5237). The legislation, which passed in the State House of Representatives last week, was approved in the State Senate on Wednesday.
“Support for The Fair Chance Employment Act from both chambers of the State legislature sends a strong message that Connecticut remains committed to leading the nation on criminal justice reform,” said Mayor Bronin. “This bill recognizes that past mistakes, particularly those mistakes made during youth, should not be a permanent barrier to employment. The Fair Chance Employment Act will help us build stronger, safer communities by promoting second chances for individuals with criminal records.”
Also known as a “ban the box” measure, the bill would ensure that prospective employees are not required to disclose any prior convictions until the employer has made a conditional offer of employment to that prospective employee.
Nationwide, more than 100 cities and counties — including Hartford — as well as more than 20 states, have adopted “ban the box” policies to encourage employers to put a candidate’s qualifications first. At the federal level, President Barack Obama backed a “ban-the-box” policy in directing federal agencies to wait until later in the hiring process to look into job applicants’ records.
The Fair Chance Employment Act will be presented to Gov. Malloy, who is expected to sign the measure.
Mayor Bronin is also encouraging businesses in Hartford to sign President Obama’s “Fair Chance Business Pledge.” The pledge is a call-to-action for all members of the private sector to improve their communities by eliminating barriers for those with a criminal record and create a pathway for second chances.
“I’ve spoken to countless business owners throughout Hartford who have made a conscious commitment to look beyond an individuals past mistakes,” said Mayor Bronin. “They’ve told me that, often, returning citizens are their hardest workers, because they know how far they’ve come, how hard they’ve had to work to get there, and how much they have to lose.”
Today, one-in-three American adults have some criminal record, according to the Center for American Progress. A conviction record reduces the likelihood of a follow-up interview or job offer by nearly one-half, according to the Council of State Governments.
Research shows that fair chance employment policies are good for business. The decreased output of goods and services from those with criminal records results in an estimated $57 to $65 billion in losses to our national economy annually, according to a Center for Economic and Policy Research study.
• Click here for more on the “Fair Chance Business Pledge”: http://1.usa.gov/26v3IE0