Charlestown residents living at the Bunker Hill Housing Development will now have more job training opportunities thanks to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant.
HUD announced that the Boston Housing Authority was one of nine agencies chosen out of a group of 57 applicants nationwide to receive a $2 million grant for the next four years to help low-income residents at the Charlestown public housing development find higher paying jobs through education levels, job search and placement and financial literacy assistance.
Through the Jobs-Plus grant, the City of Boston will add $1 million in matching funds to the $2 million grant. At the Charlestown Adult Education Center the program there enrolls about 150 people per year in its high school equivalency and ESOL programs.
HUD’s Jobs-Plus Pilot Program will connect the BHA’s educational programs with employment and training services. The BHA said the purpose of the program is to develop locally-based, job-driven approaches to increase earnings and advance employment outcomes through work readiness, employer linkages, job placement, educational advancement technology skills, and financial literacy for residents of public housing.
The place-based Jobs Plus Pilot program in Charlestown will address poverty among public housing residents here by incentivizing and enabling employment through income disregards for working families, and a set of services designed to support work including employer linkages, job placement and counseling, educational advancement and financial counseling.
These incentives should help foster a culture of work and make working families the norm. The grant covers BHA’s implementation of the Charlestown Works program and activities for a four-year period. “I am committed to ensuring that every Boston resident has the opportunity to excel, thrive, and reach his or her fullest potential,” said Mayor Martin Walsh. “This funding will boost the expansion of high school equivalency and provide opportunities to residents in low-income public housing through additional English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programming at the Bunker Hill development.”
According to BHA data 35 percent of residents aged 25 or over in the Charlestown development do not have a high school diploma and another 29 percent of residents have achieved a high school diploma but have not been able to further their education beyond high school level. Few have the extra education or training necessary for available office, administrative and health care industry jobs that would provide financial stability. The Charlestown development contains a total of 1,061 units, with 943 adults between the ages of 18 and 64.
“This grant will help insure that our residents have the opportunities they need to increase their incomes and quality of life going forward,” said BHA Administrator Bill McGonagle. “We also want to thank our Congressional delegation for their continued support and advocacy for the public housing residents of Boston.”
Partners in addition to the City of Boston providing matching funds and/or services include Boston Private Industry Council, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, Boston College, John F. Kennedy Family Service Center, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.
BHA is providing renovated program space at 76 Monument Street in Charlestown.