Working Bridges to support businesses in NEK and Central Vermont with $20,000 grant

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Working Bridges to support businesses in NEK and Central Vermont with $20,000 grant

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 4:08pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Green Mountain United Way was recently awarded a $20,000 grant by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to expand Working Bridges in the Central Vermont and Northeast Kingdom regions. Working Bridges fosters the shared understanding that barriers such as childcare, reliable transportation and acute need for emergency financial assistance get in the way of continuous employment and derail good employees. 

Working Bridges is a United Way led Employer Collaborative which was founded 10 years ago by the United Way of Northwest Vermont (then the United Way of Chittenden County) and a group of forward-thinking employers. The concept is simple: a network of cross-sector employers work together to effectively develop and test innovative HR practices using the workplace as a platform for services designated to help workers minimize work disruptions, decrease absenteeism, improve financial stability and ultimately increase retention and advancement. Working Bridges provides Education and Training based in the Bridges Out of Poverty curriculum, an Employer Workgroup, Resource Coordinators who provide on-site resource assistance to employees, Income Advance Loans to employees, Mobile Volunteer Tax Preparation Program, and on-site financial literacy classes. 

Green Mountain United Way, with the support of the United Way of Northwest Vermont, recently began administration of Working Bridges at Weidmann Electrical Technology in St. Johnsbury. “Having Green Mountain United Way’s Working Bridges program allows us to serve our employees in an entirely different way and brings resources our employees really need, but we, as a company, don’t have access to. Because there is a Resource Coordinator right here in our facility, employees and supervisors don’t lose time off the job dealing with life issues that need outside expertise to address. It is a win-win for us and our employees”, says Patti Harvey, Vice President of Human Resources for Weidmann Electrical Technology. 

The grant funds Green Mountain United Way has received specifically focus on bringing training and expanded opportunities to Washington and Orleans Counties. These efforts include two educational training opportunities for employers about economic class in the workplace using the Bridges Out of Poverty curriculum and concepts. These trainings are targeted for Spring 2017 and dates will be announced shortly. Businesses and nonprofit leaders interested in attending or wanting more information can email Carrie Stahler,, to be added to the announcement list. 

In addition, as they expand Working Bridges, Green Mountain United Way seeks innovation-minded businesses who are interested in participating in business workgroups to join them in their efforts to target this effort to the unique needs of Central Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom. “Bringing this framework from Chittenden County to the Northeast Kingdom and Central Vermont poses a unique opportunity for us to explore how Working Bridges can have the maximum impact on rural communities whose needs are very different than those of urban areas. We are reaching out to our partners in the communities we serve to make sure that our Working Groups are filled with individuals whose experiences can help inform this effort to best serve the employees and businesses in our rural regions!” stated Tawnya Kristen, Executive Director of Green Mountain United Way. 

About Green Mountain United Way:  Green Mountain United Way is a Vermont not-for-profit organization in operation since 1976.  They work to improve the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community in Caledonia, Essex, Orange, Orleans and Washington Counties by mobilizing the caring power of communities around our region to advance the common good. No other single organization has the scope and influence to bring together human service agencies, government, businesses, private foundations and dedicated volunteers around a common vision of creating maximum impact and achieving long-lasting results. 

About Working Bridges: Working Bridges is a United Way led Employer Collaborative founded 10 years ago in Chittenden County by The United Way of Northwest Vermont (formerly The United Way of Chittenden County) led by project director Lisa Falcone and a group of innovative businesses including Rhino Foods, Engelberth Construction and The Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Burlington. Working Bridges has been recognized by United Way World Wide and FINRA’s Financial Capability@Work project.

Source: Green Mountain United Way. Montpelier & St. Johnsbury, Vermont – February 22, 2017