Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative

In September 2016, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County (UWSCC) was selected as the lead agency for the City of Jamestown’s Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI). With the Mayor’s office, UWSCC convened a Taskforce of key stakeholders in the community, including those with lived experience in poverty. Over the course of a year during Phase I of the grant, the Taskforce examined demographics, labor statistics, held community conversations and listening sessions, and hosted a series of Community Improvement workshops. In August 2017, UWSCC and the ESPRI Taskforce released a Request for Proposal for transformational projects, ones that showed innovation and collaboration. The strategic aim of the ESPRI funding was to reduce the number of
ALICE families (Asset-Limited, Income Constrained Employed) in the city of Jamestown by 160 (or 2%) by 2027 and increase the labor participation rate for 25-64 year old's by 5%.

The focus of the funding was workforce development, and all applicants were asked to apply under one of the following primary drivers:

  • Educational Preparation for Employment
  • Secure and Retain Employment
  • Family and Community Support
  • Support for Employees

Thirteen local agencies applied and small teams of Taskforce members met in October 2017 to make funding decisions. The following proposals were funded, and in May 2018 – the City of Jamestown Phase II ESPRI projects were approved by New York State:

  • Chautauqua Works $137,711
  • Community Helping Hands $126,638
  • Jamestown Community College $156,568
  • Jamestown Community Learning Council $94,207
  • Mental Health Association $150,311
  • The Resource Center $193,932
  • YWCA: $99,515 

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