Working Bridges

Working Bridges 
Simple Solutions, Major Impact

 

Lisa Jensen, Working Bridges Resources Coordinator & Myron Bullock of Rhino Foods, Inc.

 

Simply stated, Working Bridges is an employer collaborative dedicated to improving workplace productivity, retention, advancement and financial stability for employees. If a steady job is the most reliable step on the pathway to financial stability, than why do employers see high turnover in the ranks of their low-to-moderate wage workforce?   Too often, barriers such as childcare, reliable transportation and acute need for emergency financial assistance get in the way of continuous employment and derail good employees.

To tackle this issue, a group of forward-thinking employers, United Way of Chittenden County and other community partners joined forces and founded Working Bridges, a public-private, multi-sector employer collaborative. 

The focus is business solutions—job retention and decreased absenteeism.  Our approach to financial stability includes a different kind of Three Rs—Relationship, Resources and job Retention.  Through shared resources, employers are minimizing employment barriers for their low-to-moderate wage workers and maximizing the supports employees need to be successful and improve their lives.

Working Bridges provides:

  • Education/Training for employers about economic class in the workplace.  We use the Bridges Out of Poverty curriculum and concepts.
  • An Employer Workgroup that is the heart, soul and brains of Working Bridges.  At our meetings, employers tackle issues affecting employee stability—transportation, income supports, affordable housing, to name a few, Together, we design, test and share innovative practices and refine policies to improve the lives of employees. Our meetings are open to all interested employers. Click here to add your name to our email distribution list.
  • Resource Coordinators who are shared by employers and provide on-site resource assistance to employees so that they get the help they need without disrupting work.
  • Employee Loan/Savings Program is a partnership between employers and financial institutions to help employees meet emergency needs, begin savings and build credit.  Click here to read an evaluation of the program.
  • Mobile Volunteer Tax Preparation Program that provides employees with tax assistance and financial coaching at the workplace.
  • On-site Classes for employees including GED, ELL and financial literacy classes. 

Results:

  • Employees are accessing resources, retaining jobs and improving financial stability.
  • Employers are offering a low cost, highly valued employee benefit, changing policies and practices and retaining workers, saving turnover costs.
  • Community is realizing a new, effective approach to solving poverty and experiencing more stable employment and family incomes.


Contact the Working Bridges staff to learn more:

Lisa Falcone, Community Impact Manager; Income, Working Bridges Project Director
(802) 861-7826 lisaf@unitedwaycc.org

Lisa Jensen, Working Bridges Resources Coordinator
(802) 922-6297 lisaj@unitedwaycc.org


Working Bridges in the Press

Hear Lisa Falcone speak about Working Bridges on Vermont Public Radio's "Vermont Edition" from Monday, May 6th, 2013.

Working Bridges was featured on the PBS program "Need to Know." Watch it online here.