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Working Bridges

WB_Logo_4C_w-padding.jpggetting, keeping and growing stable employment

United Way leads the Working Bridges Employer Collaborative. Originally started as a project of the former United Way of Chittenden County, we are now scaling this effort throughout our service area and looking for employers within Franklin and Grand Isle counties to participate. The concept is simple: the network of employers work together to effectively develop and test innovative HR practices using the workplace as a platform for services designed to help workers minimize work disruptions, decrease absenteeism, improve financial stability and ultimately increase retention and advancement.

REAd: 2015 Working Bridges Profile 

LISTEN: VERMONT PUBLIC RADIO: A ROUTE OUT OF POVERTY

This initiative has received national acclaim for its proven success. The Income Advance Loan component is being studied by Filene’s Research Institute for its potential to be offered nationwide as an alternative to predatory payday lending practices.

 

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About Working Bridges

We understand 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. To tackle this issue, a group of forward-thinking employers, we and other community partners joined forces and founded Working Bridges, a public-private, multi-sector employer collaborative. We seek business solutions for job retention and decreased absenteeism and use the workplace as a platform for social services. Our approach to financial stability focuses on Relationships, Resources and 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 is at the core of Working Bridges. At our meetings, employers tackle issues affecting employee stability, including transportation, income supports and affordable housing. 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. Please email Lisa Falcone to add your name to our email distribution list.
  • Resource Coordinators, who are shared by employers, provide on-site resource assistance to employees so that they get the help they need without disrupting work.
  • Employee Loan/Savings Program (Income Advance Loan) is a partnership between employers and financial institutions to help employees meet emergency needs, and begin saving and building credit. 
  • Mobil Volunteer Tax Preparation Program that provides employees with tax assistance and financial coaching at the workplace.
  • On-site Classes for employees including GED, English Language Learning (ELL) and financial literacy classes.
Results & Benefits:
  • Education/Training for employers about economic class in the workplace. We use the Bridges Out of Poverty curriculum and concepts.
  • An Employer Workgroup is at the core of Working Bridges. At our meetings, employers tackle issues affecting employee stability, including transportation, income supports, and affordable housing. 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. Please email Lisa Falcone 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 (Income Advance Loan) is a partnership between employers and financial institutions to help employees meet emergency needs, begin savings and build credit. 
  • Mobile Volunteer Tax Preparation Program that provides employees with tax assistance and financial coaching at the workplace.
  • On-site Classes for employees including GED, English Language Learning (ELL) and financial literacy classes.
 

Income Advance Loan


The Income Advance Loan was created to meet emergency financial needs of employees. A true social innovation, it creates a partnership between employers and local financial institutions that not only provides a responsible lending alternative to help employees meet emergency needs, but also allows them to begin saving and build credit.

Employee loans are a hand up, not a handout. These loans support job retention and encourage financial stability. A key feature of the loan program is the savings program takes small steps to a secure future. This benefit provides employers with structure and education to aid in their employees’ financial stability and turn a cash crisis into a savings plan.

Connect with us


Discuss how Working Bridges can benefit your employees and improve your business:

Lisa Falcone  
Working Bridges Project Director  
(802) 861-7826 or lisa@unitedwaynwvt.org

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

 

Connie Beal  
Working Bridges Resources Coordinator
(802) 881-4218 or connie@unitedwaynwvt.org

 

In 2015 the FINRA Foundation and United Way Worldwide published a comprehensive profile of Working Bridges that highlights the ways this initiative uses cross-sector strategies to engage our community in using the workplace as a platform for culitvating financial stability. 

For more information about the impact of Working Bridges within Chittenden County, refer to the 2014 Chittenden County Community Impact Report.