Working Communities Challenge

Working Communities Challenge

The Greater Barre region received a three-year, $300,000 grant to implement an initiative that focuses on creating a nimble workforce development system that will lower the rate of single female head of households in poverty. Green Mountain United Way is the backbone organization for this work. The workforce development system will achieve economic stability and improved quality of life for the region’s single mothers for the mutual benefit of local businesses, communities, and future generations.


In the city of Barre, 55.3% of single female head of households with children lived below the federal poverty threshold in 2018, a sharp 10% increase from 2016 and 2017.

While many demographics are impacted, single mothers face unique challenges in obtaining and retaining employment. These include limited transportation and child care choices, financial barriers, and lack of integration between service programs and employer policies and practices. Employee-focused service delivery and employer cultural change can help single mothers attain economic stability and realize their full potential for themselves and their children.


  • The team will take the Working Bridges approach and deliver services at the place of employment. This involves using a navigator who works with employees and also focuses on employer policy and practice changes.
  • The team will build out the Agency of Human Service’s Children’s Integrated Services model to provide wrap around services and turn every organization’s case manager into a Working Bridges-type navigator. It will also collaborate with financial institutions to build a savings program.


To lower the rate of single female head of households in poverty by 15% in 10 years.

The Team

  • Green Mountain United Way
  • Barre Mayor’s Office
  • Community Economic Development, Capstone Community Action
  • Family Center of Washington County
  • Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice
  • Central Vermont Medical Center
  • Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation
  • Barre Area Development, Inc.
  • Community College of Vermont
  • Central Vermont Adult Basic Education
  • Vermont Agency of Transportation
  • Barre Partnership