Chesterfield receives $35k grant to increase opportunity and economic mobility for residents

Chesterfield County
Chesterfield County(Chesterfield County)
Published: Apr. 9, 2023 at 3:12 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Chesterfield County has become one of the ten national localities selected to participate in a program geared toward increasing upward mobility and economic opportunity within U.S. communities.

Economic mobility can be defined as the upward or downward progression of a person’s economic or social status throughout their lifetime and across generations.

As a part of the International City/County Management Association’s (ICMA) new Economic Mobility and Opportunity Cohort, Chesterfield County is set to receive a $35,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Economic Mobility and Opportunity (EMO) program.

I.C.M.A. believes local governments are in a position to implement changes and create conditions that allow economic advancement for their residents. The goals of the EMO program include helping local leaders understand the causes and barriers to mobility and opportunities within the community to increase economic mobility.

“We are honored that Chesterfield was selected to participate in this important work,” said Dr. James Worsley, deputy county administrator for human services. “While Chesterfield is a thriving community, we have a significant number of economically vulnerable residents who are being profoundly impacted by the rising cost of housing, food and other household necessities. We look forward to using the grant funding to provide tools and resources that will help them meaningfully improve their current circumstances.”

Chesterfield plans to use various methods to assist community members, such as workshops, financial literacy programs, workforce development, housing programs, childcare and language services for residents who speak languages other than English.

Access Chesterfield, a mobility program that serves low-income, elderly and disabled residents, will provide free transportation to all qualified individuals participating in EMO workshops and programs.

“With a historically tight labor market, many employers across the county and the Richmond region remain unable to fill good-paying jobs – and our success in attracting economic development projects means more of those opportunities are on the way,” said Kevin Carroll, chair of the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors. “One of the best ways we as a local government can move the needle for the security, health and overall wellbeing of our residents is by helping them obtain stable, high-quality employment.”

Chesterfield County will also collaborate with the private sector and higher education on workforce development programs to assist residents in gaining the skills and certifications needed to secure high-salaried positions.