Job opportunity: small business outreach & technical assistance coordinator

Via New Bedford’s Community Economic Development Center:

“The Community Economic Development Center (CEDC), a non-profit orgainization, is seeking an energetic and dynamic person to coordinate activities that support and promote small businesses along Acushnet Ave. in the North End of the City of New Bedford.  Acushnet Ave. is a vibrant and diverse commercial district that is undergoing redesign and redevelopment. The Outreach and Technical Assistance Coordinator will engage local businesses in efforts to promote and the support joint activities to build a unified vision and voice for small businesses in the district. The coordinator will also provide individual technical assistance to these businesses.


  • Bilingual- Portuguese or Spanish
  • Creative and outgoing
  • A self-starter
  • Community-minded /volunteer or organizational experience
  • Small business experience
  • Ability to multi-task, manage several projects at once
  • Strong marketing experience, including social media
  • Strong computer skills, including MS Office
  • Public speaking skills
  • Comfortable working with  people from diverse ethnic groups


Ongoing and frequent outreach to local businesses.

Convene regular meetings with merchants to identify issues and common projects.

Work one on one with businesses to secure permits and licenses and give guidance and referral on business development and technology issues.

Collect data for reporting and outcomes evaluation.

Manage a multi-media marketing campaign to promote Acushnet Ave. businesses.


This is a part-time position, 15- 20 hour a week. Some nights and weekend hours may be required. To apply, send a cover letter and resume by June 15, 2013 to

For more information about this position contact Corinn Williams (508) 979-4684.”

Niagara Falls Again

Robert Golder, Graduate Research Asst., Urban Initiative

Last year I wrote about an innovative plan by Seth A. Piccirillo, community development director for the struggling City of Niagara Falls, to lure some of the best and brightest college graduates in the country by offering to pay their student loans if they became city residents and participated in the city’s revitalization for, at minimum, a period of two years. The highest priority was to be given to those who bought a home and actively engaged with the community. The hope was that these “urban pioneers” would start new businesses and provide the spark needed to get Niagara Falls growing again.

I was intrigued by this positive and unusual incentive project when I first heard about it, but its implementation has not measured up to expectations. The plan called for selection of an initial group of twenty candidates but, in April 2013, only the first five successful candidates were announced, including an artist from Buffalo which, if you drive south along Route 190, is less than twenty miles away from Niagara Falls. A second person will move to the city from Lockport, NY (where she grew up, only twenty miles to the east of Niagara Falls) to pursue a masters degree in Canadian studies in a program run jointly by the University of Buffalo and Brock University in Ontario, Canada. This is all well and good but, by dividing one’s time between Buffalo and Brock, how much time will be left for revitalizing Niagara Falls as an actively-engaged, job-creating urban pioneer? Neither candidate seems likely to bring a unique vision or a new sense of purpose to the city.

Niagara Falls, which boasted a New Bedford-size population of about 100,000 in 1950, is now officially the home of only 50,106 residents, and is desperate to stay above the 50,000 population mark – the cutoff point for community development block grant entitlement funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Even if twenty new residents are attracted by the student loan program, there are about 600 city-owned vacant lots in Niagara Falls. The city is currently trying to attract owner-neighbors to purchase them, with deals as low as $500.

The loss of HUD money would be devastating for Niagara Falls. Unfortunately, there are plenty of other ways for the city to lose access to its needed funds. The city budget relies on $7 million paid annually from the Seneca Nation’s casino gaming revenues. Currently the city is owed a total of $60 million, which has not been paid due to a dispute between the Seneca Nation and the state over the degree of exclusivity that Indian casinos should enjoy. The crisis has led to Moody’s dropping the city’s credit rating twice in the past five months, from A2 to Baa1, and then to Baa3. Borrowing to fund essential services (never mind innovative programs) will now cost much more.

Women’s Fund hiring LifeWork coordinator

In our monthly project updates we’ve written about the Women Fund of Southeastern MA’s LifeWork program, an innovative model designed to enhance education, financial, and career outcomes for New Bedford women. The Urban Initiative is supporting LifeWork by designing and coordinating evaluation activities to ensure that key benchmarks are met and that participants are on track to reach program goals. And you can have the unique opportunity to support LifeWork too: the Women’s Fund is currently seeking a Program Coordinator! Here’s the full job description:

LifeWork Project Coordinator for three year pilot program

The LifeWork Project (LWP) is an innovative three-year pilot program initiated by the Women’s Fund of Southeastern Massachusetts to be carried out by a community collaborative of service providers managed by the LifeWork Project Coordinator. Designed to assist up to 130 women to reach their goals of education, career mobility, and economic independence, the program combines participant-driven supportive services and coaching, mentoring, and cash incentives to lead families to obtaining self-sufficient wages and assets.

The Coordinator provides support to LWP participants in their journey toward self-sufficiency. Coordinator activities include, but are not limited to: outreach and recruitment; assisting with goal setting; coaching in self-sufficiency skills; referral to community partners; maintaining community partnership; data management and reporting; and the delivery of services consistent with program objectives and standards.

EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: Master’s degree in a human-services related field preferred and two years of full-time, or equivalent part-time, professional experience in social services and/or project management, or some other equivalent combination of education and work experience.

HOURS AND PAY SCALE a. 24 Hours per week to start with possibility of increase in year two; b. Pay range is $20 $24 per hour

TO APPLY: Email to: Kfentress@ Or mail to: Kate Fentress, ED Women’s Fund, 63 Union Street, New Bedford, MA 02740

Job opportunities

A handful of local job postings have come our way in recent days, so here’s a synopsis of what’s out there if you or someone you know is looking:

1) Community organizer – United Interfaith Action, New Bedford/Fall River, MA

This is a full-time post that will involve working with congregations and leaders in both cities on campaigns related to issues like immigration reform, economic justice, civic engagement, and parent organizing. Read the full description here.

2) Family support advocate – Kennedy Donovan Center, New Bedford, MA

The Family Support Advocate provides services and service coordination for families and their children that support healthy outcomes and prevent child abuse and neglect, utilizing a team-based approach. This is a full-time position requiring a high school diploma and some travel. Bilingual applicants encouraged to apply. Read the full post here.

3) Park interpreter – Schooner Ernestina (via MA Department of Conservation and Recreation), New Bedford, MA

This full-time summer job involves introducing visitors to New Bedford’s Schooner Ernestina. Apply by May 7; instructions and details here.

May project update

We began posting in our blog a monthly project update in April to give readers a better sense of what we do on a daily basis. Here’s what May has us working on:

1) The SouthCoast Urban Indicators Project (SCUIP)

  • Pages on Brownfields and walkability are now live.
  • On May 9, we’ll announce winners of our photo contest at 6p at New Bedford’s Celtic Coffee House. After the event, you’ll see many of these great images bringing our topics to life.
  • Stay tuned for new data on open space and recreation, the next page to be released.

2) Taunton HOPE VI evaluation

  • Bob Golder is wrapping up interviews with English-speaking HOPE VI residents, and UMass Dartmouth Foreign Language Department faculty member Sandra Rivera is gearing up to begin conducting a handful of interviews in Spanish.
  • We have two focus groups lined up for May: one on health and wellness needs, and the other on early childhood education and care.

3) Civic infrastructure survey project

  • We’re in the process of penning a piece on civic infrastructure for the UMass Donahue Institute’s journal, Mass Benchmarks.
  • The next brief to be released will be on nonprofits in Fall River and New Bedford.

4) Sustainable cities

  • Our final event is on Thursday, May 9. It will feature keynote speaker Catherine Tumber (author of Small, Gritty, and Green.) She will be speaking at New Bedford’s Celtic Coffee House at 6p.

5) College access

  • We’re in the midst of seeking funding to help offset the costs of conducting this project.
  • We already have three high school students lined up as summer interns, and we may even host interns through UMass Dartmouth’s Upward Bound program!

6) LifeWork Project

  • The Urban Initiative recently completed a logic model to reflect the theory of this program, which is that LifeWork will translate to improved education, employment, and financial outcomes for its participants.
  • Selecting appropriate participants is critical to the success of this program, so the UI helped project partners develop a rubric with which to score applicants across measures like education, housing, transportation, and health to ensure that these factors won’t inhibit a woman’s ability to succeed.

7) Health planning dashboard

  • The Urban Initiative and the Center for Policy Analysis have been asked by area health providers and advocacy groups to developed a web-based resource for sharing and accessing public health data for the SouthCoast. The site will likely borrow some features from SCUIP, and it will also offer an array of resources that will be aimed at helping build the capacity of SouthCoast organizations.