The Work Force, an initiative of the Cambridge Housing Authority, is a comprehensive life-skills and vocational training program for low-income youth who live in Cambridge public housing. Winner of numerous national awards in program innovation, the Work Force provides participants with sustained networks of learning and support which begin in the eighth grade and continue through their senior year in high school. Since its inception in 1984, the Work Force has provided CHA youth with rich, multi-dimensional opportunities to flourish personally and professionally. Our mission is to break the cycle of generational poverty that often consigns low-income youth to lives of economic and educational disadvantage.
In keeping with this comprehensive goal, the Work Force's initiatives are driven by long-term investment rather than quick-fix solutions. Our program employs a highly structured "whole person" approach that is unique in both its manner and duration of support: not only is the Work Force more comprehensive than conventional teen programs, but we enroll youth at a younger age and work with them for a longer period of time. We believe that broad-based support and training in each of the central developmental areas of a student's life—home, school, and work—are critical to his or her long-term success. Program staff maintains a regular presence in the schools and at our students' job sites, forming partnerships among parents, teachers, employers, and other key people in our participants' lives. Perhaps most importantly, the program's on-site location in three CHA developments allows staff to achieve a unique level of accessibility and credibility with participants and their families. Weaving these diverse voices into the daily fabric of our program helps us to sustain the tapestry of support that is critical to each participant's personal and professional growth.
Location: Jefferson Park, Roosevelt Towers & 119 Windsor Street, Cambridge, MA
Visit the Work Force website