The U.S. President may be the commander-in-chief of the world’s best military and the leader of the country’s political system, but the Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank (The Fed) holds the keys to the world economy – and she’s coming to Chelsea today, Oct. 16.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will visit CONNECT, a consortium of local organizations in Chelsea’s The Neighborhood Developers (TND) headquarters on Gerrish Avenue. CONNECT works collaboratively to provide integrated employment services for local residents related to economic instability, housing, and financial and educational opportunities.
Chair Yellen will tour the facility and meet with consortium leaders and local residents. She will hear about conditions in the local economy and the community and how programs like CONNECT are making a difference for residents who are trying to enter or re-enter the workforce.
TND Director Ann Houston said the visit by Yellen is probably the biggest event in her organization’s history.
“It’s an incredible honor and speaks volumes about the fact she deeply cares about the lives of ordinary people,” said Houston on Wednesday morning. “I don’t know who else has set aside this sort of time to come out and spend time talking with clients of CONNECT. She wants to talk to people in the program and learn from us about the Working Cities Challenge. It shows she’s not just concerned about how the economy works for big corporations, and that is certainly important, but clearly, though, she’s also interested in how that trickles down to regular citizens’ lives.”
City Manager Jay Ash said he’s excited to show off that corner of the City to Chair Yellen.
“I’m very excited about Chair Yellen’s visit to Chelsea because it will allow us to spotlight our combined work at CONNECT, the TND led partnership of six organizations that are combining services under one roof to help residents prosper,” said City Manager Jay Ash. “CONNECT is a central part of our Working Cities Challenge initiative. The Working Cities Challenge is the brainchild of the Boston Fed and a significant contributor to the already strong Chelsea collaboration raising our collective efforts to better address prosperity, quality of life and physical conditions specifically in the Shurtleff-Bellingham neighborhood and generally throughout Chelsea. We’re very fortunate to have a great relationship the Fed, and I’ll be saying so to Chair Yellen. In some respects, Chair Yellen’s visit is consistent with what I’ve been telling our local partners since we’ve were designated a WCC community; that being that the eyes of the entire country are on Chelsea, and for all the right reasons.”
One of the main reasons that Yellen was clued into things happening in Chelsea is the City’s successful competition in the Boston Fed’s Working Cities Challenge. That grant program called on several small to mid-sized cities to showcase how they solved problems together within their community.
Chelsea emerged as one of the winners, and was uniformly praised by Boston Fed officials for collaborative work between municipal government and organizations like TND.
“There is deep research, some done by the Fed, that helps us make real change – significant change,” said Houston. “It’s easy to go down a path that doesn’t yield good results. The Fed has done a lot of research that has informed us about successful transformation to small and mid-sized cities.”
Yellen will arrive around 12:30 p.m. Oct. 16 and will tour the facility and talk to participants and community leaders. The event comes with a high-level of security and will not be accessible to the general public.