United Way of Northwest Vermont
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Working Bridges

innovation at work

Relationships, Resources and Resilience.

United Way’s Working Bridges is an innovative program designed to improve job retention, stability and advancement by supporting employees and students with community resources. Using the workplace to connect with employees directly, Working Bridges helps working Vermonters to reach stability and thrive while supporting human resource departments, reducing employee turnover, and increasing productivity.

Working Bridges was created at United Way of Northwest Vermont (UWNWVT) and launched in 2007 with three founding employers based in Northwest Vermont: Rhino Foods, University of Vermont Medical Center, and Engleberth Construction. UWNWVT helped launch Working Bridges with Green Mountain United Way in 2016 to serve workplaces in Central Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom.   

Working Bridges – Key Strategies

Resource Coordination

Onsite – Confidential 

Resource Coordinators are certified Community Resource Specialists (CRS) through the Alliance for Information & Referral Sytems (AIRS). They are also financial coaches, and certified Mental Health First Aiders.

Training Resources 

Customizable supervisor/manager training and training coordination (e.g. Working Bridges Concepts) and employee lunch + learns (Bridges Spotlights) are available to employer partners (virtually + in-person). Training needs are identified through conversation with the employer and data from Resource Coordination.

Data + Innovation

Included in partnership with Working Bridges, employer partners are invited to participate in quarterly innovation labs. These convenings support employers in learning about community resources, identifying gaps, and seeking opportunities to try new things by leveraging existing networks, shared resources, funding, and strategies.



Trusted Relationships

The heart of the work. We build and support relationships with employers, employees, and community partners, as a key strategy in community economic development and workforce sustainability.

See Collaboration in action

Meet Blane

Every workday Blane Fonda has a 45-minute commute from Richford to Teknor Apex in St. Albans and picks up a co-worker along the way. Reliable transportation is crucial. So, when his car needed parts he couldn’t afford, Blane asked Connie, his Working Bridges resource coordinator, for help.



Good for Business. Good for Employees. Good for Community.  


Employer benefits: Prevent turnover and reduce absenteeism; improve employee productivity and success at work; support HR departments and supervisors; gain a competitive edge in attracting new employees and retaining great workers by having Working Bridges as an on-site, confidential resource and benefit.  

Employee benefits: Access to resources and trusted relationships at work helps employees overcome life’s challenges without having to miss work or leave their jobs. Working Bridges helps employees reach stability and thrive in the workplace and in their communities.  

Community benefits: Working Bridges engages local employers in creating innovative solutions to address gaps in our social systems and helps them to leverage community partners and existing resources in a way that builds stronger communities.  

Learn more.  


“We know there’s a lot of opportunities for people to move around in manufacturing. So how do we differentiate ourselves? The Working Bridges program was one of our best bets.”

-Eric Ciemniewski
Sr. Director of Manufacturing at Teknor Apex Company


Contact Liz Gamache, lizg@unitedwaynwvt.org or 802-861-7843.

United Way of Northwest Vermont*** August 24, 2023