Mayor Jorge Elorza
As Providence’s 38th Mayor, Jorge O. Elorza has worked tirelessly to build a Providence that works for every resident and business. Since first taking office in January 2015, Mayor Elorza has prioritized supporting and investing in the source of the capital city’s strength and vibrancy – its people and neighborhoods. To make Providence the top mid-size city in the country Mayor Elorza has promoted innovative and efficient city government, expanded educational and economic opportunities to prepare residents of all ages for a 21st century economy, advanced sustainable development and growth that is equitable and inclusive and stabilized city finances through responsible and transparent leadership. Now in his second term, Mayor Elorza looks to build upon past successes to continue to develop a high quality of life and space that benefits all residents throughout Providence’s 25 thriving communities.
Mayor Elorza has been a champion for youth and education. He has pushed the envelope to provide all Providence Public Schools students with learning experiences that prepare them for success in the classroom and beyond while investing in year-long learning opportunities and increased cradle-to-career supports. With the “All In” education initiative, Mayor Elorza ensured the voices of community members are centered in education priorities and committed to investing up to $400 million over 10-years to improve school facilities after decades of deferred maintenance. With his eyes set on closing the achievement gap, Providence’s Eat, Play, Learn summer initiative launched in 2017 is recognized nationally for tackling summer learning loss by encouraging youth to participate in enriching and engaging and recreational, educational, occupational programming. This includes the City’s free summer meals, summer learning programs, “One Providence for Youth” employment and advanced paid internships, and $5 weekly summer recreation camps.
Providence is also helping adults access workforce development resources to build critical skills to succeed with the changing demands of an ever-evolving economy. The City has work to provide training and support, particularly for those unemployed or underemployed, to connect them to employment pipelines or prepare them to launch their own businesses. The City also supports some of its most vulnerable residents through investments in Amos House’s “A Hand Up” program, which has offered daily work opportunities to hundreds of people experiencing homelessness. Through the Providence Business Loan Fund (PBLF) Providence helps existing businesses scale, promoting economic dynamism and productivity. Over the last three years, the PBLF has issued nearly $2 million in loans to help local businesses expand and create new employment opportunities.
Through Mayor Elorza’s leadership, city services have become more responsive and accessible for all residents, visitors and entrepreneurs. In early 2016, the Mayor’s Center for City Services launched the PVD311 system for 24/7 access to constituent services. While promoting an innovative and efficient work culture, in 2015 the Department of Innovation was launched to spearhead efforts to make City Hall more user-friendly by leveraging technology and lean systems to improve the delivery of services. As a result, the business license and renewal process has been simplified through a digital platform and the number of forms needed for processing has been condensed – from 44 down to just three. By streamlining processes, providing customer service training and continuously encouraging City staff to look for efficiencies in all transactions, Providence has taken strides in providing high quality city services to all.