The second largest city in New England, Worcester is spread across a series of hills overlooking the Blackstone Valley. Located forty miles west of Boston in the heart of Massachusetts, Worcester has served as a hub for commerce and transportation since revolutionary times. Through the 1800 and 1900s Worcester functioned as a destination for immigrants, a center of innovation, as well as a contributor to social reform and progress in education. In the 1950’s the city’s population peaked at 200,000 and after years of decline the city is rebounding.
There is much in Worcester we celebrate:
Worcester boasts a rich ethnic diversity that is rooted in centuries of immigration and continued shifts of global populations. Twenty percent of the 181,045 residents have been born abroad. Latinos are the largest minority group (20%) followed by blacks (12%) and then asians (7%). The ethnic populations of Worcester have grown significantly over the past ten years, further enriching the life of the city with a greater variety of people reflecting the image of God.
Worcester’s diverse economy draws on manufacturing, education, medicine, service, retail, and distribution, providing stability through economic transition. The city is well positioned for growth through affordable housing, the presence of a skilled workforce and developments in biotech and knowledge based economies. Unemployment has dropped 3.5% since it’s high point a few years ago and ranks below national averages but above that of the state. There are a variety of development efforts underway and in 2012 Worcester was ranked the tenth best city for families by Forbes.
There are nine colleges and universities in Worcester with three more in the surrounding county. These partner as a consortium and with more than 30,000 students, 4,000 faculty and 8,000 staff make a significant impact on the economic, social, and cultural fabric of the city. Eighty percent of these students come from New England and nearly forty percent remain in Worcester county.
In Worcester the diverse cultures, rich history, varied architecture, blended of urban and residential communities, abundance of parks and lakes, and access to the forests and farms of central Massachusetts display a wonderful picture of the beautiful world God has made.