PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge Elorza announced that Courtney Hawkins will serve
as the City of Providence’s Chief Policy Officer. In addition to overseeing
Providence Talks, she will oversee the city’s sustainability program, Healthy
Communities Office, workforce development programs, partnerships, education policy
and serve as senior advisor to the mayor.
«Courtney is a proven leader who has dedicated her career to helping non-profits and
governments provide services that build strong neighborhoods and communities,» said
Mayor Elorza. «Courtney and her team have led a turnaround of Providence Talks and I
am excited for her to play a greater role in my administration and in programs that
matter to residents.»
A Rhode Island native, Hawkins, has served as Executive Director of Providence
Talks, a first of its kind early childhood intervention program designed to close
the ‘thirty million word gap’ on a citywide scale, since May 2015. She previously
served as Senior Vice-President at FEGS Health & Human Services, a New York City
based human services agency, where she oversaw programs serving more than 25,000
people annually in the areas of youth development, education, foster care, welfare
to work, workforce development and immigration assistance.
Hawkins received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Columbia University after
graduating from the University of Rhode Island. She brings extensive experience in
the implementation of high quality programs for youth and families while working
with major partners and stakeholders.
Caitlin Molina will succeed Hawkins as Executive Director of Providence Talks, an
innovative program which aims to improve early education outcomes for low income
children through the use of innovative technology and high quality parent coaching.
Molina has served as Deputy Executive Director of Providence Talks since 2014,
during which time the program has experienced significant growth and has now
graduated more than 100 families. During this time Molina has led the program’s
approach to curriculum development, quality improvement and the development and
roll-out of new models. In addition to the oversight of the day to day operations
for the program, she has led the technical assistance and training during the
program’s expansion to include 6 agencies and more than 20 staff. Molina previously
worked for Meeting Street as an Early Intervention Educator and taught 7th grade
math at Gilbert Stuart Middle School while serving with AmeriCorps. She has a degree
in early childhood education.
Providence was the grand prize winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ inaugural Mayors
Challenge and received $5 million to implement Providence Talks. The Mayors
Challenge is an ideas competition that encourages cities to generate innovative
ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life – and that have the
potential to spread to other cities.