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BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Dozens of activists lobbied lawmakers Thursday to do more to lift people out of poverty.

More than 30% of Springfield residents earned incomes below the poverty level in 2012 according to the U.S. Census. Low-income families struggle to provide food and shelter for their children in Massachusetts. As these children grow older, many fall into the cycle of poverty.

Advocates are calling on Governor Charlie Baker and state lawmakers to budget $1-million to organizations that provide low-income families with education and job training. They look to tackle poverty by first helping children get an education and providing parents with jobs.

Former Westfield Mayor Rick Sullivan said the program could lift many families out of poverty. “For a family that doesn’t have access, you know, to childcare, particularly sick childcare, and transportation, they become real barriers to entering the workplace, so what we’re trying to do is get over those barriers.”

State lawmakers have also filed a bill that would establish a special commission to study educational approaches for both low-income children and their parents.