2016 is shaping up to be a busy year. The first few weeks have seen volatility in world equity markets, and soon we’ll finally see the beginning of the presidential election cycle. We’ve also seen year-end job numbers that seem to defy the global slow-down.
As I look closer to home, l see construction cranes popping up everywhere. New apartments, office building and retail seem to appear overnight. Charlotte seems poised for another banner year of economic growth.
Yet the economic recovery that started more than six years ago has benefited Charlotteans unevenly. Those with higher skill and education levels have done much better those without a post-secondary credential. Couple that with the fact that most of those new apartments being built in Charlotte are priced beyond the means of the majority of workers in entry-level jobs, and you realize that many of our most at-risk neighbors are falling even further behind.
So what can Charlotte do to make sure every resident has equal access and opportunity to the “American Dream?”
- First, we need to double-down on investing in creating career pathways that give students and working adults access to a clear path to careers that lead to long-term prosperity.
- Second, we need more work-experience opportunities for high school students and adults looking to make career changes.
- Third, we need a renewed and sustained effort to create affordable workforce housing options throughout our entire community.
- Finally, we need to continue our investment in mass transit since transportation is often cited as a barrier to employment retention.
There is no one quick-fix to improve economic mobility. Let’s commit to making 2016 a year of change. Let’s take risks, create new community partnerships and invest in new ideas and programs that, taken together, will improve opportunity for all residents.