System Change and Justice, letter from Charlotte Works President/CEO

November 30, 2016 |

PatrickGrahamDear Community,

As many of us waited in anticipation in the case against Officer Bradley Vinson, the reminders of protests related to the shooting of Keith Scott looms in our minds. Most important, many of us imagine the social and economic disparities that lead to mistrust no matter our desires for justice. As today is a difficult moment in our community, I give more attention to the ways that disparities play a role in the struggle of our lives and mortality. We must have system changes in various sectors of our city to give communities and ourselves a chance to prosper and compete in this evolving world.

In my new role as President and CEO of Charlotte Works, today I visited one of our career centers for employment and unemployment services. I spoke to formerly employed people trying to make sense of their new conditions and employees trying desperately to guide them through a system that is not always friendly to those who fall on hard times. More than 200 people visit our centers daily seeking another opportunity. On average, many of these individuals have run out of unemployment assistance because benefits only last 13 weeks, despite that it takes the average person 26 weeks to find employment. Furthermore, the average person is only receiving $240 per week ($350 maximum) during that 13-week period, no matter what they earned or how much they have paid in taxes. Many lose their homes, cars and hope to give their children and families the ability to live with dignity. This is unacceptable.

Approximately 70 percent of people receiving direct career-training services with Charlotte Works through NCWorks Career Centers are placed into employment. Thirty percent of them live below the poverty line. More than 33,000 people enter our facilities each year to receive some employment-related service. However, the need overshadows our capacity. We need to reach deeper into our schools and create new opportunity zones within our city and county for neighborhoods that lack tangible economic development. We need young protesters to be assured they have a place of education and training that will lead to the new employees and entrepreneurs of our mutual future.

We will create Workforce System change and partner with other sectors (Economic Development, Education, Housing, Industry, Transportation, Human Service, Community-Based Organizations, Faith, Government, etc.) to foster opportunity and not division. This is the promise of Charlotte Works.

Be strategic, spiritual and change systems together,

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