Giving Compass’ Take:
• Stanford Social Innovation Review discusses the role communities play in economic development and why they shouldn’t wait for external forces to bridge local opportunity divides.
• How can nonprofits and foundations engaged in employment programs engage with local leaders more closely? In what ways will we be able to make sure that prosperity reaches everyone?
In past economic booms, sweeping federal action took aim at ensuring that the fruits of prosperity would be widespread, beyond mere redistribution of income; the GI Bill and elements of the New Deal, for example, devoted federal government resources to ensuring that a broad range of workers got a share of the economic pie. But the current era of federal restraint seems unlikely to yield grand policy breakthroughs shaping equitable growth. And structural changes—including globalization, automation, shifting labor markets, and a yawning skills gap—stand in the way of macroeconomic progress capable of transforming opportunity at the neighborhood level.
Equitable growth is therefore less likely to occur as a result of a far-reaching strategy than as the product of tactical expertise and sustained commitment among business and civic actors. It is therefore prudent for us to ground inclusive growth efforts locally, where webs of trusted partnerships and working relationships are established.
A new era of local action need not diminish aspirations. At our West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, program graduates who had been unemployed an average of 54 weeks have now earned — in the aggregate — more than $14 million in wages, typically in jobs that offer full benefits and advancement possibilities. Last year, 95 percent of graduates found employment, with most retaining their jobs far longer than the average hire.
Read the full article about inclusive prosperity and local action by Matt Bergheiser at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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