by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Our Joe Coletti writes there are better ways to address economic mobility than those currently being considered in Charlotte.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force diagnosed some of the right problems—the impact of segregation, the need for social capital, the importance of family stability, early childhood, education, and work—but largely relabeled old solutions as “systemic and structural change.” It seeks ways to build systems that overcome barriers instead of removing barriers and dismantling systems that reinforce them.
Meaningful work is the surest way to advance economically and have a sense of contributing to the community. The report mentions in passing that “many people…do not feel valued and respected. In the words of some residents, they feel as though their ability to contribute to the future of the community is not seriously considered.” Sustainable community development starts with the assets already present. For example, the Hiring Well, Doing Goodinitiative in Atlanta highlights and inspires businesses that hire workers who would otherwise struggle to find work.