Where is Charlotte today with economic mobility?

Updated: Mar. 26, 2019 at 4:30 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Leading on Opportunity is celebrating progress after Charlotte was ranked dead last in an economic mobility study. A Harvard report shows people who are born in poverty in Charlotte struggle to escape it. Since the report there have been recommendations made to improve life for many.

“We are really proud of where we are today, but we also know that there is a lot of work ahead," Leading On Opportunity Executive Director Stephanie Cooper-Lewter said. "We wanted to pause at the two year and celebrate community and then also call new people to the table and get engage and become a part of the movement.”

People showed up at Bank of America at Founders Hall to say job well done to companies who have committed to make economic mobility happen. Charlotte Works was one of the companies honored.

“We are really meeting our job seekers where they are and really building them up and empowering them with resources,” said Jeremy Wilson with Charlotte Works.

Since the report two years ago, leaders say progress has been made. It included more disadvantaged kids are now enrolled in Universal PreK to get a leg up on their education. It was determined education was key to fight poverty. Also more affordable housing is on the way because of the recent $50 million bond referendum that was passed that will strictly go toward building affordable housing.

Also more Charlotte-Mecklenburg School students are taking new career and technical education programs that help prepare them for the future and also local agencies are now investing millions into the effort.

"The biggest challenge is that this work is generational," Cooper-Lewter said. "And to move us from 50 to one is going to take multiple years."

Charlotte Works says it wants to do more to reach people especially those who are in need of a second chance.

"We are really trying to step outside the box and really go deeper into the community," Wilson said. "We have a partnership with the sheriff's office. We are really working with them on the offenders who are being released and so those individuals who are receiving services while incarcerated so once they are released - the ball is already rolling for them and they are moving forward to economic mobility."

At the end of the event there was a call to action. Leading on Opportunity is asking the community to connect, commit and empower opportunity for all.

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