CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Urban League of Central Carolinas Teddy McDaniel is weighing in on economic mobility in Charlotte.
He has been in Charlotte for two years and has noticed what’s working and what’s not working.
“I think the efforts are good now and becoming more coordinated,” McDaniel said. “It’s a part of the issue - just two years in Charlotte, but everything is siloed - like people have their stuff - you have to do things in collaborative fashion and you have to be listening to other folks and for those like-minded and have the same thing. Why aren’t we working on this together - that collective impact model has to come into place and I am starting to see it - started to see it in some areas.”
McDaniel says when he arrived in Charlotte to run the Urban League - the economic mobility conversation was already happening. The one thing he says was missing was having the right people involved in the conversation.
“There was a committee and we didn’t have a seat,” McDaniel said. “That doesn’t mean we weren’t involved - cause if you do the work that we do everyday - you are involved and so we’ve done a lot in helping people get good jobs and training and all that type of stuff. And we continue to do that, but we are just going to have to do more...I think doors are opening up. I think that we are at a lot of tables now and continue to be asked how are you going to lead on this - how are you going to have that voice.”
McDaniel admits living and accomplishing the American Dream in Charlotte can be challenging.
“It’s really tough for people out there,” McDaniel said. “Despite all the prosperity in certain areas - a lot of them have lost hope. It’s tough - we have to give them hope. We have to say hey yes - you can and yes you are going to and here’s the plan... They’ve been beaten down. They have all these barriers - kids, multiple jobs - all this stuff. So our biggest thing is we’re not going to give you anything...it’s a hand up. You are going to get out of this what you put into it and when the self esteem comes back it’s hey - I can and I will.”
McDaniel is excited about the Urban League’s work to help address economic mobility.
“We have to be laser focused in helping target populations reach their full potential,” McDaniel said. “So let’s go back to Lead on Opportunity and those that are at the low trying to get them out. We got a couple new programs coming - one is Medical Coding. We’re pretty excited about that. In August, we will start this medical coding program and you got big employers here - like Atrium and Novant - the healthcare industry is vast.”
Watch WBTV’s Community Conversation: American Dream vs Charlotte’s Reality on Wednesday July 24 at 7 p.m. on WBTV.
It will be an hour-long program talking to real people and talking solutions to help make economic mobility happen for all in Mecklenburg County.