Economic Opportunity and Jobs Circle
In metropolitan Atlanta, equity combined with economic opportunity is central to the long-term viability of the region. The 2008 downturn exacerbated widespread inequity as it relates to job creation, wealth building, and fiscal policy. Employers are still slow to hire, banks remain unwilling to lend, and overburdened families continue to lose ground, even with public stimulus dollars and fiscal reform in the lending community. Atlanta's residents are often impacted by the major job and housing imbalances. Further complicating the ability to create wealth opportunities are transportation policies that encourage slower commutes or provides limited public transit alternatives for families that need it most. In some counties in the metro area, over 75% of residents making $35,000 or less are spending over 30% or more of their income on housing while 100% of these same residents are spending 18% or more on transportation costs. These barriers and others create an "opportunity tax" for many low-wealth workers and employers who are forced to manage the negative externalities caused by unbalanced growth.
Promoting economic opportunity for all Atlanta residents is an essential part of the Partnership for Southern Equity's ("PSE") regional equity activities. PSE represents an organized group of key regional economic development leaders representing the private, non-profit and government sectors. This committed group, called the Economic Opportunity and Jobs Circle ("EOJC"), is exploring sustainable strategies and solutions for equitable economic opportunities for individuals and their families. The EOJC, with the support of PSE volunteer staff, is developing a set of strategies, when achieved, will create a regional "Continuum of Economic Opportunity" for low-wealth talent and potential employers. These strategies draw on the power and potential of collaboration between EOJC members by leveraging their individual areas of interest and expertise for collective impact. By viewing the need and potential for impact as a "continuum" EOJC efforts will promote a more efficient coordination of supply and demand needs in metro Atlanta. Additionally, the EOJC is garnering support for a regional communication strategy to promote the notion of shared prosperity, green jobs and regional comparativeness via its "Continuum" concept.