POVERTY THOUGHT FORCE WORLD CAFÉ ON Jobs & Workforce development

Policy Ideas Generated

Question 1: How might we create more living-wage jobs in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County?

1.  One of the things would be understand the industries we have here and be able to train folks to fit the industries that we have

○   We don’t have a lot of forces or certifications beyond graduate level of people

○   See if the community colleges offer classes that match up with the industries that we offer

2.   Change the culture in our communities- a lot of jobs out there but we need to be able to get the people into community colleges and make people understand that we have resources, great community colleges- there is a lot of opportunity for partnership and growth and we need to expose those resources

3.   Is there something out there where you can get something if you lose something?

○   Here in town, goodwill has the prosperity center

4.   First thing you have to do is get employers to come to the area that are willing to pay more money

5.   One of the things that Forsyth Tech is doing is that they are working on the college symposium- market to those companies that are in our area to come and tell those students to why do we stay here as a college student, versus going some place else- when Wake Forest students graduate from Winston Salem, a lot of them aren’t saying there

6.   Most of the jobs today are in service sector and a lot of them are low wage jobs- those jobs need to be living wages and they’re not

7.   Prepare students to go to college

8.   Minimum wage needs to meet basic cost of living

9.   Welfare trap- the solution is to phase out the benefits incrementally

10.  Program that does financial literacy- find that even if we are living below the poverty level, if you are taught to budget, you can still pay your bills

11.  In general, the local school system should so what they can outside for the curriculum to help people who aren’t choosing the college track

12.  We need to create household where there is adequate provision and protection.

13.   Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour

14.   Legalize marijuana, creation of factory jobs through marijuana production

15.   Textile and Furniture jobs, try to bring them back

16.   Creation of industries that “DO NOT” need college degree… labor, trade, skill jobs

○   Break the stigma of those jobs!

17.   Creation and equipment of entrepreneurial efforts, how can we get citizens the resources and access to the ability to development of their own business

○   Resources should as job-readiness, and grant services that allow citizens the foundational resources to get the things needed for job

○   Create classes that teach entrepreneurial skills

18.  Allocation of city money to local citizens, and jobs should be given to local citizens and recruitment for these jobs should start here, instead of outside employers.

19.  Urban Farm School, brings participants underemployed and unemployed to a 9-week job training program—accepts anyone, including those with record (don’t check)

20.  Bring back the honor to trade, labor, and skill jobs.

21.  Finance Academy, helps high school students find internships

22.  Get businesses to pool resources and invest in career, post-high school programs to fulfill their own labor needs

23.  Winston-Salem Airport, get them to open a major air travel port to provide more living-wage jobs

24.  Change at the high school level, create “Hands-on” job-education curriculum in the community

25.  We need to create education programs that challenge parents to tell their children that skill-based jobs are GOOD/ACCEPTABLE

26.  Attract local investors/foreign investors to bring their business to Winston-Salem

○   Renovate existing empty spaces and buildings to reinvigorate areas in Forsyth county

27.  Create incentives

○   Incentivize businesses to hire a certain number of local citizens as employees, and let the city underwrite that for 18 months or so

28.  Leverage buying power

○   Governmental and consumer refrain from doing giving business to companies that do not offer their employees a living wage

29.   Set long term goals for Winston-Salem using Asheville model. Inviting and encouraging for business and travel, low business taxes, low licensing fees.

30.   Address the trending inequality in which more money goes to investing in capital rather than labor

31.   Replicate Asheville’s living wage campaign

32.   Encourage labor unions

33.   Create a network of angel investors concentrated on investing in opening small businesses


Question 2:  How to overcome primary barriers to employment, such as felony record, ageism, racism, sexism, unpredictable schedules for low-wage workers, and others?


1.    Teach people how to sell themselves, teach them to talk about what they have learned from their mistake

2.    Teach people to focusing on their skills that can overshadow the felony

3.    Employers need to be educated on the laws requiring or not requiring background checks

4.    Let candidates know they can have their records sealed

5.    It is hard for older people to apply online so create a program to help them

6.    Teach people to not give up because of a circumstances they cannot change.

7.    Motivate people to apply to jobs they are qualified for

8.    Community needs to provide more transportation for people with unpredictable work schedule

9.      Racism and sexism should be illegal, if we could legalize unions we would be able to turn around the conversation to put the problem on the society

10.  If you had a group that could oversee applications and the process, some of these issues and prejudices would go away

11.  Create demographic targets and if companies meet the targets they get benefits (use Wake Forest as a sample employer to show other companies how it works)

12.  Offer classes that go in hand with work experience, job training and other alternative types of education

13.  When you work for schools you get laid off during the summer, use flex schedule to address unpredictable work schedule (work in different parts of Aramark during the summer when wake is closed)

14.  Create a program that works on soft skills like how to interview

15.  Language barriers even with people with skills, communication is a part of any job

16.  Work on paid maternity leave to reduce sexism when looking for a job

17.  Work on child care availability

18.  Lower to costs of daycare to allow single mothers to get jobs

19.  Second chance employment, Ban the Box

20.  Member of table had the idea of creating a non-profit to help prison workers and

abused animals

21.  Rehabilitation program for abused dogs and employ ex inmates

22.  Found some barriers to be a nonprofit in NC

23.  Create a program consisting of the merit system so the community can see your

improvement and growth

24.  Market jobs towards populations that are not currently represented in the work


25.  Disincentive to get job by benefit cliff issue

26.  Create a clearing house or ad hock group so to speak that could pool together all the

people listed in the question and corporations hire from there

27.  People in corporations don’t know anything about poverty and the statistics

28.  Create an incentive for business owners to hire from that pool

29.  Create a core group to engage corporations and share information that the

county is working towards

30.  Incubation center for start up companies that assist them in fair and equal


31.  Many existing organization want to collaborate with other community organizations

to help solve the problems facing the city

32.  An expungement clinic designed to clear records as well as Ban-The-Box so qualified applicants can get the opportunities for interviews they deserve.

33.  Change the incentives and the risks from the perceptions of the companies.  A voucher system for hiring incarcerated persons and an updated and truthful analysis of their record

34.  Statistics of unemployment show disparity between racial barriers.  This is tied to criminal justices such as drug charges.  Winston-Salem should address this.  There also needs to be an access to information after job training.  Local government must provide jobs that lead somewhere.

35.  Do not rely too much on old policies.  There needs to be a platform of entrepreneurship.  Maybe provide subsidies for hiring someone from that platform.  Other employers will see that and take note

36.  Better connections between public schools and employers is crucial for those who did not go to college.

37.  Offer training on technology.  If you don’t have a home computer, you have to go to a library to apply online.  Raise awareness of public computer locations.  Basic skill set of technology training.  Get people to take advantage of free computer training classes.  Computers are necessary in today’s workforce.  Retrain older people above fifty. 


Question 3: How to expand access to job training/skills programs, enabling more low-income individuals to secure steady work? 

1.      Goodwill needs to do more-play a role

2.      Partner with other area organizations

3.      Could they provide free bus passess

4.      Advertising has been a real issue

5.      Increase and improve modes of communications

6.      We should create more partnerships between companies and entities like goodwill

7.      Government could sponsor programs for students and teens

8.      Update the curriculum in our schools. It is currently dated and not preparing students for the modern workforce. Look at Houston as a model: start in 8th

9.      Schools should help student align interests with careers

10.  Childcare is an issue-provide free childcare for workforce training

11.  Transportation is a central issue-busses don’t run enough

12.  City could provide bus passes free of charge for certain employees to get to training and work

13.  Dow age study (in specific types of jobs)

14.  childcare providers make $9/hour

○   Families who get scholarship for childcare still have to pay (1/4 of 7.25 hourly wage)

○   More than likely can't afford on their own

15.  ESL training programs for immigrant training because that is significant portion of labor force

○   Are survival skills enough to do the job? Do you have to speak English perfectly?

○   Great minds could work in computers, spreadsheets, etc. where certain skill are required but don’t need to be

16.  Local colleges should emphasize internships and pair the liberal arts with career services

17.  Small businesses and large corps

18.  Employers could return to do on the job training. Many people come to a job without the proper training- even those who graduated with a degree from areas institutions 

19.  These are problems that have defied solutions for 40 years: how do we connect supply and demand across a diversified economy

20.  Build affordable housing near public transit so that workers can get to job training and future jobs

21.  Quick-start businesses

22.   Entrepreneurship should be encouraged, and be a focus of regional development

23.  Give the power to the people, give them the skills to start businesses and earn a living

24.  Apprenticeships are critical

25.  Alamance county trained graduates specifically for one company and they came because of that

26.  We could replicate to attract major employer

27.  Forsyth Futures needs to be an integral part of every HR department in the county

28.  Crime records should not be a detractor from programs

29.  Government should consider sponsoring a program where computers are provided in the home free of charge

30.  This eliminates many issues

31.  Look at Urban Farm School as a model

32.  Once students complete training, send them home with list of potential employers

33.  Equip students with the skills that they can use and find jobs here first.

34.  For entrepreneurs: We need more access to capital for those in the community who are from low income, high poverty areas

35.  We can’t use entrepreneurship as base for economy if only the educated and wealthy have access to capital

36.  Public-private partnerships are critical in this effort