Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-20-2011

Abstract

From the Alinsky and Cesar Chavez movements to Roosevelt‟s New Deal, poverty alleviation has long been a goal of governmental and nongovernmental organizations alike. The introductions of welfare, public housing, enterprise zones and food banks have all been developed with the intention of “helping” the low-income population. While some of these programs have provided improvements on housing, hunger and education, other programs have led to a cycle of poverty. Poverty affects individuals and families who lack the ability to provide for the means that are necessary to sustain a healthy and civically engaged life. It is for this purpose that the common and primary goal for community development programs should be improving individual and family wealth. Doing so empowers people to become self-reliant and actively engaged within the community, contributing tangible and intangible benefits. This should not be seen as merely job creation or skills training; it must be more far reaching. People must be given equal opportunities and choices for individual successes in order to become self-reliant, self-determined and self-empowered. This type of workforce development becomes a multi-faceted effort and at times may not look like the traditional “workforce development” program. Instead, decision makers must choose to look through a wide lens to recognize the intricate web that poverty has woven. It is at this point that the holistic approach becomes accepted as a realistic approach. Workforce development becomes the means to poverty reduction. Neighborhood revitalization can then begin to empower its residents producing a stronger community and region. Workforce development becomes part of economic development and vice versa – all in an effort to improve individual and family wealth.

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