This week in community development: 4/25/14

Every week, Praxia Partners shares important community-building news. Check out what we’ve been reading this week.

Economic opportunity

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma has developed a “two generation” program designed to help improve economic opportunity for low-income mothers and their children. The holistic approach includes early childhood education (Head Start), support for job-training, and financial education. From the NPR report:

Organizers say the classes help these parents improve their communication skills and self-esteem. The program is intentionally designed so the women re-enter the worlds of school and work as a group, to reinforce a “we’re in this together” ethos.”You have to plan everything to make a good grade in class, to be a better parent. And you have to manage your stresses so you don’t go crazy,” says Consuela Houessou, who moved to Tulsa from the African nation of Benin about a decade ago.

  • How the fast food industry exacerbates the wealth gap in America and is bad for the entire economy. In fact, pay inequality within the industry itself is telling. From Demos:
    • Fast food CEOs are some of the highest paid workers in America. The average CEO at fast food companies earned $23.8 million in 2013, more than quadruple the average from 2000 in real terms.
    • Fast food workers are the lowest paid in the economy. The average hourly wage of fast food employees is $9.09, or less than $19,000 per year for a full-time worker, though most fast food workers do not get full-time hours. Their wages have increased just 0.3 percent in real dollars since 2000.

Equity and inclusion

Environmental stewardship

  • America’s solar capacity has increased fourfold in as many years. (Scientific American)
  • The Center for Social Inclusion released an interactive map of communities moving ahead on renewable energy projects.
  • The Tea Party is backing solar. (Mother Jones)
  • Attacks on Ohio’s renewable energy standards continue. The union of Concerned Scientists fact-checks material distributed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and concludes the information is deeply flawed.

What do you think was the most important community development story this week? Share your insights and thoughts below or by email.

For news about solar power and sustainability, visit Community Renewable Energy’s blog.

About Holly

Holly Jensen is a writer and poet who has worked with nonprofits and businesses for over a decade. She also serves as editor of The Ghazal Page, an international literary journal.
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