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Connecting Residents to Workforce Opportunities

By David A. Jackson, Deputy Executive Director, Atlanta BeltLine Partnership

A key part of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership’s (ABP) mission is to empower residents in BeltLine neighborhoods in the areas of health, housing and economic opportunity. Strategically, we recruit, convene and align partners around these issues to help the Atlanta BeltLine’s benefits flow to residents of all socio-economic levels.

This is manifested programmatically through initiatives like ABP’s series of free homeowner empowerment workshops, which have helped educate homeowners in BeltLine neighborhoods about resources that can help them stay in their homes in the face of rising home values and property taxes. Using a “Three P” strategy, the Partnership connects homeowners to presentations, publications and partners that empower them to take action.

  • Presentations: Our workshops provide useful information about how to determine the value of your home, connect to programs that offer resources to repair and maintain your home, and understand your property tax bill.
  • Publications: Our Homeowner Empowerment Resource Guide contains valuable information about loan programs, home repair agencies and legal services available to homeowners.
  • Partners: Habitat for Humanity of Atlanta, the Atlanta Volunteers Lawyers Foundation, House Proud and others have participated actively in our workshops, educating attendees about the services they offer that can help.

Over the last year we held eleven of these workshops with more than 250 people learning about, and connecting to, helpful resources and information. We will continue this important work with a special June session dedicated to helping residents understand their 2018 property tax bill and how they can file an appeal, if they so choose. We will post the time/date and location of that workshop here as soon as it is finalized.

Consultant Tia McCoy leads a 2017 homeowner empowerment workshop. 

What’s next? With generous funding from the IHG Foundation, the Partnership will replicate our “Three P” strategy to develop a hospitality careers outreach program for residents of Atlanta BeltLine communities. In April, the Georgia Department of Labor reported that Atlanta added 8,100 jobs, mostly in the leisure and hospitality industries – which can lead to better careers than many realize. The impact of this is significant in neighborhoods around the Atlanta BeltLine where a greater percentage of hospitality jobs exist than compared to the city overall. With a lower entry barrier than many other professions, the hospitality industry can offer meaningful employment with robust opportunities for advancement that might easily go overlooked by job seekers.

As we develop the presentations and publications to help connect BeltLine residents to employment pipelines in the hospitality sector, we also seek to engage partners in other industries – building on past relationships with Atlanta CareerRise, the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia, the Center for Working Families and others – to maximize BeltLine residents’ connection to skills training and employment opportunities. If you are interested in partnering with us, or in helping your community get connected to the planning of this initiative, we would love to hear from you.  Please email us at empower@atlblp.org.

Note: This article appeared originally as a Saporta Report Thought Leadership column on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.

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