by Calvin Allen, Director of Rural Forward NC
As Rural Forward NC has worked with various rural leaders across NC over the past three years, our team has consistently heard “…but we can’t get healthier without insurance, and that requires a job that pays a sustainable living wage,” and “All it takes is one major health crisis to redirect our residents’ economic future.”
Health and jobs are inextricably linked in rural communities, and when you consider the role of inequity in addressing employment opportunities for women and people of color versus their neighbors, the data shows that NC needs strategies to eliminate barriers to sustainable living wage jobs for ALL of NC’s rural residents.
But what if everyone who wanted a job, regardless of race or gender, could get a job? Data tools from our national partner, PolicyLink, provide insight on this provocative question. Their data shows that NC’s rural communities could be billions of dollars wealthier.
That is why Rural Forward NC has been partnering with the NC Budget and Tax Center as PolicyLink’s NC partners in the Employment Equity in Southern States national initiative over the past year. Involvement meant that we could get the input of Healthy Places NC residents into PolicyLink’s new report on employment equity in NC produced through our partnership.
The report was released on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 from 10:00am-12:00pm at the NC Museum of History (5 East Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27701) with attendance exceeding 60 people. It included an amazing panel discussion by rural, economic development, equity, and other key statewide leaders, including:
- Anne Bacon, Director of Strategic Planning and Policy, NC Community College System
- Reuben Blackwell, President, OIC of Rocky Mount, NC
- Anita Brown-Graham, Professor of Public Law and Government, ncIMPACT, UNC School of Government
- Rev. Dr T. Anthony Spearman, President, NC NAACP
- Patrick Woodie, President, NC Rural Center
To view the report, click the following link: http://www.policylink.org/resources-tools/advancing-employment-equity-rural-north-carolina