Saturday, November 27 2021

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (August 2, 2021) – Following the recommendations of a recently released study, the City of Charlotte is developing a strategy to attract employers, help residents access careers and trigger commercial real estate development in areas of Charlotte that are lagging behind in business opportunities. ‘use.

The study was carried out in partnership with EY and looked at five of six corridors of opportunity – areas of Charlotte struggling with high poverty and unemployment, even as Charlotte has one of the country’s most prosperous economies. .

City staff presented the study’s findings and recommendations to the Charlotte City Council’s Workforce and Business Development Committee on Monday.

The study

In November 2020, the City of Charlotte’s Economic Development Department hired EY to examine the employment landscapes of the five corridors, grouped into three targeted geographic areas: Freedom Drive, Wilkinson Boulevard and West Boulevard; Beatties Ford; and Sugar Creek.

Drawing on its experience and expertise in crafting personalized economic development strategies for comparable cities, EY assessed these three geographic areas from three perspectives: labor, employers and commercial real estate in order to ” identify the potential drivers of job creation and employment.

The results

Through the EY team’s assessment, coupled with interviews with employers, workforce development organizations, community leaders, real estate developers and city leaders, the following findings were presented to city staff:

Workforce demographics

The workforce analysis explored demographic makeup, dynamics of educational attainment, characteristics of the workforce, and potential barriers to opportunity.

  • People of color make up almost 90% of all residents of the five corridors. Across the city, racial and ethnic minorities make up less than 60% of Charlotte’s population.
  • A higher proportion of residents aged 18 to 24 and 65 and over live in hallways, compared to the city-wide average.

  • Corridor residents are less likely to have a high school or college diploma compared to the city average.

  • Residents of the corridor continue to struggle with higher rates of poverty and unemployment than the city average.

  • Labor force participation rates are lower among corridor residents compared to the city-wide average. Although the unemployment rate among residents of all areas surveyed declined between 2013 and 2018, the decline in the corridors was relatively minor.

  • Youth and young adult unemployment is high in the corridors. One in three residents aged 16 to 24 living in the areas of Freedom Drive, Wilkinson Boulevard, West Boulevard or Beatties Ford Road is unemployed.

Target sectors

  • The study determined that the sectors best suited for recruitment and growth in each corridor are manufacturing, logistics and distribution, healthcare, and technology and administrative support services.

  • These industries match existing assets in the corridors, have long-term growth potential, and provide bottom-up career opportunities for residents.

  • Residents have varying skills to support many industries, but most move out of their halls to find work.

Immovable

EY has also completed a detailed assessment of the current size, age and usage of corridor properties and real estate brokerage areas.

  • Overall, Charlotte has a strong and growing real estate market, with development spanning from three main demand drivers: Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Uptown and the city’s central business district, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

  • Construction and development follows major transportation arteries, in particular the LYNX Blue Line and the proposed LYNX Silver Line.

  • Real estate data shows the corridors have lower quality, smaller and older buildings, and a dearth of sites to attract industry.

The recommendations

The project team also developed recommendations for the city based on what they learned about the workforce landscape in the city’s opportunity corridors:

  • Target employers who can establish and grow in the hallways.

  • Stimulate the development of commercial real estate in the corridors.

  • Help corridor residents overcome barriers to employment and access career and economic opportunities.

Target employers

EY recommended that the city create an Opportunity Employers program that proactively attracts employers from the target industry to the corridors of opportunity and helps employers in the existing corridors hire more residents of the corridors.

Commercial real estate development

The recommendations include the promotion of sites and buildings in the corridors that are ready or near ready for commercial and industrial development. The city and its partners could also strengthen public-private partnerships and acquire strategic sites in the corridors if public-private partnership opportunities are readily available.

It is crucial that economic growth benefits residents and businesses in the current corridor, which is why EY also recommended creating an equitable development agenda.

Overcome barriers to employment

Finally, EY recommended that the city and its partners make an effort to help nonprofits get the resources they need to help more workers; expand entrepreneurial opportunities for future business owners; improving transport solutions for residents of the corridor; and support programs that help residents get an education, find employment and advance in their careers.

Next steps

The Economic Development Department will continue to have conversations with key stakeholders over the coming weeks. The implementation plan will be incorporated into the ongoing HIRE Charlotte Strategic Employment Plan, which will guide the city and communities towards the next steps in implementing this work. In the meantime, staff will consider pilot projects that can be quickly implemented to inform final strategies, recognizing that each geographic area has specific business and workforce needs.

Residents interested in local employment opportunities can visit the City of Charlotte Jobs Connector platform today.


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