Recommendations Matrix

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Impact of Segregation

Strategy A

Acknowledge the significant role segregation and racialization have played in our current opportunity narrative and commit to becoming a more inclusive, fair and just community.

Recommendation A1

Provide more opportunitities to include all voices, especially those who have been marginalized or excluded in genuine community engagement and change efforts.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Use a participatory budgetting process in our local government to engage people in decision-making around budget decisions that affect their lives.

Recommendation A2

While we recognize that "inclusionary zoning" may be the goal that many seek (and may ultimately provide the long-term solution in Mecklenburg County and across the state), we must take action today to ensure we dramatically increase the creation of mixed-income housing throughout Mecklenburg County.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Provide incentives and use other tools to support development of more mixed-income housing.
  • See tactics for Strategy O

Recommendation A3

De-concentrate high poverty schools and create an educational environment in which all students can thrive.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • See tactics for Strategy B

Recommendation A4

Build and support community efforts to increase transportation options and efficient routes for people who live and work in different parts of the city and county.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • See tactics for Strategy Q

Recommendation A5

Ensure children, youth and families in all areas of the community have technology and digital literacy training to connect with broadband internet.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Support efforts by Digital Charlotte aimed at helping everyone in the community take full advantage of digital tools, access and technology.

Recommendation A6

Urge governmental, educational, philanthropic, nonprofit and faith-based organizations to make funding, programmatic design and policy decisions through the lens of equity and opportunity.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Investigate multi-sector use of an equity lens tool as a filter for decision-making.

Recommendation A7

Engage more of our governmental, educational, philanthropic, nonprofit and faith-based organizations, as well as residents-at-large, in initiatives and opportunities that, a) elevate awareness and understanding of the impacts of segregation, racialization and inequality and, b) provide tools to help change behaviors and actions.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Identify strategies to encourage greater integration of early care and education programs to start building interracial relationships and trust from an early age.

Critical Partners*

City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, CMS, Faith Community, Business Community, Philanthropy, Digital Charlotte, Housing Developers and Nonprofits, Grassroots Organizations, Criminal Justice System, Social Justice/Racial Equity Organizations


Strategy B

Address the complex, multi-faceted issue of school segregation with a systems approach.

Recommendation B1

Galvanize community support for the Board of Education's School Assignment Vision and Goals.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Position the reduction of concentrated schools of poverty as a significant enhancer of economic opportunity for all students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Recommendation B2

Increase community awareness regarding the impact of schools with highly concentrated poverty on economic opportunity.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Raise awareness about community events focused on the link between schools of concentrated poverty and economic opportunity. Evaluate opportunities to form partnerships and collaborations to inform the community and elected officials about the impact of highly concentrated schools of poverty.

Recommendation B3

Monitor progress of the assignment plan process and continuously encourage the Board of Education to be bold and courageous in developing the new student assignment plan.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Enourage faith, business, grassroots leaders, parents, and other interested parties from across Charlotte-Mecklenburg to advocate to elected leaders for the reduction of schools with high concentrations of poverty.
  • Support and expand efforts by academic institutions and key intermediaries to provide fact-based presentations regarding the historical context for CMS school enrollment patterns, national best practices regarding assignment plans, relevant data and objective analysis.

Recommendation B4

Create an intergovernmental working group to develop a coordinated plan to reduce the number of schools of highly concentrated poverty.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Request that leadership from all elected bodies authorize the creation of an intergovernmental working group to evaluate strategies and tactics, which impact school assignment and enrollment.

Recommendation B5

Develop strategies to increase private sector funding of the CMS Foundation.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • To Be Determined

Critical Partners*

CMS, Mecklenburg County, City of Charlotte, Faith Community, Business Community, Philanthropy


Early Care and Education

Strategy C

Make the necessary investments to ensure all children in Mecklenburg County from birth to age five have access to quality early care and education.

Recommendation C1

Eliminate the waitlist for subsidized child care for all children birth to age five (3,014 as of Feb. 2017)

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Complete a financial evaluation of options outlined in recommendations C1-C3 to expand access in Mecklenburg County. This study is funded by the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council (CELC) and spearheaded by Mecklenburg County, with findings anticipated for release in 2017.

Recommendation C2

Make high-quality voluntary public pre-K universally accessible to all four-year-old children in Mecklenburg County.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Explore the possibility of utilizing a local option sales tax increase to expand early childhood education.

Recommendation C3

Increase access to voluntary high-quality early care and education for all children starting at birth, regardless of family income following attainment of the two previous tactics.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Complete and implement findings from Mecklenburg County's Feasibility Study of Pay For Success as a financing mechanism to enhance and expand access to Pre-K for four-year old children. This study is funded by the Department of Education with findings anticipated for release in 2017.
  • Quantify the costs and consequences to the community if greater access to quality early child care for children ages birth to four is not provided.
  • Develop and execute a comprehensive funding strategy to provide greater access to quality early child care for children ages birth to four and public pre-K for four-year olds based on the two studies above.
  • Advocate for increased funding and reimbursement rates for child care and public pre-K at the state and federal level.
  • Advocate for increased funding of public pre-k at the federal, state and particularly the county level.

Recommendation C4

Promote a clear definition of and related indicators across multiple dimensions for what "ready for school" means to ensure early educators and families share common readiness expectations for children.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • To Be Determined

Recommendation C5

Improve data collection and reporting on school readiness.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • To Be Determined

Recommendation C6

Provide expanded support of Read Charlotte and ensure it has resources required for implementation of identified strategies.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • To Be Determined

Recommendation C7

Increase enrollment of young Latino children in quality child care and public and private pre-K education programs.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Identify and convene Latino community leaders to identify access barriers and to inform strategies to increase Latino family awareness about the importance of early learning within and beyond the home.

Critical Partners*

Child Care Resources, Inc., Mecklenburg County, Smart Start, CELC, Philanthropy, Latin American Coalition


Strategy D

Strengthen the early care and education workforce to improve the quality and experiences of early care and education available to children ages birth to five.

Recommendation D1

Improve the compensation and benefits of early care and education providers.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Determine the cost of raising our child care workforce's compensation to that of comparably educated staff in public Pre-K, Head Start and Early Head Start to improve the child care workforce and reduce teacher turnover.
  • Investigate public and private strategies that have increased early childhood workforce's compensation without increasing costs of care for families.

Recommendation D2

Expand the number of early care and education providers with certifications, credentials and degrees.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Pursue strategies to increase our early childhood workforce's access to, and engagement in, pre-service, in-service, continuing and higher education and peer learning.
  • Expand recruitment and support for CPCC's intgegratged pathway that targets ESL students and combines ESL instruction with the courses needed to pass the early childhood certifcation exam.

Recommendation D3

Increase access to ongoing professional development for early care and education providers that is responsive to their limited time and financial resources, as well as to their educational needs.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Increase access to classroom and program-based consultation, coaching and mentoring available to early childhood education teachers/providers to reinforce use of evidence-based early brain development and literacy practices.
  • Train all early educators in "ready-for-school" indicators recommended for development.

Recommendation D4

Grow the culture and linguistic diversity of our early care and education workforce to better serve our Latino children and families.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Engage with community organizations and houses of faith that serve our Latino population to increase awareness of the need for Latino early educatiors and promote the profession.
  • Create targeted recruitment strategies and supports for Latinos interested in entering the field, including having more bilingual early childhood educators.

Critical Partners*

Child Care Resources, Inc., Smart Start, CELC, CPCC, UNC Charlotte, Latin American Coalition, Charlotte Works, Early Care and Education Centers and Providers


Strategy E

Support parents and other caregivers as a child's first teacher in promoting postive early brain development, social and emoptional health, and early literacy beginning at birth.

Recommendation E1

Educate parents, early educators and other caregivers to help them understand the importance of positive early brain development, social-emotional development and early literacy and how to best support and interact with their children from an early age.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Develop and launch a public campaign to promote positive early brain development and early literacy.

Recommendation E2

Promote families as partners and leaders in co-creating and implementing solutions to improve a child's social-emotional and language and literacy development.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Explore piloting a model community-based family resource center concept that uses a "whole child" approach in helping children and parents address the multiple variables that impact a child's readiness for kindergarten.
  • Help parents develop networks of peer and other support within their neighborhoods and communities create more mutual support for effective nurturing, early literacy and advocacy for their children.

Recommendation E3

Build the capacity of early child care and early learning programs, schools and providers to effectively engage families in meaningful ways to support their children's social-emotional and language and literacy skills.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Expand access to evidence-based programs such as Raising A Reader in child care centers, family child care and homes, pre-schools and faith-based preschools and other community settings.

Recommendation E4

Leverage support from others in the community to promote early brain and social-emotional development and early literacy skills through their unique connections to parents and children.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Encourage more employers to provide paid maternity leave and utilize other employment practices that enable parents of young children to better support their children's early development.
  • Increase the number of medical practices and clinics serving children and young mothers who are participating in the Reach Out and Read program that encourages active reading with children ages 0-3.
  • Embed more early leraning skills in brain building activitries provided through cultural and educational institutions.

Recommendation E5

Provide parents with greater access to developmental screenings for their children to help them identify learning delays, vision problems and other issues that may be affecting school readiness and that will enable them to seek help sooner than later.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Explore opportunities to make the Ages and Stages Questionairre (ASQ) available to more parents. (Examples: Columbus Kids and Spartanburg Academic Movement)
  • Increase access to needed post-screening developmental supportive services for children.

Critical Partners*

Smart Start, Child Care Resources, Inc., Other Family and Children Nonprofits, Early Care and Education Centers and Providers, Pediatricians, Faith Community


College and Career Readiness

Strategy F

Broaden the range of and access to high quality college and career pathways offered by our K-12 and postsecondary institutions, ensuring all students have access to and support for the full range of opportunities.

Recommendation F1

Replicate, expand and improve career academies and other pathway models that provide a clear sequence of academic and technical courses, work-based learning experiences, intentional career advising, and opportunities to develop skills and earn credentials that will meet the current and future needs of the region’s employers.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Consider creating a leadership position at CMS focused on expanding the role of workforce development and work-based learning and building collaborative partnerships with government, local industry sectors, nonprofits and higher education to expand "next generation" learning opportunities for CMS youth.
  • Support a new policy that every CMS Career Academy has an actively engaged Board of Directors comprised of industry stakeholders who are leading, advocating for apprenticeships and paid internships and supporting the career academy and holding the institution accountable.
  • Continue to improve and increase industry-targeted CTE options for more CMS students in collaboration with industry and higher education programs.
  • Explore opportunities for a consulting firm to partner with CMS to develop a roadmap for the future of CTE programs and community engagement.
  • Create/implement a communication strategy to reduce the stigma and cultural bias associated with vocation education and non-degree certificcate programs that lead to middle-skill job opportunities.
  • Fully integrate entrepreneurship with the larger strategy of preparing students for productive, high-skill careers.

Recommendation F2

Enable more students to access accelerated learning and dual enrollment opportunities, and make more credits “stackable” from high school into college, so high school courses count toward specific postsecondary credentials.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Strengthen and expand articulation agreements and partnerships between CMS, CPCC and UNC-Charlotte.
  • Launch a recruitment campaign to encourage more eligible, low-socioeconomic students to take advantgage of the state's Career and College Promise Program that enables high school students to earn free copllege credit at CPCC during their junior an senior years.

Recommendation F3

Increase the number of low socioeconomic students enrolled in and completing higher- level college prep courses.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Ensure that all high schools offer a minimum number of AP/IB courses and provide the necessary support for students to succeed in them.

Recommendation F4

Explore funding options to ensure every Career and Technical Education (CTE) student has the financial ability to attain a certification.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • To Be Determined

Critical Partners*

CMS, Employers, Charlotte Chamber, Charlotte Works, CPCC, UNC Charlotte, Meck Ed


Strategy G

Equip all students and parents with the information and guidance they need to understand and navigate multiple college and career pathways, preparation and processes.

Recommendation G1

Ensure all students, beginning in middle school or earlier, are exposed to and understand how to navigate career pathways and the postsecondary enrollment process.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Provide a continuum of career awareness and planning support for all students beginning with career awareness in elementary school, career exploration in middle school and intentional skill development in high school and beyond.
  • Leverage social media and technology tools to increase awareness and knowledge about career pathways and how to navigate them.

Recommendation G2

Increase the number of dedicated college and career guidance counselors/advisors available for students in every CMS school, meeting the industry recommended average student/counselor ratios of 1:250.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Include and support funding of additional guidance counselors in future CMS budgets to achieve the recommended counselor/student ratio.

Recommendation G3

Expand the knowledge, capacity and cultural competence of guidance counselors, advisors, career development coordinators, teachers and near-peer mentors on the various college and career pathways and trends, and ensure they have the tools to help students and their parents understand and connect with college and career pathway opportunities.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Bolster ongoing professional development opportunities to improve knowledge and skills relating to targeted career pathways and associated educational and industry requirements.
  • Increase opportunities for teachers and counselors to participate in summer industry internships to help them better understand how to contextualize learning with students.  
  • Have more CMS counselors, advisors, teachers and administrators participate in implicit bias training to challenge occupational stereotypes and interactions with students about their college and career aspirations and preparation.  

Recommendation G4

Leverage nonprofit and other community resources to augment college and career advising in our schools.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Evaluate the need for a coordinating entity to lead professional development on career pathways and labor market trends for local education institutions and workforce agencies to ensure common information, data and best practices are shared.
  • Aggressively grow work-based mentor programs to ensure every student has a tangible career path.
  • Expand access to quality out-of-school time programming that integrates academic support with career awareness, exploration and preparation and helps connect more low socio-economic students to these opportunities.  
  • Increase support provided through programs such as College Advising Corps.

Critical Partners*

CMS, CPCC, Areas Colleges and Universities, Education Nonprofits, Charlotte Works, Meck Ed


Strategy H

Galvanize community support to develop and implement a multi-faceted plan to increase paid work-based learning opportunities for students.

Recommendation H1

Increase community awareness about and support for apprenticeships, paid internships and other work-based learning programs.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Organize a learning network of employers with experience and success in providing apprenticeships, paid internships and other education partnership activities to share their knowledge, lessons learned and value proposition with other employers, and provide peer coaching.

Recommendation H2

Build the necessary infrastructure and employer commitment to implement and scale work-based learning in order to create at least 10,000 slots annually for CMS high school students; 1,000 by 2018, 4,000 by 2020 and 10,000 when fully scaled.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Evaluate the need for an intermediary or coordinator to promote, build and sustain collaborative partnerships with K-12, higher education institutions, local industry sectors and nonprofits.

Recommendation H3

Increase the involvement of employers in developing and helping to teach courses that incorporate sector-specific knowledge and skill development.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Create more pre-apprenticeship opportunities at CMS and CPCC to help students and workers understand how to qualify and prepare for apprenticeships.

Recommendation H4

Require every student who completes a formal career academy experience receive a paid internship as a capstone to his or her high school career and that every CMS high school student, whether a career academy student, receive some type of meaningful work-based learning experience before he or she graduates.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Publically recognize and celebrate employers that support work-based learning and other collaborative work with education.

Recommendation H5

Provide paid internships for high-performing, low-income college students enrolled in local colleges and universities.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • To Be Determined

Recommendation H6

Ensure students take advantage of the work-based learning opportunities by addressing structural barriers, such as transportation, work hours, etc.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Develop strategies to address transportation barriers for students to access apprenticeship and internship opportunities.

Critical Partners*

CMS, CPCC, Charlotte Chamber, Employers, Charlotte Works, Meck Ed


Strategy I

Expand and strengthen support for first-generation and other low socioeconomic students who need help in transitioning to and completing postsecondary education.

Recommendation I1

Reduce the potential for “summer melt,” which often causes unsupported students to not follow through with their college plans between high school and the first semester of college.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Expand information about and access to summer bridge programs at CPCC and other educational institutions to help students follow through with their plans.
  • Explore efforts such as the Austin Chamber’s Summer Melt Aversion Program through which high school or college counselors and/or volunteers stay connected with students over the summer months.

Recommendation I2

Continue to reduce the number of CMS graduates needing remediation at CPCC before they can take college-level coursework.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Continue to align requirements for entry-level college courses with those for CMS diplomas.
  • Administer the college-ready anchor assessment in 10th grade to address students’ academic deficiencies before college.

Recommendation I3

Connect more minority and low socioeconomic college students to mentoring, academic tutoring, financial assistance and other support to help them stay in and complete their education.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Create a learning network of administrators from CPCC, UNC Charlotte, Davidson College, Queens University, Johnson C. Smith University, and Johnson and Wales to share and support evidence-based best practices that improve persistence and completion rates of low socio-economic students.  
  • Embed mentoring in more scholarship programs that serve low socioeconomic students to help improve recipient outcomes.
  • Provide financial assistance to meet basic needs for scholarship and low-income students, such as food, books and transportation.
  • Leverage external partnerships to provide services and support for students.

Critical Partners*

CMS, CPCC, Area Colleges and Universtities, Faith Community, Charlotte Chamber, Business Community


Strategy J

Create more on-ramps to education, training and employment for our disengaged youth.

Recommendation J1

Make the training and hiring of disconnected youth a higher community priority.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Develop creative outreach strategies to connect with teens and young adults.

Recommendation J2

Expand collaboration and partnerships county-wide to support the reengagement of our disconnected youth and develop new and innovative approaches to working with them.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Provide additional funding and other support for workforce development programs that offer remediation and GED support, soft skills training, and postsecondary education and training opportunities, including apprenticeships, for teens and young adults.

Recommendation J3

Connect more of these youth to earn and learn training programs that allow them to make a living while earning a credential or degree.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Promote entrepreneurship as an alternative pathway, and provide guidance and financial support to help young entrepreneurs get started.
  • Connect youth and teens to caring adults who can help them navigate their challenges.
  • Explore place-based initiatives that concentrate outreach and support in neighborhoods where larger numbers of disconnected youth live.

Recommendation J4

Gain commitment from area employers to give disconnected youth a chance by providing them with training and/or work experiences.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Call on our business community to reach out to disconnected youth with entry level jobs that lead to meaningful career. Businesses of all sizes and types, including entrepreneurs, have a role to play, and should be challenged to partner withworkforce development agencies, CPCC, and other organizations supporting disconnected youth.
  • Encourage more employers to use hiring policies and practices that do not automatically eliminate their hiring young people with minor criminal records.  
  • Work with the local legal community to offer opportunities for youth and young adults with a criminal record to seek expungement that will make them more attractive candidates for jobs.

Critical Partners*

Charlotte Works, Nonprofit Workforce Development Agencies, CPCC, Mecklenburg County, City of Charlotte, Nonprofits working with young people, Faith Community, Business Community


Strategy K

Elevate and actively promote the critical importance of our young people acquiring a postsecondary degree and/or industry certification to successfully compete in our changing, technologically advanced labor market.

Recommendation K1

Develop and launch a public campaign and strategy aimed at promoted the importance of postsecondary attainment for all students.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Convene a local group of partners to investigate postsecondary campaigns in other communities to identify potential leadership infrastructure, costs, audience messages, what’s working/not working and which models may be best to consider for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
  • Lead, support and implement such a campaign.

Recommendation K2

Seek creative solutions to provide more young people with financial support/scholarships to enable them to participate in postsecondary education and training.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Convene a group of leaders to investigate "Say YES to Education Guilford" and higher education savings account models across the country to determine which one may have the best application in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and test for interest and willingness to pursue locally.  

Critical Partners*

Charlotte Chamber, CMS, CPCC, Area Colleges and Universities, Charlotte Works, Meck Ed


Child and Family Stability

Strategy L

Encourage the formation and maintenance of committed two-parent families.

Recommendation L1

Promote marriage, which research shows is the most reliable route to mobility, recognizing it may not be the choice of all couples.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Develop culturally appropriate communications and data-rich messaging strategies to increase awareness of the value of marriage, committed relationships, co-parenting and the potential challenges and related stressors in raising children.
  • Study, adopt, and implement evidence-based programs that effectgivley encourage people to be part of committed relationships when considering parenthood.

Recommendation L2

Advocate for the active involvement of fathers in the lives of their children.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Expand access to evidence-based and informed programs that support responsible fatherhood.
  • Investigate and, where desirable, advocate for the removal of barriers and restrictions to father's involvement in their child's life due to state and local child support policies and practices and with entitlement and housing programs.

Critical Partners*

Faith Community, Community-Based Organizations, Mecklenburg County DSS


Strategy M

Ensure young women and men have the necessary information and sources of reproductive health care to ensure they can plan for pregnancy when they are ready to raise a child.

Recommendation M1

Complete a community health assessment, plan and outreach strategy that builds understanding and provides a feasible approach to reducing unintended pregnancy in Mecklenburg County. This plan should explore a range of options from abstinence to creating greater access to the most effective forms of contraceptives, including long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs.) The work is already underway through a study commissioned by several philanthropic organizations.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Identify and secure philanthropic dollars for the campaign.

Recommendation M2

Develop fact-based and culturally appropriate messaging that empowers all young people to incorporate pregnancy planning into the vision they establish for their lives. We acknowledge, first, that abstinence works. Always. We acknowledge, also, that those who decide to become sexually active are not necessarily deciding to have children. In order to prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), young people need age-appropriate information.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Implement the community strategies developed in the three recommendations above.

Recommendation M3

Based upon the outcomes of the assessment, launch a comprehensive campaign to reduce the rates of unintended pregnancy in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, primarily among all young women and men ages 17-29.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Ensure key stakeholders are engaged in the process including Mecklenburg County Health Department, Carolinas HealthCare System, Novant Health, private clinics and other institutions serving young men and women such as education and faith-based organizations.

Critical Partners*

Medical Community, Mecklenburg County Health Department, Health Nonprofits, Community-Based Organizations, Philanthropy


Strategy N

Improve birth outcomes for all children and their mothers.

Recommendation N1

Provide access to evidence-based information for all women, regardless of their income level, and culturally sensitive information and programming for quality prenatal and postnatal care.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Ensure prenatal care services are more widely available early in pregnancy.
  • Expand the delivery of outreach strategies for low-income women who experience barriers to information and care.
  • Incorporate knowledge about and treatment for post-partum depression in pregnancy services.
  • Pursue additional funding for evidence-based home visitation programs, such as Nurse Family Partnership.

Recommendation N2

Encourage more employers to provide paid parental leave.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • To Be Determined

Critical Partners*

Medical Community, Mecklenburg County Health Department, Health Nonprofits, Community-Based Organizations, Agencies Assisting Young Families


Strategy O

Help more families get and stay on a path to living wage income and asset building.

Recommendation O1

Create and provide access to more quality jobs that pay living wages for families living in lower opportunity communities.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Provide economic development incentives and use other targeted tools (Tax Increment Financing, Opportunity Zones, etc.) to help attract new businesses to current “job deserts” in and around low-income areas of the community.
  • Place a higher priority on recruitment of companies to the Charlotte region that offer entry-and mid-level positions.
  • Ensure greater accountability for businesses that receive government tax incentives or support from other financing programs to hire workers from low-opportiunity communities and consider hiring and wage practices when selecting vendors for government contracts.
  • Coordinate job development activities of local workforce development agencies that serve people with barriers to more efficiently and effectively match job seekers with employers.  

Recommendation O2

Encourage more anchor institutions and other employers in the community to voluntarily raise wages and improve benefits of their lowest-paid employees.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Educate and encourage more businesses to become “fair chance” employers who use best practices in giving job seekers with criminal records a fair chance for employment.  

Recommendation O3

Ramp up community efforts to place more parents of school-age children in jobs, particularly jobs with advancement opportunities and benefits.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Provide retention support for graduates of training programs.

Recommendation O4

Increase access and opportunities for parents to earn a high school or equivalency diploma and/or engage in post-secondary education or market-driven job training while meeting the demands of their families.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Expand and connect more low-income parents to work and learn training models that enable parents to make a living while being trained through paid work experiences.  
  • Explore implementing evidence-based two-generation models in Mecklenburg County that bridge the workforce development system with the early childhood system. Integrate more wrap-around support (social workers and mentors) for parents enrolled in education and training programs.
  • Integrate more wrap-around support (social workers and mentors) for parents enrolled in education and training programs.

Recommendation O5

Encourage and support more low-Income parents to pursue entrepreneurship as an alternative path to their financial stability.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Promote and provide more entrepreneurship training loan programs and support in low opportunity communities, including financial training and products to help them address cash flow challenges.
  • Incorporate entrepreneurship skills into workforce development programs and develop links for entrepreneurs from socially excluded groups to connect with broader business/social networks that can help them grow their business.  

Recommendation O6

Connect low-income families to financial and asset building education and products that will help them become more financially stable.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Integrate financial literacy, asset building and financial capacity building into human service and housing programs.
  • Increase use of Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) to low-income families and advocate for the reinstatement of the North Carolina earned income tax credit.
  • Develop a campaign to educate families about the high cost of predatory lending and promote lower cost alternatives.
  • Encourage local banks and other credible financial institutions to offer free or lower cost products that encourage families to save.

Critical Partners*

Mecklenburg County, United Way, Human Services Agencies, Workforce Development Agencies, CPCC


Strategy P

Take dramatic steps to address our affordable housing crisis, which will stabilize working families, prevent family homelessness and minimize the disruption of of children who move from school-to-school due to housing affordability issues.

Recommendation P1

Support the City of Charlotte’s goal of creating or preserving a net 5,000 affordable units over the next three years. Concurrently, investigate and implement strategies to set an ambitious goal for a second wave of housing that will substantially reduce the deficit of 34,000 units.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Increase housing bonds referendum from the current $15M every two years up to $50M every two years and maintain at these signficantly higher levels.
  • Explore the creation of a Housing Opportunity Investment Fund to incentivize new developments.

Recommendation P2

Pursue new and/or dramatically expanded sources of public funding to support affordable housing development.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Create strategies to increase use of the 4 percent Low-Income Tax Credit, TIF

Recommendation P3

Engage private, nonprofit and public developers in new conversations to create innovative strategies to address locational and financial barriers to affordable housing.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Examine ways to lower barriers and fees associated with the development of affordable housing.

Recommendation P4

Encourage and support more place-based initiatives that include affordable housing as part of neighborhood revitalization efforts. (Renaissance West is example of place-based initiative.)

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Overhaul zoning and permitting process including the creation of an affordable housing overlay district, and continue to advocat4e for changes at the state level, which would enable local communities to use mandatory inclusionary zoning as a tool to create more affordable units.

Recommendation P5

Ensure mixed income housing—including rental and home ownership opportunities for low-income residents—is always considered when planning new residential or mixed used development.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Advocate that elected officials make affordable housing development the highest priority for using excess public land when deliberating on properties through the local government's Mandatory Referral Process.

Recommendation P6

Act on the recommendations outlined in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Strategies for Affordable Housing Development Report.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Partner with developers to understand the financial considerations of developing affordable housing and identify opportunities to help address those needs.
  • Institute an initiative to acquire vacant, foreclosed residences with delinquent taxes and repurpose for affordable housing.
  • Encourage large anchor institutions (schools, hospitals and other large employers) to consider assisting with housing affordability for its workforce.
  • Substantially increase access to and funding for rental subsidy vouchers paired with supportive services, including programs such as the A Way Home Endowment.
  • Create and sustain a landlord consortium to encourage landlord participation in all zip codes to house families with public and/or private rental subsidies.  
  • Provide more mechanisms for lower-income families to purchase homes that help build their assets such as creation of a community land trust, deed restrictions that control the resale price of a home.
  • Develop and launch a community campaign to change the community mindset about affordable housing and shift to a “Yes, in my backyard” mentality by more people.  

Critical Partners*

City of Charlotte, Private/Nonprofit Housing Developers, Business Leaders, Philanthropy, Mecklenburg County


Strategy Q

Create a more connected community to ensure all families have ready access to employment, shopping, service areas schools, parks, and other daily destinations.

Recommendation Q1

Increase transportation options for families that don’t have their own vehicles.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Support the work of CATS’ Envision My Ride study and subsequent implementation efforts, and prioritize connecting low-income families when implementing the bus route restructuring.

Recommendation Q2

Improve alignment between housing and transportation.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Develop and expand public/private partnerships to provide low-cost transportation service, ridesharing, carpooling and/or bus pass benefits that will enable more low-wage workers to access employment sites within the county and region.
  • Explore / expand options for low-income parents to obtain their own vehicles through facilitating vehicle donation and repair programs and/or providing loan assistance to purchase or lease vehicles.
  • Increase opportunities for safe and reliable transportation for youth to participate in out-of-school time activities.

Critical Partners*

City of Charlotte, CATS


Strategy R

Develop efforts focused on addressing mental health issues and/or reducing the mental health impacts of living in low-opportunity environments.

Recommendation R1

Deepen our understanding of the childhood mental health system, and develop tangible strategies to address identified needs and gaps. An assessment is underway currently with recommendations forthcoming this spring (2017).

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Complete a pediatric mental health system assessment by June 1, 2017. Review and implement strategies based upon the findings.

Recommendation R2

Increase the number of social workers in high poverty schools to provide expand access to students.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Support increased public funding through the Mecklenburg County Health Department for social workers assigned to high poverty schools within CMS.

Recommendation R3

Provide all teachers and others working with children better training on evidence-based practices to best address emotional stress and other mental health challenges of students.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Support increased public funding through the Mecklenburg County Health Department for social workers assigned to high poverty schools within CMS.

Recommendation R4

Expand access to mental health services for children, youth and adults in low-income areas.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Leverage the recently announced collaboration between Novant and Carolinas Healthcare to ensure increased capacity to address mental health issues in low-income neighborhoods.

Recommendation R5

Increase availability and access of parenting education classes, home visitation programs, mentoring and other support to help reduce toxic stress in the lives of low-income families.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Encourage creation of peer networks of women and parents with similar needs to support one another (example: Family Independence Initiative in California).  

Recommendation R6

Support opportunities to identify best practices and/or evidenced based programs that reduce the impact of toxic stress in children, youth and adults including physical exercise, mental health education, meditation, re-framing, etc.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • To Be Determined

Recommendation R7

Investigate strategies to reduce the stigma of mental health issues and associated treatment.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • To Be Determined

Critical Partners*

Mecklenburg County, Mental Health Agencies and Providers, CMS and other Schools, Philanthropy


Strategy S

Invest in strategies that lead to smart criminal justice reform and create a community where families are not split due to interactions with the criminal justice system.

Recommendation S1

Develop policies and interventions to decrease the high rates of adult and youth interactions with the criminal justice system and counteract the current national and local trends pof unnecessary jail time.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Advocate for policy changes to State legislation to raise the age when youthful offenders are charged as adults from 16 to 18 years old.
  • Identify and implement evidence-based programs to increase school engagement, reduce youth delinquency and violence, thereby disrupting the “school-to-prison pipeline”.
  • Advocate for school policies and practices that promote keeping students in school and minimize the role of law enforcement in disciplinary action.
  • Identify and pursue alternative intervention methods to replace disciplinary measures such as out-of-school suspensions, expulsion, and school-based arrests, which disproportionately affect students of color and transfer them from the acadedmic environment into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
  • Invest in training and implementation of pre-arrest diversion initiatives that redirect citizens from the criminal justice system and into appropriate health, mental health, and substance abuse services when appropriate.
  • Improve processes that move cases through the system quickly so individuals are not incarcerated for long periods of time as tgheir case proceeds.
  • Implement new policies for bail, fines and fees that will reduce incarceration of individuals who are incapable of paying fines, fees and court costs.
  • Encourage area employers to use fair chance hiring practices for job applicants with criminal records.

Recommendation S2

Improve civilian-police relationships through increased trust and legitimacy, and develop local systems for law enforcement governance and oversight that brings civilians to the table as stakeholders and empowers the neighborhoods and communities being policed to address policies and practices.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Pursue more ways to improve relationships, increase community engagement, and foster greater cooperatiopn and collaboration between the criminal justice system and community members, especially in communities and neighborhoods disproportionately affectged by crime. Improved trust, transparency, and mutual accountability should result from this collaborative work.
  • Utilize consistent survey methods to track and analyze the level of trust communities have in law enforcement.
  • Continue to implement recruitment, hiring, and retention practices that promote a polic force that reflects the diversity of the communities law enforcement serves.

Critical Partners*

Criminal Justice System Agencies and Partners, Race Matters For Juvenille Justice, Council for Children's Rights, City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County


Strategy T

Re-envision a human services system in which the needs of families are addressed holistically and services and support are coordinated to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Recommendation T1

Convene stakeholders to develop a community-centered human services vision plan.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Develop shared client databases and metrics, where feasible, to streamline intake processes and coordinate case management.

Recommendation T2

Use a systems thinking/design approach to better integrate and coordinate service delivery across programs and systems to provide more client-centered service and achieve greater outcomes for families.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Coordinate social work case management across programs and systems (when multiple social workers are serving the same client) through assignment of lead social workers.
  • Use the collective impact model to support common goals and outcomes for families and programs that use evidence-based or research-informed practices to achieve agreed upon outcomes.

Recommendation T3

Improve and consolidate our information and referral systems to better and more efficiently serve families seeking assistance.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Transform United Way’s 2-1-1 system to serve as the community’s central clearinghouse for information about and referrals to human services resources.
  • Invest capital in United Way’s 2-1-1 system to allow for innovation and efficiencies.

Recommendation T4

Invest in evidence- and research-based programs that produce the greatest impact on families and children.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Develop data sharing policies of government agencies that currently prevent sharing of data across systems.

Critical Partners*

Mecklenburg County, United Way, Human Services Agencies


Social Capital

Strategy U

Ensure all children, youth and families have relationships in the community which:

  • Connect them to opportunities, information and resources;
  • Broaden their horizons about what's possible in their lives;
  • Assist in navigating through unexpected crises to stay on track;
  • Offer tangible pathways toward achieving their aspirations; and
  • Demonstrate to every child, youth and adult that their contribution is vital to the success of our community

Recommendation U1

Support an expectation that beginning in 7th grade, all students have access to a Life Navigator or other supportive adult to help expose, navigate and connect them to career, educational and life opportunities.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Research and evaluate local, regional and national models to develop the Life Navigator concept. Examples include Kauffman Scholars, the Possee Foundation, etc.

Recommendation U2

Develop and execute a focused strategy to build, train and coordinate an “army” of community volunteers committed to connecting more children, youth and families to knowledge, resources and opportunities.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Coordinate efforts by alumni organizations, civic/social groups, houses of faith, businesses, neighborhood associations, schools, etc. to have their members/employees engage young people through programs that create exposure and relationships.

Recommendation U3

Leverage relationships developed through the above and elsewhere to help young people and families build social capital and increase access to new networks.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Encourage faith-based and civic organizations to use economic opportunity as a lens to rethink and expand their community support and outreach efforts to maximize network building opportunities for those with more limited bridging relationships.  

Recommendation U4

Build on and expand efforts promoted through the 2014 Cultural Vision Plan for Charlotte-Mecklenburg, which focuses on connecting people and strengthening communities by using arts and culture to create pathways and bridges.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Ramp up efforts of the staff and boards of cultural arts organizations to go into diverse areas of the community to build relationships, listen to what people say they need and want and develop new strategies and programs that reach more diverse groups and communities.  

Recommendation U5

Encourage all sectors to use economic opportunity as a lens for their decision making.

Initial Implementation Tactics and Policy Considerations »
  • Train “gatekeepers” in social service agencies, houses of faith and other organizations, to share information and better connect families, children and youth to resources and opportunities in the community.
  • Explore ways to visibly demonstrate a “Culture of Caring” by asking, “How will this decision impact the opportunity trajectory for all children, youth and families?”, prior to significant decision making.

Critical Partners*

Civic Organizations, Community-Based Organizations, Postsecondary Institutions, CMS and other Schools, Faith Community, Business Community, United Way


* Entities identififed under critical partners are not all-inclusive.This is a beginning list of potential partners/groups during implementation.