Thursday, July 10, 2014

Will The Government's Promise Zones Tackle Poverty?

The Federal Government has designated five impoverished areas across the country as "Promise Zones". These zones, announced by President Obama in January, are neighborhoods that will receive and influx of programs, educational opportunities, and discount amenities.

The goal  of the Promise Zones concept is to  provide the citizens of these targeted distressed areas easy access to education, training, and opportunities they can utilize to elevate themselves and their neighborhoods out of their economic insolvent states.

The five Promise Zones are located in Philadelphia, San Antonio, southeastern Kentucky, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Los Angeles. The government's plan is to create easy access to programs like after-school classes, GED courses and job training that would in turn arm residents with the skills and abilities to economically benefit them and their neighborhoods.

The idea of the Promise Zones comes from that of settlement houses of the past. Settlement houses were essentially community centers with a wide range of services that the federal government built in poor neighborhoods.

The Promise Zone concept focuses on place-based initiatives as opposed to institutional handouts (think SNAP). The concept of giving people the training and education they need to hone the skills necessary to become productive members of society as well as to sustain their own existence is one that has worked in other places like Mexico. It sure provides more opportunities than a monthly check and subsidized living. For the full spill on the "Promise Zones" go HERE.

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