APM Reports - Investigations and Documentaries from American Public Media

What We Do

Investigations and documentaries striving to raise awareness, trigger debate and prompt positive change.

More About APM Reports
Be informed: Get notified when APM Reports publishes new stories.

Recent Stories


43c278 20161011 wetterlings

Update: A Sentencing, A Demand, No Closure

The sentencing of Danny Heinrich on Nov. 21, 2016, brought to a close the 27-year investigation into the abduction and murder of Jacob Wetterling. But it didn't end the story.

B487ba 20161109 dimock pad

EPA's late changes to fracking study downplayed risk of polluted drinking water

Early versions highlighted contaminated drinking water and vulnerabilities from fracking. The final version turned out differently: Fracking had not "led to widespread, systemic impacts." Oil and gas cheered the findings.

F8524c 20161107 historically black episode 8

Black Love Stories

This episode spotlights stories of enduring love among African American couples.

Caab92 20161031 historically black episode 7

The Path to Founding an HBCU

Born into slavery, William Hooper Councill founded one of the nation's first HBCUs, Alabama A&M University.

D1a7c0 20160912 duane hart

Duane Hart

He was convicted of sexually assaulting four boys around the time Jacob was abducted.

494446 20160903 wetterling home st joseph minn

Episode 9: The Truth

When Danny Heinrich confessed in court on Sept. 6 to abducting and murdering Jacob Wetterling and assaulting Jared Scheierl 27 years ago, investigators declared that at last, the public had the truth. But despite Heinrich's excruciatingly detailed accounts, the truth remains elusive. Many questions remain unanswered.

160c6e 20161024 historically black episode 6

The Question of Black Identity

Racial identity in the U.S. is complicated because race is an invented category rooted in slavery. This episode explores the question of black identity in America through the voices of four people who, at one time or another, have had to answer the question: "What are you?"

0e8b30 20160930 brian guimond

Brian Guimond

He is convinced the Stearns County Sheriff's Office hasn't looked hard enough for his son, who disappeared 14 years ago.

4e287e 20160930 ryan larson full

Ryan Larson

He was detained in connection with the 2012 shooting of a Cold Spring police officer, but later declared not a suspect.

A3e749 20160930 in the dark episode 8

Episode 8: What's Going on Down There?

In November 2012, a police officer named Tom Decker was shot and killed in Cold Spring, Minn., after getting out of his car to check on a man who lived above a bar. The man was quickly arrested and held in the Stearns County jail. He was interrogated but then released without charges. The state crime bureau later ruled him out as a suspect. Investigators turned their focus to another man, Eric Thomes, who hanged himself before he could be charged with the crime. Nearly four years after the murder, Sheriff John Sanner has refused to close the case "because we're still hopeful that new information will come in," he said.

0b8542 20161017 historically black 5

Harlem Through James Van Der Zee's Lens

James Van Der Zee was a celebrated African American photographer who documented black New York for much of the 20th century.

40ef78 20160930 rita reker

Rita Reker

The woman Patty Wetterling didn't want to see.


in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Employ the unemployed in meeting the needs of their local community

File under: jobs, job training, other

5 (2 votes)

From: Robert V., Harrison, MI

People who are unemployed are a resource to be tapped, not a problem to be solved. In every community in America, there is work that needs to be done, and resources that are not developed. In every community, there are good people who want to work, buildings that sit empty, and equipment that is gathering dust. What is wrong with this picture?

The current systems of Unemployment Compensation provide income but not opportunity. Billions spent on ensuring eligibility and compliance and preventing overpayments could be used to build sustainable jobs in local communities. We can solve the problem of structured unemployment by developing a nationwide system of local Community Innovation Centers (CIC) that develop the skills, creativity and potential of citizens. Each CIC will carry out an ongoing community needs and opportunities assessment that identifies and prioritizes work that needs to be done in local communities. Workers will complete evaluations that match skills and interests with community needs. Groups of workers could form teams to tackle specific community improvement projects. Projects can evolve into businesses that provide dependable jobs well into the future.

Starting a new business is a challenging and risky process that requires years of development. The uncertain struggle to obtain funding combined with a lack of experience, resources, and support make it a gamble to even survive the first two years. One-third of new businesses don't make it that long and less than half are still operating after four years. CIC will identify business opportunities and provide resources to assist in planning, managing, and financing new enterprises. They will create umbrella and incubation centers where new business ideas that respond to identified community needs can be tested and developed until they are sustainable as independent entities.

The people who build and run CIC will own a stake in them. Unemployed workers will earn their benefits through productive work and will also acquire stock (called Community Pride) based on the quality and effectiveness of their efforts. This stock will gain cash value for the worker as profits increase from products and services sold by CICs and businesses developed within the program pay back start-up costs with a percentage of income. Communities would also have the option of using Community Pride as a means of exchange for locally produced products and services. As this exchange system develops, schools and community agencies could create agreements with employees to pay part of their salaries in Community Pride. This would free up funding to prevent layoffs and provide needed services.

This idea to solve poverty builds on the successful experience of the Hard Times Cafe (HTC), an empowerment program for people in poverty in Clare County, Michigan. In the eight years following Michigan's governor's decision to eliminate General Assistance in 1991, HTC patrons (mostly current and former welfare recipients and people who were unemployed and/or disabled), built an inclusive and effective self-managed program that resulted in over 220,000 hours of community service. Patrons reported finding over 460 jobs during that time and more than 220 patrons returned to school.


Comments:

Keith A.
From , IL

This is a positive and innovative idea. I like it! It would seem to go well with some of the literature I've read on crowdsourcing / crowdsourced placemaking, as well as the work of architect Christopher Alexander, who has long held that local residents should be granted a greater role in planning and development, because they're the ones who know best what their communities need and want.


APM Reports - Investigations and Documentaries from American Public Media

What We Do

Investigations and documentaries striving to raise awareness, trigger debate and prompt positive change.

More About APM Reports
Be informed: Get notified when APM Reports publishes new stories.

Recent Stories


43c278 20161011 wetterlings

Update: A Sentencing, A Demand, No Closure

The sentencing of Danny Heinrich on Nov. 21, 2016, brought to a close the 27-year investigation into the abduction and murder of Jacob Wetterling. But it didn't end the story.

B487ba 20161109 dimock pad

EPA's late changes to fracking study downplayed risk of polluted drinking water

Early versions highlighted contaminated drinking water and vulnerabilities from fracking. The final version turned out differently: Fracking had not "led to widespread, systemic impacts." Oil and gas cheered the findings.

F8524c 20161107 historically black episode 8

Black Love Stories

This episode spotlights stories of enduring love among African American couples.

Caab92 20161031 historically black episode 7

The Path to Founding an HBCU

Born into slavery, William Hooper Councill founded one of the nation's first HBCUs, Alabama A&M University.

D1a7c0 20160912 duane hart

Duane Hart

He was convicted of sexually assaulting four boys around the time Jacob was abducted.

494446 20160903 wetterling home st joseph minn

Episode 9: The Truth

When Danny Heinrich confessed in court on Sept. 6 to abducting and murdering Jacob Wetterling and assaulting Jared Scheierl 27 years ago, investigators declared that at last, the public had the truth. But despite Heinrich's excruciatingly detailed accounts, the truth remains elusive. Many questions remain unanswered.

160c6e 20161024 historically black episode 6

The Question of Black Identity

Racial identity in the U.S. is complicated because race is an invented category rooted in slavery. This episode explores the question of black identity in America through the voices of four people who, at one time or another, have had to answer the question: "What are you?"

0e8b30 20160930 brian guimond

Brian Guimond

He is convinced the Stearns County Sheriff's Office hasn't looked hard enough for his son, who disappeared 14 years ago.

4e287e 20160930 ryan larson full

Ryan Larson

He was detained in connection with the 2012 shooting of a Cold Spring police officer, but later declared not a suspect.

A3e749 20160930 in the dark episode 8

Episode 8: What's Going on Down There?

In November 2012, a police officer named Tom Decker was shot and killed in Cold Spring, Minn., after getting out of his car to check on a man who lived above a bar. The man was quickly arrested and held in the Stearns County jail. He was interrogated but then released without charges. The state crime bureau later ruled him out as a suspect. Investigators turned their focus to another man, Eric Thomes, who hanged himself before he could be charged with the crime. Nearly four years after the murder, Sheriff John Sanner has refused to close the case "because we're still hopeful that new information will come in," he said.

0b8542 20161017 historically black 5

Harlem Through James Van Der Zee's Lens

James Van Der Zee was a celebrated African American photographer who documented black New York for much of the 20th century.

40ef78 20160930 rita reker

Rita Reker

The woman Patty Wetterling didn't want to see.