Make Camden Work For Everyone
Successful cities have thriving diverse economies that create opportunities for all individuals on the education and socio-economic spectrum. Deliberate efforts should be undertaken to recruit a diverse mix of multi-national and mid-size firms to the city, to create a base of 5,000 entry-level jobs in the city thus establishing the first rung of a newly created career ladder with opportunities for those at the beginning of their educational journey through to those who hold advance degrees. Investments should be made to stabilize and position neighborhood commercial districts throughout the city to serve as the fertile grounds for entrepreneurship and job creation among residents.
- Creation of the Office of Community Wealth Building – This office is created to devise and implement strategies to build wealth in the community. Focus areas include but are not limited to the creation of cooperative businesses, facilitation of social enterprises, home ownership, etc.
- Neighborhood Revitalization – Address challenges impeding the revitalization of the city’s neighborhoods to include by not limited to: Home Improvement Assistance, Commercial District Revitalization, Street-scape Renovations, Housing Rehabilitation, etc.
- Business Development & Entrepreneurship – Build the capacity of existing businesses to do business with NJ Grow Incentive holders, developers and the like as well as the creation of new community-based businesses to support the revitalization of the city’s neighborhoods to include but not limited to: Business Startup Training, Contracting & Sourcing Set Asides, Capacity Training, Bonding and Micro-lending Program, etc.
- Human Capital Development – Alignment Initiative – Create a continuum from employ-ability to and employment. Align the various service providers or “connecting the dots” from the most basic of support services to vocational training to successful and long term employment; to establish a predictable path to employment that a motivated resident can follow to employment and self-sufficiency.
Accountability for All
Prosperous communities have at their core quality educational systems focused on the development and enrichment of its children and young people. Systems and structures are created to align its educational program to the region’s economy, positioning its students for success in the pursuit of college and career. With the creation of a variety of educational models in the city, families must have confidence that their children are educated on par with their peers in other communities. Public, charter and renaissance schools should not be evaluated against the performance of other schools in Camden, but evaluated against the performance of schools in other communities. All school models must be held accountable.
- Annual Comparative Assessment – Advocate for the creation of an annual comparative assessment of Camden schools of all models against their peers in select communities. Published annually, parents and stakeholders can utilized this information to hold their schools accountable for the performance. Stakeholders and policy makers can use this information to make changes to current laws and policies to hold these schools accountable.
- College Readiness and Sustainable Growth Report – Advocate for the creation of an annual counting of the number of students who score at college ready level on the SAT and higher from the high schools of the various models. The creation of an annual tracking of the number students who have gone on to college and are still in college. This data can be used by stakeholders to change current laws and policies to hold these schools accountable.
- Annual State of Education Forum – Annual gathering of parents, educators, stakeholders, etc. to discuss the state of education in the city. Speakers and breakout sessions will focus on the various issues facing the city, newest developments in education, etc.
Creating the Conditions for Success
Government exists to encourage and protect the quality of life enjoyed by all who live, work and play in the city. Government is charged with creating an environment; free from fear for ones safety, clean and in good repair and full of opportunities for residents to pursue what makes them happy. Government must create a business-friendly environment that welcomes investment, supports business in their efforts to serve the community and pursue growth. Government must create connections between communities, centers of commerce and the wider region to breakdown the walls of isolation and encourage visitors and businesses to participate in Camden’s economy.
- District Council Collaborative Boards – Partner with community, police and government to coordinate and staff the DCCB to promote the principles of community policing, problem solving and self help amongst resident, business and the wider community.
- Support and Expand the Camden Block Supporter Initiative - Partner with community development corporations, corporate sponsors, residents and business to expand this impactful program to neighborhoods across Camden.
- Community Benefits Agreements – Partner with community, business and developers to establish relevant and impactful community benefits agreements that strengthen the connections between these businesses and the community.
- Community Economic Development Fund – Create and encourage contributions from businesses, individuals and communities across the region to support initiates and programs organized by community, non-profits and stakeholders