For or With / by Tynesia Boyea-Robinson

A recent Washington Post article http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/unemployment-rate-falls-in-dc-for-july-rises-in-va-md/2012/08/17/2a082434-e872-11e1-936a-b801f1abab19_story_1.html highlighted the changes in unemployment rates in the country.  Of course this is all tied to the sentiment of the country around our upcoming Presidential election and what the potential candidates can do FOR us.  But there’s much more of a need to unleash what we can do WITH each other.

Despite an 8.3% unemployment rate, there are 3.7 million available jobs in the country right now.  That’s right.  Those are jobs that companies CAN’T FILL, and that alone would reduce unemployment by an entire percentage point.  So why isn’t there any movement in the jobs rate?

In response to this, most will quote shocking statistics on America’s education system compared to the rest of the world, the achievement gap amongst our diverse populations, and on and on.  And thus, most begin problem solving what we can do FOR “those people” and how it will take tremendous time and resources to see a change.

In the book Heath Brothers’ book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, they show examples of how scalable impact was achieved by focusing on “bright spots”- what happened when things did work.  I have 10,000 personal examples of young people, who despite low income backgrounds and average 22%+ unemployment rates, are now in livable wage careers.  I have 100 examples of companies who have changed their policies and approaches to hire atypical workers, and in turn achieved a measurable impact on their bottom lines.  What would it take to work WITH each other to collectively pursue these outcomes and change our narrative?  And when will we maintain the level of focus to see it through?