Rebuild QuikTrip

In August Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson told reporters the QuikTrip convenience store that burned down would rebuild in Ferguson.

A QuikTrip representative wrote The Gateway Pundit on Friday in response to Captain Johnson’s comments, “Thank you for asking. It is not accurate. QuikTrip has not made a decision in regards to the store in Ferguson.”

Ferguson 1000 Jobs has been talking with other gas station owners about the possibility of opening another brand if Quik Trip doesn’t want to rebuild.

The goal of Ferguson 1000 Jobs is to assist in negotiations for QuikTrip or another gas station brand to rebuild. This store was a staple in the community and provides jobs to local residents.

Youth Development

Our youth initiative works with youth organization to provide the following projects:

  • Technology Training – Ferguson 1000 is working with St. Louis Internship Program to produce the technology training. They are developing the “Technology and Entrepreneurship Bootcamp.” This will provide youth and opportunity to see what it takes to develop technology, learn technology and create companies around technology.
  • Entrepreneurship Training – Ferguson works with many entrepreneurs that will assist youth in their entrepreneurial goals.
  • Youth Sports – Ferguson 1000 works with established programs ie Boys and Girls club to implement such programs in Ferguson
  • Youth Programs – Ferguson 1000 works with established programs ie Boys and Girls club to implement such programs in Ferguson

Job Creation

Ferguson 1000 Jobs believes that we have the talent in our local market. Our strategy is to expand the Economic Gardening approach that fosters expanding our assets in our local markets.

Economic gardening takes an entrepreneurial approach to regional prosperity. Often referred to as a “grow from within” strategy, it helps existing companies within a community grow larger. In contrast to traditional business assistance, economic gardening focuses on strategic growth challenges, such as developing new markets, refining business models and gaining access to competitive intelligence. Economic gardening specialists help CEOs identify which issues are hindering their growth and then leverage sophisticated tools to deliver insights and information that CEOs can apply immediately.

Driven by research Economic Gardening is a “grow from within” strategy targeting existing growth companies and offering them critical strategic information that is customized to their needs. This information can be key to propelling the company to its next phase of growth. Statistics from an Economic Gardening pilot program of 28 companies cited that those companies grew revenues by an increase of 26.9% and jobs by an increase of 29% after their Economic Gardening engagement.

Ferguson 1000 Jobs will blend Economic Gardening principles with traditional economic development tactics. Our economic development strategies include connecting entrepreneurs with support institutions and helping them with their operations, workforce development or tax credits. While economic gardening is about leveraging research using sophisticated business intelligence tools and databases that growth companies either aren’t aware of or cannot afford. Research specialists typically assist in four key areas: strategic market research, geographic information systems, search engine optimization and social media marketing. Examples of how specialists help companies include:

  • Identify market trends, potential competitors and unknown resources
  • Map geographic areas for targeted marketing
  • Raise visibility in search engine results and increased web traffic
  • Track websites, blogs and online communities to better understand competitors and current and potential customers
  • Make informed decisions on core strategies and the business model

The virtual model, using trained specialists and team leaders, enables time-crunched CEOs to participate in an Economic Gardening network without ever leaving their offices.

Our job creation model has the following:

  • Target Existing Companies Job Need
  • Grow Minority Businesses so they can HIRE from the community
  • Develop Youth Technology and Entrepreneur Training

Job Readiness Training

Job, employment, occupation, and career are all different terms for the same thing — work! Finding a job that’s right for you can take some time and effort. If this is your first time looking for a job, or if you are looking to change jobs or reenter the workforce, you may want to examine your goals and skills.

Ferguson 1000 Jobs works with local community organizations who specialize in Job Readiness to assist in our job development strategy. One of our partners is the St. Louis Urban League;

Employment Services

  • Increasing Client Success in Obtaining Jobs & Careers

Purpose

The Employment Program is designed to:

  • Provide low to moderate-income clients with comprehensive counseling and guidance to enable them to secure full or part-time jobs in the St. Louis metropolitan area.
  • Place clients in jobs from laborer to professional.

Why provide Employment services?

  • Living wage employment remains a key element of the holistic approach of helping clients achieve economic self-sufficiency.
  • Finding desirable employment provides a vital ladder out for African Americans and others trapped in poverty.
  • In the St. Louis metropolitan region, the unemployment rate for African Americans is over two times higher than the white community.
  • Statistics show that the largest barrier to African American employment is not a lack of job skills, but rather a lack of other skills (interviewing, resume writing, etc.) that are necessary to find desirable full or part-time employment.
  • From its founding in 1918, the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis has concentrated on ending discrimination, especially in the area of employment.

Our Services

Employment services include:

  • Interviewing skills
  • Resume preparation
  • Computer access for online job searches and application
  • Job search assistance
  • Career counseling
  • Job readiness training
  • Job referrals
  • Job development
  • Job placement
  • Case management
  • Post-placement follow-up

Eligibility

Urban League Employment Services Program serves residents in the St. Louis metropolitan area who are 18 years of age or older and who are interested in Urban League Employment Services.

Minority Business Development

Ferguson 1000 Jobs has a specific program of assisting in the growth of minority businesses. It is our objective to help minority businesses with the 3C’s, Contacts, Contracts and Capital. By our Business Mentor program, we will match minority businesses with businesses in their respective industry to assist in the growth of their firms. We agree with the following research:

Black Business Hiring can Reduce Black Unemployment

One of the most effective strategies for reducing black unemployment is to support black-owned businesses. This is because two out of every three workers employed in those businesses are black. In fact, black businesses can achieve employment outcomes that economic growth policy cannot.

This post examines hiring in African American-owned businesses as a strategy to reduce the high rate of black unemployment.

What do we know?

In a previous post entitled, For Unemployed Blacks, Growth is not Enough, three observations were made about black unemployment:

  1. The national burden of unemployment falls heaviest upon blacks.
  2. Economic growth is essential, but by itself, growth is not enough to alleviate high rates of black unemployment.
  3. Incremental policy changes such as job-training programs are not likely to make a significant difference.

Currently the unemployment rate is 8.2%, but the rate for African-Americans is 14.0%, while among whites, it is 7.3%. An astounding 40.5% of black teenagers is unemployed. One key conclusion is this; even if the economy were to grow rapidly, black unemployment would still not be reduced significantly.

Consider this fact. Today GDP growth is 3%, and black unemployment is 14%. The best performance of the economy in the last decade occurred in the fourth quarter of 2003. During the period, GDP grew at 6.7%, which is more than twice the current rate. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate for blacks still averaged 10.6%. Conclusion – growth is not enough!

So what can be done?

One solution is to look to the potential of African-American businesses. The last census survey of small businesses, (the Survey of Business Owners conducted in 2007) determined African Americans owned 1.9 million small businesses. This represented 7.1% of the nation’s 27 million businesses. Furthermore, businesses owned by blacks employed 921,032 workers.

In 2007, the Gazelle Index conducted a national random survey of 350 CEOs of African-American owned businesses. The survey had a margin of error of 5%. The survey determined that 64% of employees in black-owned businesses were black. This means those businesses employed 589,460 workers in 2007.

Think of it this way. Today, there are 2.5 million unemployed black workers. As such, African American-owned businesses are capable of employing 23% or more of them. Furthermore, as these businesses grow and their employment capacity increases, two out of every three workers hired will be Black.

Conclusion – one of the most effective strategies for lowering black unemployment is to increase support for black businesses.

Why support black businesses?

The latest Gazelle Index national survey (conducted in the 4th quarter of 2011) found 46.9% of African-American owned businesses cut their workforce in response to the “Great Recession” and 22.5% decreased employment by 50% or more.

Black businesses located in the West were hardest hit by the recession; 34.6% of businesses in the West cut their workforce by 50% or more, while 25.0% in the Northeast, 23.7% in the South, and 17.9% in the Midwest did so.

On the positive side, the survey found a larger percentage of black CEOs will add workers in 2012 than the CEOs of any other racial or ethnic group. Specifically, 37.4% will add employees while only 15% will cut. Among whites, 23.5% will add workers and 11.2% will cut. Finally, 20.0% of Latinos will add workers while 17.6% will cut.

The industries where black businesses will do the most hiring are as follows: Information Technology, 52.9% of businesses will hire; Construction, 50%; Management and Administrative Services, 42.2%; Health Care and Education, 38.5%; Retail Trades 33.3%. Industries where CEO will cut include Transportation and Warehousing, and Professional and Technical Services.

Currently Congress is assisting small businesses as an employment priority. If the government targeted more aid to black-owned businesses, those firms would be able to reduce black unemployment in a way that growth policy cannot.

Economist Drives Employment Effort in Ferguson

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of sharing my economic development research in a TED TALK. The topic was “African Americans and Technology – Empowerment or Exclusion”, and I spoke about how to make diversity a priority as St. Louis becomes a tech hub.

This is clearly not a social issue but an economic one. When you allow all citizens to be a part of the economic landscape via jobs, we all win. When you don’t incentivize economic prosperity for every demographic, we all lose.

Through our research, we’ve found there’s a lot of work to do in St. Louis when it comes to diversity. Studies show that St. Louis is the 5th most segregated city in the United States. The Ferguson unrest last year raised the veil of many discrimination methods in our region. Many groups over the last year have convened to discuss these most delicate issues. Although there are a myriad of problems, we believe job creation is one of the most important solutions.

The opportunity to address Diversity and to close the DIGITAL DIVIDE along with closing the “Delmar/Skinker Divide” through jobs is upon us. We have a company that is rewriting the tech landscape in transportation and promoting minority jobs and minority business ownership growth. That company is Uber.

We may not think about it every day, but access to buses, trains and metros is a crucial link to opportunity and economic mobility. In fact, a recent Harvard study found the single strongest factor in determining economic mobility was commuting time. A lack of transportation options can keep a struggling community treading water. It is bad enough when a neighborhood lacks access to fresh produce; it is even worse when the closest grocery is only accessible by a bus that only shows up occasionally, or not at all.

Uber has launched an urban initiative that will provide flexible earning opportunities to thousands of African Americans across this country. In our community meetings around Ferguson over the last year, we found that people want to work. Some walked to our training sessions and others showed up to our “Hiring Event’ before the doors opened. Yet, transportation is one of the barriers that reduce access to the job market.

Speaking of job opportunities, we need more of them. The labor market is an intriguing mix of good and bad news. The national black unemployment rate was 11.4 percent. That’s about twice the 5.3 percent white unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ferguson’s unemployment rate of 13 percent, according to the American Community Survey’s 2010-12 estimates, is roughly twice the current national average of 6.2 percent, according to the BLS. Innovation in job creation in St. Louis and Ferguson for African Americans is paramount for our region’s growth.

Considering the need for more economic progress, it caught our eye that Uber is partnering with more than 50,000 drivers in urban communities across America.

Such programs in other cities are UberUP, Uber’s Urban Partnership, an initiative to connect communities with entrepreneurial opportunities furnished by the Uber platform.

Who would deny such a job creation vehicle in the communities that need it most? Who would deny this new innovative technology that provides access to those who have been left out the mainstream? Who would deny new jobs for African Americans in St. Louis were unemployment is so high? Who would deny new wages and taxes that could develop into hundreds of millions of dollars for our region?

Ridesharing has been proven to be successful. In fact, these new services create a virtuous cycle of employment and economic empowerment. Ridesharing companies serve new people and communities that traditional taxis have for years passed over. When these drivers come from the communities they serve, it essentially creates a new market for transportation services. Everybody wins, from the passengers to the drivers to the local economy.

In other cities, riders and drivers are leveraging Uber’s technology to stay connected to their community and the people within it. While Uber expands across the country, economic opportunity and development for cities is expanding with it.

This is in part why Ferguson 1000 is teaming up with the NAACP, SLATE and Uber to recruit drivers from heavily diverse neighborhoods where jobs are often sorely needed such as Ferguson. We have an opportunity to change the direction of our city as it relates to unemployment amongst African Americans, while increasing entrepreneurship coupled with innovation in technology.

When Uber does launch in St. Louis, we can launch tens of thousands of economic opportunities along with it.

St. Louis IT Jobs: Emerson, City of St. Louis hiring for tech talent

Missouri is one of the fastest growing cities for tech jobs thanks to a large group of St. Louis companies hiring in the sector.

Here are a few places you can find jobs in the tech industry in St. Louis.

  • Emerson is looking to hire a product data analyst, a .NET developer and an Oracle applications DBA.
  • The City of St. Louis has job openings for two programmers.
  • Charter is hiring for a director of IT Security Infrastructure.
  • Sparo Labs is looking to hire a lead iOS software engineer.

Ferguson: A chill in the air before ‘Weekend of Resistance’

There was a chill in the air on Wednesday night in Ferguson as protesters paid tribute to Michael Brown through candlelight vigil and prepped for a flurry of activity that is expected this coming weekend.

Protesters shifted from their primary position in front of the local police headquarters to the scene of another shooting of a black teenager, this time by an off-duty St. Louis police officer, overnight on Wednesday. St. Louis police scanners reported that 125 people blocked an intersection in the area, but remained peaceful. According to the police scanner, the crowd was made up of “15-year-olds to 80-year-olds, all races, all genders.”

This new incident has reignited simmering tension in a region still reeling from the killing of Brown two months ago.

St. Louis police said a uniformed off-duty officer fired at least 17 shots at the teen, leaving him dead in a neighborhood a little more than a dozen miles from where Brown was killed two months ago.

St. Louis shooting heightens tensions on eve of protests

Unlike Brown, police say the teen killed Wednesday fired at an officer with a 9mm handgun, which they said was recovered at the scene. Nonetheless, the killing sparked anger and protests and drew calls for greater scrutiny of police who some believe kill young black men with impunity. The shooting occurred ahead of what organizers in Ferguson believe will be an historic weekend of protest in that city.

After more than 60 days of protests, hundreds of arrests, and through a haze of raw emotions, protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, are ramping up their calls for justice for Brown.

Organizers this week are preparing for one of the largest series of demonstrations since Brown’s killing by a Ferguson police officer on Aug. 9. This weekend, in what’s being billed as a “Weekend of Resistance,”several thousand protesters from around the country are expected to arrive in Ferguson between Friday, Oct. 10 and Monday, Oct. 13 for daily rallies, marches and acts of civil disobedience.

Brown’s shooting sparked sporadic looting and spontaneous protests that drew thousands to the city’s streets in sometimes violent clashes with heavily-armed police. The efforts have since evolved into sustained, peaceful protests and a much more organized movement around clear goals and political ideals, not the least of which are calls for an arrest of Brown’s killer, officer Darren Wilson.

“The mobilization this weekend is our attempt to connect justice for Michael Brown with a budding national movement against police violence across the country,” said Mervyn Marcano, a spokesman for Ferguson October, a mobilization effort organized by Hands Up United, the Organization for Black Struggle and hundreds of other local and national groups. “We are hopeful that people will come here and be energized by the movement in Ferguson and take that work back into their cities across the country.”

In the two months since Brown’s killing, this small St. Louis suburb has gone from largely anonymous to infamous. Brown’s shooting death and the fiery response from the predominantly black protesters and predominantly white police unsheathed a long, sometimes nasty history of racial discord in the region.

Witnesses say Brown, who was black, was shot and killed by Wilson, who is white, as Brown attempted to flee. The final, fatal shots came as Brown attempted to surrender with his hands up, witnesses say. Police say Wilson shot Brown during a fight for Wilson’s weapon.

In the shadow of the killing and the social tumult that unfurled from it, an at-times unwieldy series of protests have congealed into something much more organized and far beyond what many protesters had imagined.

While daily demonstrations draw only dozens compared to the mass protests in the earliest days, the protesters seem to have thinned to a core, committed group. Nearly every night, protesters have gathered across the street from Ferguson police headquarters. They’ve interrupted the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and clashed with St. Louis Cardinal Baseball fans during a recent playoff game and per the ubiquitous “No Justice, No Peace,” chant heard around Ferguson, activists have committed to further acts of civil disobedience to disrupt the status quo.

“The mobilization this weekend is our attempt to connect justice for Michael Brown with a budding national movement against police violence across the country.”MERVYN MARCANO, A SPOKESMAN FOR FERGUSON OCTOBER

“The movement is more organized now. In the beginning we didn’t know what we were doing and nobody expected this to happen but we’ve grown into a real movement,” said Johnetta Elzie, who has been protesting since the day after Brown’s death. “I feel like this one moment is giving birth. Mike Brown Jr. started a birth of so many different levels of the movement where people are just becoming more aware and awakened to the injustices that are happening.”

Taurean Russell, one of many young protest leaders that have emerged, said he has watched as the street-level movement directly linked to the shooting has spread.

“I’ve connected with people in 22 states about joining the movement. I’ve had a woman from France and another woman from Brazil reach out,” Russell said. “It’s a national movement but people on the global scene are interested in what we’re doing here in Ferguson.”

Organizers of the weekend’s mobilizations say a broad spectrum groups are expected to take part in demonstrations, including some organized by church groups, on college campuses and unaffiliated people who’ve been looking for a way to support the protests. A message board for those looking to hitch rides to Ferguson or find lodging boasts inquiries from a number of states across the country.

The ramped up efforts come as a grand jury is mulling whether or not to charge Officer Wilson in Brown’s death. Many on the ground say they have little faith in the grand jury and St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch who convened the jury. Many believe the grand jury will not indict Wilson largely because of McCulloch’s historic failure to secure indictments of white officers who shoot unarmed black suspects and because of the odd manner in which he has overseen the grand jury’s deliberations.

Federal, state and local officials have reportedly been meeting behind closed doors to develop an emergency response plan for the city if the jury does not indict Wilson, a move critics say has fueled lingering tension on the streets.

Last week, St. Louis County police took over command of crowd control operations from Ferguson police citing manpower and resource limitations. The change came a day after Ferguson police arrested a dozen protestors for the rather vague charges of language to incite violence, noise violations and resisting arrest.

Earlier this week a federal judge issued an injunction barring police from enforcing what became widely known as the “5-second rule,” in which protesters faced arrest if they stood still in any one place for longer than five seconds.

Since protests in Ferguson began, well over 200 protesters have been arrested, a number of people multiple times.

“Citizens who wish to gather in the wake of Michael Brown’s tragic death have a constitutional right to do so, but they do not have the right to endanger lives of police officers or other citizens,” U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Perry wrote in her ruling, finding the tactic unconstitutional because it violated protesters’ freedom of speech rights, as well as due process.“The police must be able to perform their jobs, and nothing in this order restricts their ability to do that.”

This weekend will be a major test for local law enforcement, as officials have blamed out of town protesters and anarchist for much of the early violence during clashes between protesters and the police. But the mere presence of officers in riot gear and armed with automatic weapons, aggressively posturing, seemed to spur as much outrage among protesters as anything else.

On Wednesday afternoon, Attorney General Eric Holder joined former President Bill Clinton at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Arkansas to discuss the many lessons learned from the ongoing unrest in Ferguson. Since Ferguson erupted, Holder has visited the city and met with residents and city leaders. He has also called for a large-scale, national review of police bias, techniques and racial profiling.

The Justice Department currently has two open investigations in Ferguson, one on the Brown case and the other looking into the entire Ferguson police department.

“The events in Ferguson reminded us that we cannot and we must not allow tensions, which are present in so many neighborhoods across America, to go unresolved,” Holder said at the meeting.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART, 10/8/14, 10:47 AM ET

Ferguson and community policing discussions

Meanwhile, back in Ferguson, as Brown’s parents have renewed calls for Wilson’s immediate arrest, organizers have laid out an ambition series of demonstrations beginning Friday and ending Monday. The first scheduled action on Friday is a protest rally outside of McCulloch’s office in Clayton to demand that he recuse himself from the case. Another rally is scheduled for Saturday, this one in downtown St. Louis and billed as a “Justice for All” national march. On Sunday, hip hp artists, activists and faith leaders will join forces for a “Hip Hop and Hope” day of action, and the weekend’s events are scheduled to conclude on Monday with widespread civil disobedience actions throughout Ferguson and the St. Louis region.

“The main inspiration that has everyone so together is that Mike Brown Jr. laid out in the street for more than four hours and you can still see his blood right there stained in the street,” said Johnetta Elzie. “If you look past the roses laid out where he died his blood is still there, he is still there.”

“We are steadfast,” she added. “This was an awakening.”