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


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


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.

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.