April 27, 2015

Stacked NDC Academy LogoCongratulations to Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc on being selected as a semi-finalist in the Job Creation Category for the NDC Academy Awards 2015. The NDC Academy Awards Semi-Finalists represent some of the most innovative and impactful developments changing the lives for residents in underserved communities across the country, NDC is honored to highlight the achievements of these organizations at the NDC Academy 2015.

Economic Prosperity Center – Tampa, FL

Corporation to Develop Communities (CDC) of Tampa, Inc. subscribes to an expansive approach to job creation that acknowledges the essential ingredient to easing the bonds of financial strain is employment; however, employment alone does not lead to self-sufficiency and sustainable community revitalization. As such, CDC of Tampa, Inc. harnesses the resources and expertise of eighteen (18) local organizations under the auspices of a collective impact initiative entitled, “Economic Prosperity Center” (EPC). The EPC, located at four sites throughout the county, fully encompasses a multi-faceted continuum of three core service areas with a focus on job creation, self-sufficiency, and personal wealth: 1. Employment Placement and Career Advancement; 2. Financial Coaching and Counseling; and 3. Income Supports. Taken together, these three core services, known as integrated, bundled services help move low-income families along a continuum of improvements aimed at ultimately increasing their net income and worth through job creation, long-term job retention, and improved financial behaviors. In addition to the provision of job skills training and placement, the EPC also addresses the ongoing financial needs of an individual and/or family. Many consumers of the EPC rely upon check cashing and payday loan businesses. Doing so reduces their income and spending power, thereby decreasing their ability to maximize their newly generated income. Individuals are also unaware of resources that may aid them in creating and attaining savings goals and homeownership. Helping individuals harness financial knowledge increases their personal wealth. As barriers to employment are mitigated through the EPC, job placement and retention become highly viable. The concurrent financial coaching and income supports equip EPC consumers with the tools to establish long-term financial goals that support their ability to invest in a sustainable future.

The EPC model is responsive to workforce needs of Hillsborough County. As of July 2014, the unemployment rate in the Tampa-St Pete area was 6.8%. The rate masks the struggle of those who remain unemployed or who are underemployed and earning a low to modest wage and incapable of building wealth and assets. The multiplier effect of unemployment compounds issues plaguing the area such as high rates of foreclosures, vacancies, crime and decreased consumer spending.  The EPC target areas represent the lowest income neighborhoods throughout Hillsborough County. Over 75% of the population are minority residents and, unlike the surrounding communities, the area has drastically lower income rates and much higher levels of unemployment. The target areas represent the lowest income areas with a per capita average household income of only $11,059.The poverty rate for the area is higher than more than 90% of neighborhoods across the US. Those who are employed in the area are often considered the working poor and labeled underemployed. In Hillsborough, a county known for its tourists and service industries, underemployment is prevalent and continues to persist. The pool of candidates seeking a job is also disproportionately skewed with the majority of service industry workers lacking the skills to secure a higher paying, high skilled job.

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