Monday, December 20, 2010

Map Gallery: Chicago Business

Helping Businesses Invest in Tomorrow's Workforce

The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart. - President Barack Obama 1/20/2009

(Part 8 of T/MC's 2010 "Mapping Solutions" online gallery)

The holiday bustle is intensifying a bit this week - if the crowds joining me on my commuter train into the city, to do last minute holiday shopping I presume, are any indication.

Like everyone else, I'm hopeful these shoppers somehow provide a jolt to this rough economy.

I'm told however, that we can't rely on holiday shoppers alone to bail us out of this economic mess. Charles Hugh Smith at reminds us that,

"Holiday retail sales are a modest 3.4% of the U.S., economy, and seems the importance of holiday retail sales in the economy is being overstated."

Bummer. He continues,

"If we really want to assess the health of the economy, perhaps we should focus on the numbers that reflect the big picture, such as employment, capital investment and personal incomes."

As we've seen this month on this blog, the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) "Mapping Solutions" map gallery contains sample maps that show how T/MC data and strategies can be used by politicians, faith-based leaders, and media, to make our streets safer, and address the cost of unemployment and poverty to taxpayers.

We also have a selection of maps that show where the business community can invest in tutoring and mentoring to help talented kids who are lost in high-poverty neighborhoods reach their academic potential, become more employable, and ultimately put dollars into their pockets and in turn, into the economy.

This map above (click on the map above to enlarge) shows all area banks, in relation to high poverty, poorly-performing students, and known tutor/mentor programs.

Banks can take the lead investing in tutor/mentor programs, long-term, as part of their own human capital development. They can also lead an ongoing effort to recruit talented, dedicated staff and volunteers who will make long-term commitments to being part of such programs. Read more about strategies for businesses here.

As Dan Bassill, president of T/MC explains,

"We're encouraging a mix of philanthropy, volunteering, and workforce development.

"We want companies to invest in strategies that connect employee volunteers with kids in elementary school, so that they influence reading, writing, critical thinking, and learning habits.

"We want these companies to stay connected to these same kids through middle school, high school and even college, so they can influence work aspirations, and provide a range of part time jobs, internships and scholarships, that assure more youth from poverty neighborhoods are working in their companies, or are their customers, when the kids are adults.

"Most of all, we want them to develop strategies that reach youth in all areas where they do business, or where employees might live, not just in a few chosen places where they might have a high profile involvement."

We can easily map other industries beside banks, but chose to unleash a group of Loyola University GIS students on the banking sector. Thanks to them for collecting and ensuring the accuracy of this bank data.

Check back this week for new samples of T/MC business maps, and another look at how we are helping you and your business network invest in tomorrow's workforce, for the good of our economy.

If you feel T/MC mapping technologies are important


We at Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) have spent the past several years using maps to identify and analyze areas of our city where support for at-risk youth needs to grow, in order to make our students brighter, our workforce stronger, and our streets safer.

We operate on a non-profit budget and rely on donations and charity to continue our work, using state-of-the-art GIS technologies in support of our community-based mission.

Please consider a small tax-deductible donation to this important charity this holiday season.

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