Charlotte faces a triple challenge and opportunity.
The city has a major documented upward mobility problem for its at-risk minority teens;
There are thousands of well paying construction jobs but not enough trained, skilled craft professionals with the necessary postsecondary education to fill them; and
There are no viable high school construction career and technical education programs to fill these family sustaining jobs.
First, a 2013 Harvard study found Charlotte ranked last in economic upward mobility among the largest 50 U.S. cities—specifically the ability of a child born in the bottom income quintile to rise to the top quintile as an adult.
Second, a 2016 Survey by the Department of Commerce found that a majority of construction companies in NC had hiring difficulties – especially prevalent in the carpentry (60%) and electrical (53%) industries. With 33,000 new NC construction related trade job openings projected by 2024 (11,000 alone in Mecklenburg County), current training pipelines will be inadequate to meet this demand. In addition, the aging construction workforce continues to retire in laerge numbers.
Third, school systems discontinued youth construction programs almost 30 years ago due to budget constraints. In addition, school systems around the country took on an erroneous assumption that every student should be on a 4-year university track, regardless of that students learning ability or interest. This "one size fits all" emphasis has led to damaging results whereby too many low income students either drop out or barely graduate only to then take on enormous amounts of predatory for-profit college debt.