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Part 2: A Year Back in America

Over the last year here in Atlanta, I've been busy with so many new beginnings: new city, new work, new home; and new life. It has been exciting to make new friends, get involved in new projects and seek new places and people to serve.

In my 20 year absence, American has changed so much:

  • The American labor market is smaller, younger, multicultural and many lack health insurance. As the baby boomers continue to retire over 55 million jobs will be created where most will be unfilled;

  • Our aging population continues to grow as people 65 and over are expected to increase to almost 20% and persons 80 and over are expected to increase to 19.5%. These numbers will increase the health care costs; specifically long-term care in nursing homes and home health care;

  • The middle class has shrunk dramatically and is shrinking fast daily. For the first time in 40 years, the middle class is no longer the majority in the USA; most negatively impacted are older Americans and people of color as well as Americans without a college degree;

  • Our economy is no longer driven by manufacturing as we have outsourced these jobs to other countries and/ or chose automation;

  • 19 of the 40 fastest growing occupations over the next several years will typically require some form of post-secondary education / qualification;

  • Over 55 million young people – 14 to 24 – are disconnected from society; most haven’t completed high school, have been incarcerated, unemployed, and living in poverty. With long spells of disconnection they face lower wages, higher incarceration and unemployment rates, worse health and many have children living in poverty. It’s costing American federal taxpayers over $26.8 billion a year;

  • The majority of children in America are living in poverty, not meeting basic milestones in a range of human development and educational levels;

  • While Atlanta is the birth place to Dr. MLK, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement, home to the country’s most prestigious HBCUs, a magnet for professionals of color, headquarters for nearly 30 Fortune 1000 companies that collectively generate $360 billion a year, YET, it’s one of the most difficult places in America for children in low-income families to climb out of poverty, especially children of color;

  • We now live in a society filled with fear, xenophobia, hatred, exclusion, and ignorance about the impacts of poverty and inequality to our economy.

  • and the now The American Dream is just an urban legend...a myth no one believes in anymore.

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