Local program aims to improve lack of upward mobility in NC

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A study indicates that just because the state’s future looks bright, doesn’t mean the economic status will change.

That’s according to a new economic mobility study. One program in eastern Carolina is trying to break the cycle.

“It’s changing me as the little bad boy who I used to be fighting a lot, into this guy who’s out here doing something positive and taking care of things as a man should,” said Paul Paige, a program participant.

Greenville-native Paige wants to better himself for his family. He’s trying to make a good living and provide for his daughters.

According to a report by the MDC in Durham, it’s harder to move up financially in North Carolina, compared to other states in the nation.

The study’s findings show most children born to low-income families will never reach middle class.

“Not surprised that it’s tough,” commented Dr. Jim Kleckley, an East Carolina University professor.

Kleckley said it’s hard to find jobs in rural counties. For jobs that are available, it can be hard to fill the positions.

“You need at least a high school education if you don’t have that it’s tough… Most jobs are going to require more than that. Either community college or four-year degree, some are even graduate school,” noted Kleckley.

Kleckley said a lot of issues stem from decisions made by the legislature. Therefore, communities have to step up.

One local program is doing just that.

“We’re out here offering employment opportunities and employment experience to a group of young guys who might not otherwise get the opportunity,” said Jermaine McNair, of NC Civil.

A local nonprofit, NC Civil, has a new initiative and it aims to set young men up for future success.

“It’s my way of creating as many opportunities as I can to connect business opportunities to young people so they can begin growing,” said McNair.

As for Paige, he’s happy to be a part of this new program and is grateful for the opportunity.

If you would like to help with this program, or recommend someone, click here. You can also email McNair at http://mrjmcnair@nccivil.org

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