What barriers keep Jefferson Davis Corridor neighbors from finding work or advancing in their careers?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Center for Economic Studies, there are 14,818 jobs along the JDC. The greatest share of jobs is in manufacturing (3484), followed by management of companies (1750). Of the jobs available, more than half (59%) actually pay $40,000 or more per year.
Yet, of the jobs along the corridor, nearly all of them—14,674—are filled by people who live outside the JDC.
Several recent studies on intergenerational poverty and upward mobility have explored the link between poverty and commute time, finding that the longer an individual has to travel for work, the greater the likelihood they are living in poverty.
A 2018 Community Listening process revealed that Jefferson Davis Corridor neighbors are concerned with these issues related to employment:
Returning Citizens' Access to Jobs
Recruitment Along the Corridor
In regards to finding a job and employment barriers:
JDC residents want jobs close to their house or apartment (37%) or close to public transportation (32%)
JDC residents identified not enough jobs on the JDC as the biggest barrier to employment (22%), followed by not knowing which businesses are hiring and no transportation (bus or car access), both at 19%.
In 2019, RVA Thrives and Community Advocates are conducting focus groups and surveys with employers to understand hiring practices as they relate to people with employment barriers.
We are also conducting surveys and focus groups with job seekers along the corridor to better understand which employment barriers affect them (i.e., language, criminal background, need for child care) and what types of jobs they are looking for.
This will help us better target resources to job seekers, and refer them to resources (some of which are new!) such as the Financial Opportunity Center, Goodwill’s co-located services at Sacred Heart Center, the Office of Community Wealth Building, and Virginia Career Works.
We believe that RVA Thrives Community Advocates, who are trusted resources in their communities, can help connect job seekers and the many employment resources available. We also may host a resource / job fair in the fall that is bilingual and addresses the common employment barriers JDC neighbors are facing.