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Is a Lean Economy Turning Mean?

At United Way Capital Area, we’re focused on changing community conditions. A recent article from the New York Times illustrates the struggles that hard working families are facing all across the country and are similar to the struggles of many here in Central Texas.

“You’re used to making $17 an hour with benefits, and now you have to take any job for $8 an hour,” Ms. Flennaugh says. On a recent afternoon, she sat in front of a computer terminal at an employment center in a gritty part of town, scrolling dejectedly through online job listings while sending another batch of applications into the ether.

“I’ve literally sat and cried, but my friends with double degrees are doing worse,” she says. “It’s the economy. It’s really bad.”

Now, it’s getting tougher — particularly for those at the lower rungs of the economic ladder, and especially for African-Americans like Ms. Flennaugh. As the economy slows and perhaps slides deeper into a recession that may already be under way, communities like this — cities that have long struggled with a shortage of jobs — see work becoming scarcer still.

In order to address the needs of these hard-working families and individuals, the United Way Capital Area Financial Stability focus area is helping Central Texans gain the knowledge and tools they need to become financially stable through employment, housing, and financial management initiatives.

Capital IDEA, a UWCA funded agency, exemplifies the type of employment initiatives needed to address these issues. Capital IDEA provides educational sponsorship, financial assistance, case management, and counseling to those enrolled in higher education to complete degrees in high-need, high-paying occupations.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on how the recent shifts in the economy are affecting you and your loved ones here in Central Texas.

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