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UNCC research program will focus on community-led ideas for upward mobility

UNC System schools, including UNC Charlotte, announce they will only hold virtual classes after March 23rd
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UNC Charlotte is launching a new research program that pairs academics with community leaders to study opportunities for upward mobility.

The Community Innovation Incubator at UNCC will pair grassroots groups in Charlotte’s “corridors of opportunity” with researchers and students who can help devise solutions to community challenges. One example is a plan to develop community-owned food co-ops in the West Boulevard area, where access to healthy food is limited.

A $2.5 million grant from Bank of America is paying for the research partnership. It will also be used to expand a summer program that helps prepare students of color and first-generation college students to succeed at the university.

Chancellor Sharon Gaber says the efforts tie in with a broader community focus on breaking cycles of disadvantage.

Upward mobility has been a central theme in Charlotte’s civic life since a 2014 study ranked the city last out of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas for moving out of poverty.

"We’re pleased to be part of it and we really do think as this city’s public research university we play a vital role in changing social mobility in the community," Gaber said.

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Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.