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Charlotte Talks: Is Social Capital The 'Secret Sauce' To Improve Upward Mobility?

US Department of Education
via Flickr

Monday, May 7, 2018

Ongoing efforts to improve upward mobility have resulted in more attention being paid to social capital, the currency we use to make connections and get ahead.  Our deficit of that is being further hurt by segregation.  So, if you don’t have social capital, how do you get it?  How do make connections and forge relationships that will help you become upwardly mobile?  We take a closer look at what’s being done to address the problem.

In the ongoing efforts to improve upward mobility and economic opportunity in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, more attention is being paid to something called social capital. Combined with the impact of segregation, social capital is one of the determining factors - the so-called "secret sauce" - identified in the Leading on Opportunity report that influences an individual's ability to climb the economic ladder.

Social capital is the social currency we all use to get to our station in life - the relationships and networks that connect people with opportunities. But if you don't have social capital, how do you get it?

How do kids in high-poverty, low-opportunity neighborhoods gain access to the kinds of connections that can help them reach their dreams? Or - how do those of us within influential networks expand our reach and share this social currency with others?

We'll take a closer look at the concept of social capital and talk with https://vimeo.com/265398557" target="_blank">local community groups that are encouraging Charlotteans to connect with others beyond their familiar circles.


Dr. Stephanie Cooper-Lewter, Executive Director, Leading on Opportunity

Federico Rios, International and Integration Manager for the City of Charlotte. He's also a member of the Leading on Opportunity Council.

Molly Shaw, Executive Director, Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, an organization that connects students to resources and relationships

Related resources:

Leading on Opportunity Executive Summary

Leading on Opportunity focus on Social Capital 

Communities in Schools is encouraging listeners to share their social capital. To register, visit the Communities In Schools volunteer site.

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Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.