We are eager to support any effort that will push us closer to our community goals, however the Community Impact Team at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has identified some key need areas in our community. Special consideration will be given to innovations that tackle these gaps.
Ready Kids for Kindergarten
Kids must learn to read before they can read to learn. Start a lifetime of learning by providing children with high quality, early childhood learning programs.
- In 2011, only 50% of students were deemed Kindergarten ready by 7 districts in Dallas County.
- 60% North Texas Children do not attend preschool.
Engage Students in STEM
Investing in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education lays the groundwork for future innovation and a strong economy. Over half of all STEM related jobs don’t require an advance degree, but do require a basic working knowledge of these subjects.
- In 2010, only 74% of 10th graders passed the math and science TAKS test, with less than 20% earing commended scores.
- Less than one-third of U.S. eighth graders show proficiency in mathematics and science, yet STEM jobs are expected to number eight million within the next five years and more than two million of these will be newly created positions.
Building Personal Financial Capability
Access to high quality financial education classes, counseling, and/or coaching can make all the difference for low-to-moderate income families. Learning the tools and techniques to managing your family’s financial future is the first step to financial stability.
- According to the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), 39% of families in City of Dallas live in asset poverty, which means they would not be able to live above the federal poverty line for three consecutive months if the major source of family income were lost.
- 68% of Dallas residents have subprime credit scores and 16% don’t have a relationship with a mainstream financial institution.
Giving Kids the Tools to Save for the Future
Studies show that children with savings accounts are twice as likely to develop the expectation to attend college compared to children without savings accounts. Providing youth of all ages access high quality, evidence-based, age-appropriate financial education programming and access to college savings accounts give them the tools to build a better future.
- The average grade in the most recent Jump$tart Survey of Personal Financial Literacy for High School Students (2008) was an F (47.5%).
- 91% of undergraduates have at least one credit card, yet only 26% of teens report understanding credit card interest and fees.
Meet Employees Where they are with Financial Education
The workplace is a prime location for reaching adults with financial education. Training programs at work can be specifically designed to meet the skill needs of growing local industries.
- 48% of working-age individuals in Dallas lack education beyond high school, yet a growing number of living wage jobs require some form of post-secondary education.
Offer an Alternative to Payday Lending
Payday lenders prey on low-income individuals in our community, trapping them in a vicious cycle of debt. We need innovative programs, services, and/or products that extend credit, small-dollar loans, or small business loans to individuals who either have poor credit or would alternatively rely on payday lending institutions.
- The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) identifies “curb excessive payday and auto title loans” as one of three primary recommendations for improving financial stability in Texas.
- 68% of Dallas residents have subprime credit scores that typically disqualify them from accessing credit at mainstream financial institutions.
Connect workers with education and training needed for middle-skill jobs
Middle-skill jobs, which require education past high school but not a four year college degree, represent the fastest growing segment of jobs in the local economy. Nearly 42,000 middle-skill job openings are projected every year through 2018. The median hourly wage of middle-skill jobs is $24.47, so many offer good wages and a path to financial stability. Flexible training options, aligned with employer needs, to help more adults build basic skills and earn technical credentials at an accelerated pace would help increase the middle-skill workforce.
- Local employers have trouble finding skilled workers for these middle-skill positions. In healthcare, many middle-skill positions take 50% longer to fill than the regional average duration for open positions.
- In Texas, middle-skill jobs account for 55 percent of total jobs, but only 43 percent of the state’s workers are trained to the middle-skill level. In this region, too many adults lack even the basic academic skills required to start middle-skill job training. Approximately, 950,000 or 22% of the DFW adult population lack a high school diploma.
Address Mental Health in Mothers, Infants and Children
Mental health is so often not discussed – particularly in mothers, infants and children. We need solutions to build awareness, education and community coordination around the treatment of co-occurring medical and behavioral health issues in women and children.
- The Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project of 2002 found that 48 percent of mothers reported enough depressive symptoms to be considered depressed at the time of their enrollment in the project. Many depressed mothers also suffer from co-occurring conditions such as domestic violence and substance abuse.
- Zero To Three and the Handbook on Infant Mental Health describe in detail the importance of emotional, social and mental development on the overall health of infants and children.
Access to Care
Accessing healthcare is a giant hurdle for many members of our community. We particularly need solutions to lower that bar for low-income adults and seniors and high-risk/high-need populations (including, but not limited to Hispanics, Individuals with disabilities, and Veterans).
- With over one-third of adults in North Texas uninsured. The health of this population is integral to the health of our community. Seniors account for eight percent of the population in United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ service area and the need within this population will continue to increase as baby boomers continue to shift into older age brackets.
- The United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Blue Ribbon Commission emphasized the specific needs of these populations in their report. There is need for culturally and linguistically sensitive care, education, and support of these populations.