On June 2, 2017, the three principles of the Apopka Task Force on Violence will present their report at a National Conference on violence in the black community. The report, presented originally in December, 2016, found that it will take almost $2 million of taxpayer money funneled through a still unnamed high quality and reputable not for profit, for a 5 pronged attack on violence.
Throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars and reinventing the wheel with a myriad of new and unproven government programs is not the answer because there are many programs already in place run by local churches and businesses that stand ready and willing to help.
One supposition of the Report is that CRA housing is one answer. Why push a government program that one of the principles of the Violence Report appears to have a huge stake in, whether financial or political? While decent housing is certainly a weapon in the war on crime, why not work with Habitat for Humanity which is already building 58 affordable homes in the South Apopka community? Push to work with them on more affordable housing communities and other projects.
What about jobs? In this City, when presented with companies offering real jobs and opportunities wanting to come to our area, all we hear from community leaders are howls of protest about “dirty Jobs”. Those “dirty Jobs” people turn their noses up at are good paying, high quality, high tech manufacturing jobs with excellent futures. Most WILL provide training to those who are willing to put in the time to train and learn. These holier-than-thou self appointed leaders of “South Apopka” should do a little more practical research into private organizations and businesses who already have proven jobs training programs. Check out:
Machining Training Solutions in Longwood, a leader in skills training with an innovative program called “80 to Work”. After two weeks of intensive training, a person with little or no skills is ready to work and become a productive, contributing employee to a manufacturer almost immediately. Other training programs are also available, and MANY are paid for by potential employers. These programs offers job and life skills that will transfer from job to job. Many machine shops and fabricators in our area are desperate for workers and many are willing to TRAIN people willing to work. THESE are the type of jobs that will present REAL pay, real benefits and REAL futures. Also, check out all the educational and employment resources the Manufacturer’s Association of Central Florida have to offer to those willing to put a little effort into their lives.
Work with some of our top employers right here in Apopka, like Qurvo, Collins Manufacturing ; Mullinax Ford, as well as exploring the many opportunities opening up in Apopka with the New Wekiva Plaza, the Kelly Park Crossings, and other fine opportunities. Nothing is quick or easy; people will need to work hard and be patient! People must be willing to learn and show respect to employers and teachers. Many hospitals, including Florida Hospital offer training opportunities leading to fulfilling careers. Work with the UCF Incubator or even the Chamber of Commerce to seek out opportunities instead of creating new, expensive and unproven government programs .
Education and jobs go hand in hand; As for Education opportunities, don’t wait for them, go out and get them. Work with the School Board and school parent organizations. Reach out to these local churches and organizations and see what they are willing to do, or already doing, without having a carrot of taxpayer money dangled in front of them. Stop the duplicate efforts of programs already in place, tripping over each other in the process. Stop making excuses, “I can’t”; “I’m poor”; “people are racist”; “no one will give me a chance”. THESE are the type of excuses that stop a productive life in its tracks. Check out Junior Achievement, which according to its website “fosters work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, and uses experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential”. They also provide the training, materials, and support necessary to bolster the chances for student success. Business people and other volunteers share their workforce experience with students, all while teaching sound economic principles and reinforcing class curricula.
All of these programs and more are available for a fraction of the $2 million price tag being proposed in the Task Force Report. If you really want to help these kids, stop throwing out generic and non-specific feel-good programs. Stop holding conferences and forums where self-important theories are discussed, but nothing ever gets done. Instead look into real world solutions for these problems; solutions that are already in place and stand ready to serve, if asked.