Monday, November 15, 2010

More government, or more maps?

I encourage you to review this news release and report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy, titled: Multi-State Metropolitan Areas Face Unique Challenges and Require Innovative Solutions to Meet National College Completion Goals. The study recommends " the creation of an Educational Zone Governance Organization (EZ-GO) Commission"

Do we need one more layer of government bureaucracy? What if a network of non profits were created that used maps to show all the places where programs need to be in places to better prepare youth for college, and better support them into jobs and careers? Below is a "mentoring-to-careers" chart created by the Tutor/Mentor Connection. It shows a long-term strategy that requires many owners, from business, higher education, government, the faith community and more.

The "mentoring to careers" graphic includes a map showing all of Chicago. Below is an example of how small parts of the region can be mapped, to encourage local collaboration. In this case we're showing the 7th Congressional District which has huge gaps between rich and poor. The map shows the places where industry, higher education, public leaders and citizens can work together to create first-grade to work mentoring, tutoring and learning strategies. You can create your own map like this using the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator's Interactive map.

Instead of creating one more layer of government decision makers, we propose funding for map-based portals that enable volunteers, donors, business leaders, etc. to choose what areas they want to support, based on where they do business, or where employees and/or customers are located, and based on where the need for education-to-careers support is greatest.

With the map on the internet, any leader can use this Role of Leaders strategy to mobilize volunteers and donors and point them to a wide range of programs, in many different parts of the Chicago region, or the Midwest.

This does not need to cost millions of dollars. The T/MC Program Locator was created for under $50,000 and we're spending less than $50,000 a year to manage it. That's far too low for a city like Chicago, but it is far less than we'll spend if we add another layer of government over-site.

Visit Mapping Solutions at Webster Wine Bar between Nov. 15 and Nov. 27 to see some of our maps. Come to the reception on Wednesday, Nov. 17 from 6-10pm and meet myself and Mike Trakan, our GIS map maker. Learn how you can help keep this strategy available in Chicago as a model for the world.

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