A Network Focused on Changing the Odds for Low-Income Students in Little Rock

The City of Little Rock has been selected to participate in MDC’s Network for Southern Economic Mobility. The purpose of this initiative is to create systematic changes so we can help our young people get the education they need in order to build a career with a living wage for them and their families. Ultimately, we are focused on developing the next generation of workers.

We have had monthly meetings since November 2017 and collaborated with more than 350 leaders in the community and 150 young people so far. Our process is strategic, data-driven, innovative, and inclusive. Our goal is to co-create an integrated action plan for Little Rock by the end of 2018 that prioritizes high-level changes; identifies policies, partners, and funding; and clarifies key outcome measures. Please join us!

What we've learned so far.

In May, we compiled current findings and recommendations from our previous meetings over the past few months and presented it in Spartanburg to the cohort. Please review to understand where our collaboration and action plan stands.


NSEM Next Meeting in November - Doodle Poll

Now NSEM is preparing for a convening in November to report and discuss what we think we heard and learned over the past year from conversations with over 500 Little Rock students, teachers, counselors, employers, principals, social service workers, public service, nonprofits, foundations and law enforcement people in the community. We have been mining a lot of data and studying what others are doing all over the US to fix the leaking pipeline in Little Rock from middle school to living wage employment.

It’s time to share our findings and get your input on them, change them, and even expand upon them, as we move to an Integrated Action Plan that we can implement before the end of 2019.

If you are interested in this process and want to contribute to the effort, please mark the Doodle Poll with the times you could make a meeting the week of November 12th.

Take the Doodle Poll

A BIG Thank You to Bruce Moore and Jay Chesshir for continuing the Little Rock City and the Little Rock Regional Chamber’s financial contribution to this work for year two!


June Meeting


Disconnected Youth Deep Dive. What we know about the Disconnected Youth in Little Rock: There are 26,900 14-24 year olds in Little Rock and 5,499 (~20%) of them are not in school or working, according to the NSEM data team. Before NSEM can complete our Integrated Action Plan, we need to know more about this group of 5,499 young people in Little Rock.

Meeting Notes

May Meeting


Meeting in Spartanburg with Savannah, GA and Spartanburg, SC Cohort: Little Rock's NSEM Team presented what will be different in Little Rock because of our work. We will co-create an equitable, durable system of economic mobility in Little Rock that connects rewarding and family-supporting work to our youth and young adults who start at the bottom of the income ladder. We also presented the findings of our focus groups with 150 young people in Little Rock.

Meeting Notes

April Meeting


In April the LR NSEM Team conducted focus groups with employers, youth service workers and counselors in high schools and Little Rock’s community college, UA-PTC.

Meeting Notes
1. Bruce Moore, City Manager 2. Cory Anderson, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation 3. Kristi Barr, Little Rock Regional Chamber 4. Jay Barth, Professor and State Ed Board Member 5. Patrick Bruce, NLRSD Career Tech 6. Jay Chesshir, LR Regional Chamber 7. Nate Coulter, Central Arkansas Library System 8. Dana Dossett, City of LR Community Programs 9. Margaret Ellibee, UA-Pulaski Tech 10. Joyce Elliott, State Senator 11. Anna Beth Gorman, Women’s Foundation of Arkansas 12. Gabrielle Graves – Welspun Human Resources 13. Bryan Griffith, City of Little Rock 14. Ken Hubbell, ActionCraft Company 15. Summer Khairi, UAMS 16. Marla Johnson, Aristotle Inc. 17. Lorenzo Lewis, BMOST 18. Miguel Lopez, First Community Bank 19. Sarah McBroom, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation 20. Mia Meadows, Chief Impact Officer, Teach for America Mississippi & Arkansas. 21. WJ Monagle, Workforce Development 22. Buckley O’Mell, Little Rock Regional Chamber 23. Zach Perrine, UAPTC Enrollment 24. Mark Perry, Formerly with New Futures for Youth and Arkansas Baptist College 25. Mike Poore, Little Rock School District 26. Nathan Thomas, Think Big Little Rock and Clinton Foundation 27. Kara Wilkins, Think Big Little Rock and Delta Dental 28. Kim Williams, LR High School Counselor 29. Donald Wood, Just Communities of Arkansas

Thank you for your commitment to improving Little Rock's economic mobility.