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Chuck Vollmer is the author and founder of Jobenomics, which deals with the economics of business and job creation. The Jobenomics National Grassroots Movement’s goal is to facilitate creation of 20 million net new U.S. jobs within a decade. The Movement has a following of over 20 million people. Jobenomics has six books and produces quarterly employment and unemployment reports on economic, business and workforce development. Jobenomics national-level initiatives include the Energy Technology Revolution, Network Technology Revolution, Urban Mining and Urban Agriculture. Jobenomics.com had 6 million hits in the last 12-months, a growth rate of 400% over the last year. Today, over a dozen cities and states have started Jobenomics initiatives led by local community leaders. These initiatives focus on people at the base of America’s socioeconomic pyramid with emphasis on women, minorities, youth, veterans and citizens who want to work or start a business.
Jobenomics (Jobs + economics) deals with the process of creating and mass-producing small businesses and jobs. Jobenomics National Grassroots Movement’s goal is to facilitate creation of 20 million net new U.S. jobs within a decade. The Movement has a following of 20 million people. Jobenomics regularly updates its six books and numerous reports to keep its members current on the latest national and international economic, business and workforce development issues, trends and solutions. Jobenomics website had 6 million hits last year, a growth rate of 400% per year, which is indicative of the high level of interest in a new approach to economic, business and workforce development.
Jobenomics also provides advice and timely data to policy and decision-makers worldwide. Over the last few years, Jobenomics met with over a thousand government, business and community leaders to incorporate the best of their ideas and requirements into Jobenomics initiatives and programs. Today, a dozen communities have started Jobenomics initiatives led by local community leaders. Another dozen are in the pipeline. These initiatives focus on citizens at the base of America’s socioeconomic pyramid with emphasis on women, minorities, youth, veterans and other hopefuls who want to work or start a business. While Jobenomics is designed as an American business and job creation movement, there is significant interest from Asian, Middle East and African nations to start similar movements.
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Hugh Ballou: Greetings, it’s Hugh Ballou and Russell Dennis on this version of The Nonprofit Exchange. I have a dear, long-time friend who has been doing amazing work. Today I am traveling and in an airport with some noise, so I am going to be in the background and mute my mic. Russell, why don’t you take it over and be the primary interviewer and invite Chuck to share with us, would you please?
Russell Dennis: Greetings. Thank you, Hugh. As always, welcome everyone to The Nonprofit Exchange, the weekly podcast that brings you nonprofit leaders and thought leaders from around the world to talk about how to make your nonprofit better. Today, we are privileged to have Chuck Vollmer who is the creator of Jobenomics. I know you hear a lot of information on the news about the economy and about the job market. But what you won’t hear are the types of things that Chuck is talking about here. Mr. Vollmer, welcome, thank you for joining us.
Chuck Vollmer: Thank you, Russell.
Russell: I have found a nice long bio, but it always works better because they never do justice to the people that we see here. Tell our audience a little bit about yourself.
Chuck: Well, I define myself as three things. Triple oxymoron, if you will. 1) I am a dedicated Christian. 2) I am a serial entrepreneur. 3) I am a hardened combat fighter pilot. Jobenomics started about ten years ago and is somewhere between a ministry and a mission. We focus on small business creation and job creation at the base of the social economic pyramid. Our specialty is working with minorities, women, generation Z, which we call screenagers, the kids who spend all their time on the screen, and veterans because we think those are the demographics that are most in need. We have quite a library of about nine different books that I’ve written, and we have 18 city initiatives that really revolve around community development and urban renewal.
Russell: Chuck, what was the big driving motivation behind Jobenomics? What was it that really hit you at the core that said, “You know what? I don’t like what I see. Something different has to happen. I need to do it.” What was that that drove you there?
Chuck: As I started off, it started in prayer. I don’t want to overspiritualize things. Being a fighter pilot, it would be an anti-establishment guy, so it is unusual for me to have God into it. I was on one of the presidential campaigns back in 2007. I was led to write a book about economic security. The presidential campaign that I was on an advisory group, it was national security. Since I was an ex-fighter pilot and a corporate executive, said the gender dynamics, I had a lot of experience with airplanes and tanks and weapons. I also spent about ten years in the Middle East. I had a pretty good handle on what was happening after 9/11.
But the serial entrepreneur part of it, I was actually in New York City briefing a bunch of Wall Street executives, and they said, “Why don’t you write a book?” I said, “I really don’t think so.” I prayed about it. Unfortunately, when you pray about things, sometimes you get an answer. In this case, I did get an answer. He said, “Go ahead and do it.” I wrote the first book out of nine. Figured I could go to Capitol Hill, which I did about 20 times. Actually, Hugh went with me in a couple of meetings on Capitol Hill. I thought that it would just love my intellectual capability. Both the Democrats and Republicans showed me the door. They were not interested in the centrist approach to small business and job creation at the base of the pyramid, the social economic pyramid. We essentially went to the governors and got a little bit more interest. The real interest came from the mayors and the community leaders in the inner cities. They were fed up that nothing is working for them. Our unconventional approach to small business creation and microbusiness creation does appeal to a lot of community leaders in the inner cities. We have about 18 different activities going in different cities. That is a long-winded answer to your short question. Let me stop there.
Russell: That is amazing, Chuck. I remember Henry Kissinger saying that the absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously. I think that may have been where some of those local leaders, you are working in some communities that have been hit pretty hard. You went to them with this quite a while ago, but there seems to be a little bit of resistance to it. Why do you think there is so much resistance to these ideas that can really create impact and change that no one is talking about?
Chuck: If you consider white a color, a lot of times and places I go, I am the only guy of color in the meeting. There is a resistance about somebody that presents themselves as a middle-aged white rich guy, kind of Trump-esque, when you go in the inner city. There is an immediate “Why are you here?” Once I start meeting with them and start laying out our concept about a community-based business generator and how to mass produce business… You see, if I produce one net new job in the rich ‘burbs, I have created one job. But if I go in a very depressed inner city and create that one new net job, not only do I create one job, but I also reduce the poverty rate and take a big step to reducing the crime and providing. I have a triple impact in the inner city. The inner city guys are very open to a self-empowerment strategy. But then once that happens, you have to get a coalition together. We work on these coalitions. Then the coalition in the inner city comes up against other coalitions. The other coalitions in the inner city are very established.
There is a lot of competition for the few resources in the inner city. I think what differentiates us is that we have some turnkey programs that could make our programs self-financing. For example, in Baltimore, we went to West Baltimore and there was a number of community leaders that took me all through West Baltimore. West Baltimore is one of the hardest hit areas in the country. The coalition, but they came up against other competing ideas of how to do it. Again, we are not distraught at all about the difficulties that we had because we change the dialogue. We change the dialogue to self-empowerment, how to mass produce, how to create initiatives. Baltimore for example, we wanted to create 100,000 new jobs in the inner city.
I just got back from Chicago, and the two worst hit neighborhoods are Austin and Inglewood. I went into Austin, and a bunch of community leaders, I probably got 50 community leaders working with me now—I am supporting them, let’s put it that way—about how to create thousands of jobs and hundreds of microbusinesses. It is one of the hardest hit neighborhoods. I am working with their aldermen and their city councilmen and the mayor and the governor. There is a lot of money in both Baltimore and in places in Chicago.
We are working in Atlanta, in Detroit, those types of places, that are interested in creating minority-owned businesses. To me, that is the only way that the problems in the inner cities are going to be solved: mass producing sustainable microbusinesses and focusing on the skill levels that are most skill levels. That is what we are doing. It’s a process, not an event. I am very pleased the way things are going right now in the inner cities because there is a lot of excitement about it and a lot of debate and a lot of buy-in that needs to go on. What I need is a guy like Hugh Ballou who is the maestro to come in with me right now and orchestrate the cacophony that I seem to be able to create.
Russell: This is a lot of what you’re doing, not only create businesses for people, which is sustainable, but you take other things into consideration like the environment. The things that you’re doing are serving the community in its entirety. Those are some of your larger projects. Talk a little bit about how sustaining and cleaning up the environment in these areas plays into bringing about a recovery.
Chuck: Jobs don’t create jobs; businesses do. Small businesses today create about 80% of all new businesses in this last decade, which is amazing with the austere environment because everybody in Washington really wants to cater to big business. Whether it’s a Democrat or Republican, they tend to look for the big business. The big business really hasn’t created all that many new jobs. With the new tax cuts, businesses are going to use that to make money on money. They will buy back stock and invest in secondary market and those types of things. Small businesses get a little extra money, they hire, and they tend to hire the unemployed. The whole notion of minority-owned businesses is the way to change the paradigm on the inner cities.
You mentioned energy. We have three areas: jobs don’t create jobs; businesses do, but businesses really focus on satisfying a current need. There are three broad categories. The first is filling the six million open jobs today. Those six million open jobs, we know where they are. We do a quarterly report that is about 300 pages on where the jobs are and what jobs are needed and where the skill levels are needed. Matching those to a skills-based training program that we have, we have access to about 9,000 skills-based training programs that are all federally certified. That is the first area. The second area is the digital economy. The emerging digital economy will create tens of millions of jobs. That is really where we focus on the net savvy digital age screenager types of people.
The third big area is the energy. We have programs like solar panel installation and maintenance. We have construction and demolition, environmental remediation. We have weatherization and programs. We have a number of programs that are involved with energy efficiency that not only creates green jobs. By the way, the digital economy is green jobs. Those are all green-related kind of jobs. We focus on those three broad areas for jobs. It’s filling the existing jobs and the new jobs are becoming available to the energy technology revolution and the digital technology revolution. We have written a book on all three of those areas. What we do is try to tailor it to the inner cities. We provide all that information and show them that when you go to the decision makers and the policy makers, there is some research and logic behind this to get these started.
Russell: The research and the Jobenomics report, just to quote your report, is phenomenal. There is stuff, there is comments. The way that they count unemployment really doesn’t account for the majority of people that are actually out there. Talk a little bit about some of these quarterly reports that you do. I have not seen anything like them anywhere. If somebody really wants to get a good handle on what is happening, they will want to read these reports. How much are people in leadership positions in Washington reading these reports? Are they resisting them? What sort of responses and feedback do you get from these reports because they are brilliant?
Chuck: Again, thank you. First of all, for the people listening to this, you can go to jobenomics.com. Go to the presentation tab, and you can download these reports for free. We have 30,000 people that download these every month. That is quite a few.
As far as the policy-makers and decision-makers, we tend to focus more on the community leaders, those decision leaders. We get it to them and expose them to this information. Then they ask us to work with them to develop a plan specifically for their neighborhoods. The two reports you talk about is the comprehensive employment and our comprehensive unemployment. The first one is about 175 pages long, and it is updated every quarter. The unemployment is about 150 pages, updated quarterly. The employment shows you where the jobs are in the fastest growing industries and what we just talked about. The unemployment is equally important because it looks at why people are leaving the work force at twice the rate that they are entering the work force.
In the inner cities, if you look at them, the first thing we do is draw a map in each neighborhood or every census track and look at the household income. Usually, for example in Erie, Pennsylvania, in the heart of the inner city, it’s a city of about 100,000 people, the inner city is their household income is only about $11,000. About a mile away, the average
Hope in American dream is that they tend to turn to welfare or they tend to work to the underground economy for a living. That is why the reported household income is so- You have to deal with the issues of why people are not joining the traditional work environment. We tailor our programs to do that. In the inner cities, especially in the low skilled areas, a plumber makes more than a Ph. D now. The people in the inner cities, if they don’t have a lot of hope in the traditional economy, they are more likely to turn to the underground economy, the illegal economy, than try to produce some business.
A lot of people ask me, they say, “In the inner city, these people are not motivated.” That’s not true. First of all, if you go to a job fair in the inner city, I was at one in Camden, New Jersey about two years ago because I was helping sponsor it. There was probably 5,000 people in the line. To get the 50 jobs that are there was like winning the lotto. This is a backward way of doing it. If I could teach these guys to certify a skill and certify them within weeks or a month, that is a lot higher probability. They just don’t know that this is available because we are always talking about getting a college education. That is a bridge too far for 90% of people that are financially distressed. We say our program, if I can certify somebody in a skill within months and in a career within a year, then that is a different prospect. Especially if it ends up with a minority-owned business that is anchored in the inner city. Unfortunately, the people in the inner city who are successful, the first thing they do is move out.
Russell: Yeah. You are looking at communities that are hardest hit. I know they are open to that. No two communities are exactly the same although you have the same types of problems. Talk a little bit about the variety of some of these projects and which ones fit better in some parts of the country than they do in others.
Chuck: Let’s take West Baltimore versus Erie, Pennsylvania versus Phoenix, Arizona. The Baltimore effort was focused on creating about 100,000 jobs in the inner cities. That’s about how much they have lost over the last decade or two. We are talking about within the next 5-8 years to create that number of jobs. It’s a doable thing. In Baltimore, there are six medical centers. You have Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland.
One of our initiatives is a direct care initiative. A direct care tends to be focused on older particularly women. Their basic skill is a maternal skill. Direct care can mean child care, elder care, and behavioral care. Behavioral care is a really big one. 40% of all the new jobs that are going to be out in the next decade are going to be in direct care. For example, behavioral care, if I could teach somebody to start an in-home business or an at-home business or provide in-home care, and behavioral care has got to do with smoking succession, obesity, sickle cell anemia, diabetes, weight loss. If I can create them with a program that they can go in and do counseling services for these people, but also be equipped with a pad or a PDA or a smart phone that is connected to a Nova Health or these medical centers so they go in and they have a prescribed program to work with, like a weight loss program. If they need additional help, the person has got diabetes because of their weight, they can connect to a doctor or physician’s assistant right there and take care of the problem immediately. That is a direct care one.
Another one was that Baltimore has got 30,000 derelict homes. It’s really the city is trying to plow them down and make green space, make parks out of them. That’s a dumb way of doing it. I went to an investment group, and they said, “If you can get to the city of Baltimore that owns these 30,000 derelict homes and create that as collateral, we can put together a $100 million microbusiness loan to start businesses, and we can do manual deconstruction rather than hiring some outside firm to come in with bulldozers and knock everything down and clear it out. But we can take the things down.” I can certify a guy to string a hammer within weeks. That sounds facetious, but it isn’t. In about three or four weeks, I can certify them how to do a jackhammer. In a couple weeks, to do a caterpillar or a Bobcat tractor thing. We take these down, and I can use the aggregates for roadfill and work they are doing in the harbor. I can take the electronics or the relay of the wiring, the HVA systems, to reclaim that for a program we call East Cycling USA that we started that can retrieve the raw materials. I can create renovation businesses because not all these houses need to come down; some just need to be upgraded. Now you upgrade them either through weatherization or solar panels. There is a manufacturing deconstruction.
Then in Baltimore, we have several others. We have a digital economy one, and we also had a collaboration with Under Armor that was going to invest $139 million in community development. They were going to make parks because Under Armor is building a $26 billion R&D. The inner city guys fought against them. The reason they fought it was because the NAACP and the ACLU fought. They were only going to give 5% of the direct work force to the inner city people. So I said to the NAACP and the ACLU, “Why even bother for 5% of the 30%? If you go after the indirect work force, which means the shopkeepers and the entertainment and the lodging and the transportation guys, that’s five times as many jobs. You just had $139 million to create the service industry to support the direct care guys.” That gives you an example in Baltimore.
In Phoenix, that’s entirely different. The guy who is leading our Phoenix effort is a two-time ex-con. Phoenix has become a gateway city for the drug cartels. Since the poor security is up now and the drug cartels are getting a lot smarter, why try to get our drugs across the border? Why don’t we recruit at-risk gang youth members and the ex-cons to do our bidding for us in the inner cities? We say an alternative to that is like fighting fire with fire. You start brushfires to stop a forest fire. Why don’t we create a work force reentry center to mass produce microbusinesses that really are tailored for the ex-defender and the at-risk and the gang member community? That seemed to have gotten a lot of interest. When we go in there and start proposing these things—these are detailed plans we lay out—they laugh. What kind of nutcase are you? Doing this. When they start socializing, they say, “Hey, look, maybe this is not a bad idea.” When they take it over and own it, they change it around to fit the way they want to do it. Those are two examples. I could go on and on, but that gives you a few examples of the types of things we are trying to do.
Russell: That’s remarkable. It is important because everybody has something that is a little bit different going on. They have different motivations, but the beauty of this and the power in it is not only- For example, you not only are taking care of a problem with housing, but you have also created careers for people that make good wages and present more home ownership opportunities, actually repurposing the community and turning it around. What sort of response in your travels, because now this is really starting to take hold, what sort of responses have you got from potential corporate partners? Have you found some that have been really receptive? Have you met some resistance? What’s been the overall experience that you’ve had?
Chuck: Not from corporate, but from high net worth individuals. It seems to work out. We have had more success in majority/minority cities as opposed to minority/majority cities. The reason is it goes to the heart of what you just said. In Erie, PA, within one mile, the household income is eight times what it is. If I go into high income areas, whether it’s the high net worth individuals or the corporations, why should I be interested in this? Because it is some kind of spiritual thing? Some kind of moral thing? I said, the reason you want to do this is to protect your gains. If you don’t fix the problems in the inner city, then it’s going to drag you down. It’s a difference between a bucket of crabs and a bucket of ants. The difference between a bucket of carbs and a bucket of ants?
Russell: Do the ants travel faster?
Chuck: The ants will go out of the bucket, and the crabs will pull all the crabs down into the bucket. What we want to do is create a rising tide that lifts all boats or a bucket of ants where everybody is helping each other out rather than dragging each other down.
In Erie, Pennsylvania, they have spent probably half a billion dollars on modernizing the waterfront. How are you going to get people to come in there when you have abject property within walking distance? I said, you can buy a lot more and keep all the homeless guys corralled in the poverty areas, or you can eliminate the poverty. We have a number of programs. For example, we have a micro-farming program, urban agriculture program that we could take all these derelict warehouses and we could put vertical farming and then have little greenhouses for microbusinesses there. What that does is creates a number of microbusinesses in the inner city, anchored in the inner city. For every direct job, that will create three or four indirect jobs in the inner city. Most of these inner city areas are food deserts. Other than a 7-11, they don’t have any. If I can create wholesome food and stuff and jobs on this thing, a lot of the policies are just wrong-headed.
You are familiar with Hud Section 8. The Hud Section 8 to me is insane. I am not against the program. They are using that in Baltimore now. Hud Section 8, for the people who are listening, says we are going to take the poverty stricken people in the depressed areas and move them out to the suburbs. The last administration who has created vouchers, like 20 million vouchers or 2 million vouchers, I don’t know the number, are moving these people out. The net effect that they take all the people who have got some moxie and some drive and moving them out. We said, Don’t cancel Hud Section 8. Reverse it. The real poor people today are the college graduates. if I could take a college graduate in either a historically black college or somewhere else, it depends on your disposition, and move them into the inner cities, especially the digital economy, and underwrite their rent using Hud Section 8- By the way, there are a number of federal programs that if you use social programs like millennials to do, we will forgive their student loan debt. Now I am bringing the high-skilled at least intellectual kids to work with the inner city kids, which are digitally savvy as well, to mass produce microbusinesses and increase the DNA quotient as opposed to reducing the DNA quotient.
Russell: Bringing people back to pay it forward with what they have is the right idea as far as making these things work. There are a lot of opportunities to do things. Hud Section 8, I have seen people on waiting lists in one of my old jobs, I had people who were in the community who spent upwards of two years or more. A lot of money is thrown at these programs. There was a sense that I had that people were more interested in saying we spent X number of dollars to take care of these folks that need something, and it’s just not working. We keep the good money from the bad. We are spending all this money, and nothing is changing, so we should stop spending this money. What have you been able to say to these people to maybe have them rethink that philosophy?
Chuck: Like you said, there is a lot of money out there. You have the federal programs. From the formerly incarcerated in Arizona, Arizona spends a billion dollars a year on incarceration. There is enough money and programs to try to reduce the recidivism rate. Hud Section 8, Hud Section 3, all those training dollars. They turn the paradigm around from moving people out of the inner city to moving smart people into the inner city makes a lot of sense. There is a lot of philanthropic organizations that are very interested in supporting that. They are not interested in sharing. There is a difference between teaching a man to fish and fishing. If we can teach the guy to fish, a lot of people are very interested in that as long as they have an actionable program. We are encouraged. When you start talking about these kinds of programs that are wrong-headed that have been tried time and time and time again and are still not producing, why not try something different?
Russell: f you want a different experience, you have to do something different. Change is slow, particularly on the government level when they can’t be on the corporate level. When you go into these different communities, you have some of these large corporations. Do you think that talking about creating microbusinesses, because a lot of these larger entities are concerned with being able to get qualified employees? Do you think some of them might resist on the theory that if people are qualified but they are starting their own businesses, that won’t help increase my employee pool and just think maybe this isn’t something I should support? Has that been something that surfaces?
Chuck: That comes up all the time. Once they get done listening to us, they are really enthusiastic because as you said, the #1 problem that corporations now have is finding qualified people. The reason for the six million open jobs are mainly skill-based. We go in, we have a community based business generator. For example, we go into a community. Let’s say Baltimore, that has 100,000 people that would like to get a job or go to work or whatever. To get into our program, we need a letter of recommendation from a sponsor. That sponsor could be a church, a sports coach, a parole officer, a school. They say, Hey, Hugh Ballou is down and out, but we are going to recommend him. He comes into our program, and then what we do is we put him through a battery of aptitude tests. You can go onto our website right now and take a 10-minute test questionnaire and it will tell you whether you have the aptitude to own a small business, whether that is a franchise business or an independent contractor business, whatever.
So we get them through a aptitude test, and we give them another recommendation. Now that Hugh Ballou in this case has got two letters of recommendation, one from his sponsor and one from us. The next thing we do is self-incorporate them into an S corporation, which doesn’t take time at all. Then we give them a skill in weeks or months, or use an existing skill they have. Veterans already have skills that are certified, so that’s not a big deal.
Now that guy who was just Hugh with a GED is Hugh Inc. with two letters of recommendation and a certified skill. Then we take him to the employer and say, “We have put him through tasks, and he is doubly recommended. We think he is going to make a good employee. But don’t hire him. Subcontract him because he has his own company. Give him a 1099. If you like him, then you hire him.” Corporations jump through their hoops on that. Before we go to the corporations, we canvas them and say, “What are the open jobs you have coming two months from now, six months from now?” We will know that. By the way, if you want to do the training in our place, then you come in and train and certify the guys and you pick the ones that you want. It closes the gap. Rather than have somebody stand in line for a job fair for hours to connect that, you get the idea.
Hugh: Yeah. We are approaching our last twelve minutes of this podcast. I want to do some specific pointing toward how the community nonprofits and churches and synagogues can facilitate some of these programs. Could they apply for grants and do educational programs? Give us some ideas as to how the social benefit community can participate in this.
Chuck: Our nonprofit social benefit community is our sweet spot. We love working with these guys. When I went into tiny Durham, South Carolina, the Durham City Council said we have 1,600 nonprofits, and we don’t have the money to support them because they are all cutting each other out because it’s a pie that gets smaller and smaller. To me, the problem with nonprofits is they get people all dressed up with no place to go. I am not being pejorative here. If they have training programs, resume programs, reading programs, those kinds of programs, it’s all about preparation. What we focus on is in the Bible, James:2, it says you don’t tell somebody who is hungry or cold, “Be well.” You feed them, give them what they need. What these people need is jobs. If you create these microbusinesses, incorporating them, great, they are their own little business, we give them a skill, that is something that the nonprofits can do with us. We don’t have to do the training. We can let a nonprofit do it. For example, an electronic waste program.
Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the United States. The big companies like Waste Management collect all this stuff, process it, and make a lot of money. In the inner cities, we create a minority-owned nonprofit that does electronic waste. We can put $10 million a year into that nonprofit for work force development and job and business creation. When a nonprofit hears that, I can do that with a church or a regular nonprofit, a 501(c)3, they love that idea of being able to create this small business and also to be self-sustaining when they don’t have to go to the government because when the nonprofit go to their donors, whether it’s a government or a corporation, after they give two or three times, they want to give to somebody else. This way, if they create their own revenue stream and especially encourage the entrepreneurialism in jobs and business creation, then that gives a whole new venue to these nonprofits.
Russell: It is about building success. One at a time, a few at a time. It sounds like a great vehicle. Who are some of the nonprofit partners that you currently have that you are most proud of? What do you look for in your nonprofit partners?
Chuck: In the inner cities, the nonprofits that seem to be the most viable are the churches. The A&E church is about as powerful as the Catholic church. It’s not the size, but it has the power. That is why a lot of community leaders in the inner cities become pastors because it is a respected community. They are the community leaders I really enjoy working with. They are the ones that bring in the other nonprofits. The other nonprofits are Headstart organizations, Hispanic organizations, those kinds of organizations. They are all very good organizations. No one in the inner city- You could very quickly find out what the big dog nonprofits are. You go get them, and then you make them part of you. It’s not us versus them. It’s we.
In Austin, Chicago, we have three nonprofits. We have a church called Rock of Salvation Church. We have Circle K Headstart. We have a catalyst group that is a halfway house for recovering alcoholics, that type of thing. They have 200,000 square foot facility that they all have. You have these three things. Why don’t we add a small business and job creation center in there, and we will build upon your infrastructure? By the way, if we create this electronic waste thing, we don’t have to do it in Austin, but we could do it in the suburbs, we could for a $5 million investment that I could get underwritten by community development banks and those types of things, we will create a $10 million revenue stream a year, which is they are making all this stuff worth a quarter of that. What can you do with $10 million ay ear? That would be your operated operation. Those three nonprofits are coming together and saying, “Let’s go pursue this.”
Russell: Chuck, that is phenomenal. What is the best way for nonprofits that are interested in more information to get ahold of you to find out about communities?
Chuck: All this stuff is on the website, jobenomics.com. Go to the presentation, and you can get not only the special reports, but you can get my New York operation, my Baltimore operation, my Erie operation, the Chicago operation, the Phoenix operation. The plans and the programs are all there. Download them. Look at them, and if you are still interested, come back to us. We will come down. We don’t charge for this service. We do this all pro bono. When we work with community leaders for free. If we work for a government organization, they have to offset our cost. By the way, what we do, once we work with community leaders in a government contract, it goes through them, and most of the money goes to them.
Russell: Phenomenal. We are approaching the back end of this hour. Are there some things I haven’t asked you about that you feel are really important for some of our listeners to know about?
Chuck: Right now, the United States economy is not sustainable. You hear a lot in the news about the Dow Jones industrial is up to historic highs, and the unemployment is historic lows. The confidence is higher than it’s ever been. I am writing a report on that. Yes, those are all true. But the income equality has grown. Of the people last year who took a wage, 72% made below average. That doesn’t include the 95 million who can work that don’t work. If you add those people in and the people who can’t work, 96% of the people in the United States make below average wage. No wonder people are so angry. It’s not only black people that are angry, it’s white people, everyone. Cut across everyone. If you are poor and you feel you are not getting part of the American dream. We have to focus on the basic social economic pyramid. That is the right thing to do for the country and for the people that are of means to protect their gains is smart.
Russell: What are some of the things that people in leadership at the national level can do that they aren’t doing now that would help facilitate the spread of this out in the communities?
Chuck: Nothing. The reason why is because the political divide is so bad the animosity in Congress and the anger is almost palpable. The Conservatives hate the liberals, the Democrats hate the Republicans. Nobody likes the White House, either this one or the previous one, depending on your point of view. Nothing is getting done. Senators and Congresspeople are happy to sit down with owners of billion dollar companies, but they have no interest in sitting down with a thousand owners of million-dollar companies or 100,000 owners of $100,000 companies. It has to be at the grassroots level.
That is why Jobenomics National Grassroots Movement has been exposed to about 20 million people. These community leaders at the base. It will only change at the base. Everything is local. It’s like real estate. Local, local, local. You know what your neighborhood problems are. All I can do is come and equip you with ways and data and development help with an actionable plan and a couple turnkey programs like the e-cycling or the urban mining to get things started. People need these tangible things that start adding in the energy and the digital economy and the direct care. That will take its own course. As long as we create highly scale (I emphasize), if I can do one barber shop, I can do 20. If I can do 10 convenience stores, I can do 1,000, especially if it is serving the community.
Russell: Scalability. That is a magic word. There are a lot of people in these communities that you are serving lost hope. If I were going to talk to some folks in some of our communities that have a higher level of need and I wanted to tell them about Jobenomics, what are the things that I can say to these folks that would be more motivating because of the experience you have seen with people in all the areas that you serve growing their businesses, having their lives change? What are some of the things I can say to these folks to have them look at a Jobenomics and go to their councilmen and other people in the community and say we need this?
Chuck: First of all, they need to get familiarized with the stuff on the website. There is a ton of information, which is also a problem. Once they look at it, they can give me a call. We will talk about it. I can point them in the right direction. If they are really serious about it, then we will put a coalition together. You have to do that before you go to the politicians, the aldermen and the councilmen. Going in individually will not work because they are risk-averse. The starting point is getting the information, seeing if this interests you. It’s an unconventional approach to business and community development and job creation. If you think what you have now is good and working for you, then forget it. If it’s not working for you, then take a look.
Russell: You have had a lot of success. You have created a lot of jobs. We are grateful for that. I love your program. I don’t think many people know about what you have here. It’s remarkable. I want to spread the word. I probably will have some people call you because the work you are doing-
Chuck: We have been following about 20 million people. It is starting to take hold.
Russell: Thank you for your effort. I know you have been at this a long while and met a lot of resistance, but you didn’t let that stop you. I am grateful for that, and looking at bigger things from Jobenomics in the future. Thank you very much. I will hand it over to Hugh for a closing thought.
Hugh: Chuck, every time I hear you, I get so excited. I want to sign up now. You have been very faithful to this calling. Thank you for sharing. It does my heart good to see this coming together. Thank you for sharing with this podcast for so many people who are looking for the next big thing. Blessings to you, and thanks so much.
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