The 13th District has seen a decline in its infrastructure and public education, and an increase in crime in the past 19 years the incumbent has been in office. In your opinion, has the 13th District improved or declined in the past 10 years? Don't believe it? Check out the clip above from the Breakfast Club, where the results of the decline of access to skilled labor in the community is examined.
Atlanta and its metro area attracts thousands of new residents each year because of its economic success. With companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Rivian moving their facilities into the city, skilled workers are able to work in the cities in which they live. However, the 13th District is recorded as having only 2.8% of its labor force classified as skilled, and when companies assess moving their facilities to our community, they strongly consider hiring from Newnan, Dekalb County, and Roswell.
The 13th District loses thousands of job opportunities each year because we don't facilitate the men and women in our community to engage in a trade or profession. Project Airport City is coming into the 13th District, however, businesses will fill their high-wage positions with personnel outside of the 13th. With a lack of available training, residents in the 13th miss opportunities to increase their wages and quality of life, hence the drop in median incomes. Professions and trades are integral to the development of the community and give the constituents an opportunity to improve their quality of life. In Clayton County specifically, the only county in Georgia where Black citizens make up the highest percentage of the population, providing opportunities for Black men and women of all ages will reinvigorate the economy and empower families in the area.
Let's break it down: With vocational training producing a higher percentage of skilled workers, there will be an increase in wages and small businesses within the district. Economically, residents in the district will be paying the same percentage of taxes on a higher income, creating more tax revenue in the 13th. With the proper allocation of federal resources, improvements in the district's infrastructure, access to public transportation, and schools will begin to improve, increasing property values for current and future homeowners in the district. This is the foundation for stronger families and wealthier neighborhoods, interrupting the "school to prison pipeline."
Caesar Gonzales is a living example of what access to skills can do for a young man in unfavorable conditions. With a lack of guidance in the neighborhood, Caesar could become a drug dealer, which was common in Metro NYC in 1980, or he could go to B.O.C.E.S. (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services) a vocational school teaching and certifying individuals in hands-on subjects such as cosmetology, welding, masonry and bricklaying, commercial foods, and more. Through B.O.C.E.S, many became RNs or, like Caesar, became a motorcycle mechanic. B.O.C.E.S. provided a child care program for their students, allowing single mothers and fathers to take the path to attend classes.
Caesar's ability to fix a motorcycle here and there led to the founding of his motorcycle shop. Caesar also became a professional motorcycle racer and continued his adult education, obtaining an engineering degree which led to positions with companies such as Space X and Blue Origin. Caesar is the poster boy for what happens when you give young adults job skills training outside of prison, the military, and minimum wage jobs.
Listen to a 60-second clip in which Caesar explains his experiences during the 1980 presidential election between Republican Ronald Reagan and Democrat Jimmy Carter. While the nay-sayers yapped, Caesar worked.