Thursday, April 28, 2011

Drilldown Detroit Report

Report Finds Detroit is Ready for New Investment

Social Compact and Detroit Economic Growth Corporation's 2009 DrillDown Report for Detroit will serve as a foundation for comprehensive economic development strategic planning for the City of Detroit through 2012.

(DETROIT, MI, February 23) - In the face of the national recession, many of Detroit's neighborhoods are continuing to show strong market strength for retail and other economic investment. The Social Compact 2009 DrillDown Report shows that while Detroit experienced an overall population loss, many neighborhoods remained stable or had grown slightly since the 2000 U.S. Census report. In anticipating a Census 2010 undercount, this information has allowed Data Driven Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and other local partners to take the offensive in describing what are the city's investment opportunities.

The DrillDown study was managed by Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. "Data Driven Detroit is pleased to be a partner in this effort, as it truly symbolizes our mission of providing accurate and innovative data products to the community," said Kurt Metzger, director of Data Driven Detroit. "The DrillDown's unique methodology allows Detroit neighborhoods to represent themselves through information that is unavailable elsewhere. Furthermore, the willingness of Social Compact to share its methodology with D3 will allow Detroiters to receive DrillDown profiles for any user-defined neighborhood in the city." D3 can be contacted for customized DrillDown reports, please submit requests through

The full 2009 DrillDown Report can be downloaded from any of the partner websites:




Monday, April 25, 2011

Video: Recall Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan

Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan, proposed in his inaugural speech that the residents of Michigan will have to engage in "shared sacrifice" to improve the state's economy. His campaign included ways to bring young people back to Michigan and promote urban revitalization of the state's largest cities (especially Detroit and Grand Rapids). However, he presents a budget that will cut funding to public K-12 and higher education and raise higher taxes on poor families and retirees to support a $1.8 billion tax cut for corporations. As an aspiring worker, this is no "shared sacrifice." Rather, this is a redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich. This is morally wrong and mean-spirited. Please spread the word and recall Rick Snyder. The video shows the hypocrisies of the governor.

Friday, April 22, 2011

SWT: Transitioning Social Work Leaders

In March/April 2011 Issue of Social Work Today, social workers gathered in Washington, DC, for the 2010 Social Work Congress, where they identified leadership development as a key priority for the profession as it moves into the next decade. More importantly, the profession needs more input and involvement from young social workers (especially under 40). This will help improve the profession's image and outreach.
And, according to several “30 under 30” participants, the presence of younger faces is needed to help social work tackle the myriad challenges it faces. Social work is not unique from other professions in experiencing a leadership gap as large numbers of older, experienced workers retire. But for social work, this gap comes at a time when an economic slowdown, changes in the political landscape, and competition from other professions are threatening the future of human services. The demand for services is increasing while resources are shrinking. Low salaries and misperceptions about the nature of social work are keeping many people away from the profession

The article also lists five strategies to prepare social work students for leadership:
  • Prepare students to deal with the day-to-day realities of social work
  • Get students involved in professional organizations
  • Connect students with professional mentors
  • Give students tools needed to make the case for social work
  • Nurture leadership at all levels of social work education

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

60 Minutes: Hard Times Generation, Child Poverty on the Rise

The child poverty rate is on the rise as a record number of struggling families fall into poverty. These once-stable families have either lost their jobs or homes to foreclosure. It is estimated that the child poverty rate in the United States will soon hit 25 percent. Nevertheless, our elected officials continue to emphasize personal responsibility rhetoric and ignore poverty reduction policies.

Friday, April 15, 2011

DetNews: Detroit library could close most of its branches

Nearly all of the public libraries in Detroit may close soon. This will leave few opportunities for residents to improve literacy and access the internet. Ironically, Detroit city officials claim that they want to attract new residents and young professionals back to the city, yet they want to reduce trash pickup and close essential public services, including schools and libraries at alarming rates.
The Detroit Public Library could close most of its neighborhood branches and lay off more than half of its workers because of an $11 million shortfall caused by plunging tax collections...

Whatever course commissioners who oversee the system choose in May, residents in an economically challenged city with a functional illiteracy rate of 47 percent are likely to suffer.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Future of Macro Social Work in the 21st Century

Last month, a visitor emailed me an excellent article, Social Work Intellectuals in the Twenty-First Century, about the role of social workers in the 21st century. Although I had already responded to the person, I thought it was important to share it with the rest of the community. It talks about critical social theory and the decline of public intellectuals in American society. Reasons listed include an increased emphasis on professionalization and articles in peer-reviewed publications. The focus on research has deterred many promising social work intellectuals from sparking social change and advocating for social justice in newspapers, blogs and other media venues. I can only name two public intellectuals (Noam Chomsky, Paul Krugman) in the media today. That's a shame.

I am very familiar with critical social theory, and recently completed a project about critical race theory. Social work is a unique field that focuses on practice, research and social justice. Many professions do not mandate their professionals to pursue social justice goals within their code of ethics. However, too often, social workers have focused too much on the idea of professionalism with individuals and not on important issues, such as becoming a collective-bargaining organization that can advocate for higher wages and safer working conditions. Ironically, the first social workers were community practitioners and activists (settlement house movement) who advocated for social justice and system reform.

I will also discuss a paper written by a social work graduate student at Loyola University Chicago. Her paper focused on strengthening community practice in social work. Some social work educators and practitioners were concerned with the absence of macro theory and practice (system reform work, community organizing, advocacy, social activism, community economic development, and human capital development) in social work education. In fact, many of these activities are no longer associated with the social work profession today. She briefly describes the historical micro-macro divide (Charity Organizations Society vs. Settlement House movement) through three periods of conflict (Progressive era, World War II, and 1960s social movements).

She proposes a community development framework for social workers because "it focuses on the centrality of oppressed people in the process of overcoming externally imposed social problems. She also adopts the Christian Community Development Association's tenets of community development: a) relocation - living in the community to develop shared experiences with clients, b) redistribution - providing collective advocacy of the community to secure needed resources, and c) reconciliation - requires dialogue between groups to acknowledge past and present oppression. Overall, this presentation enlightened me because this is the reason why I chose the social work profession. With its emphasis on social justice and community empowerment, I have a passion to help others and engage in system reform.

What do you think is the future of macro social work in the 21st century?