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Employee Ownership Yields Big Dividends

by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D.

Suppose you were unemployed and had a family to feed. After months of looking, you are offered two jobs, and have to choose. Both were with new companies founded by neighborhood entrepreneurs. One offered a standard wage, regular hours, and so forth. The other offered the same things, but added the requirement that all employees own  shares of stock in the new company.  Years later which one would have contributed to making your family economically secure?  Which one would you enjoy working at the most?  Which one would strengthen the local economy?

The bottom line is that when employees own significant amounts of stock in a company, and participate in…

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Citizens of Charlotte N.C. Walk the Talk About Honoring Veterans

by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D.

Charlotte, North Carolina is one a few communities nationally that has found a way to translate those words into direct action and actually support our veterans.

Tommy Norman, a Charlotte area Vietnam-era veteran, stepped up and founded an effort that became The Charlotte Bridge Home which provides a range of support to returning veterans.[1] Charlotte Bridge Home helps newly returned vets make the transition to civilian life. 

He started doing his homework by facilitating a comprehensive study of the situation and discovered some stunning facts.

Over 2.5 million Americans served in uniform in either Iraq or Afghanistan.[2] A third of them…

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Incubators That Support Local Entrepreneurs Improve Local Communities

by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D.

Two significant facts that will have profound impacts on our nation's future unless solutions are put in place. The first is the number of unemployed, which by the most accurate definition sits at one in seven members of the workforce.[1] The second is that many newly created jobs do not have the same high pay as the jobs that have vanished. As a consequence, real income has declined in working -aged households from $63,500 in 2000 to $55,600 in 2011[2]. Ouch!

Clearly, creating well paying jobs needs to be a priority.

One successful technique is to create "Business Incubators". They work. Nationally, only 49% of unsheltered new business su…

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Energizing Local Economies Through Creative De-Construction

by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D.

There is a way to use charity to both create jobs and improve the community. 

I love the title of the effort - "Creative De-Construction".  

In many older neighborhoods, there are one or more houses or business that are abandoned or damaged and become the kinds of places parents tell their kids to stay out of.  Sometimes the buildings attract critters like skunks, occasionally of the human variety. Neighbors begin to petition for the building to be torn down or fixed up. Often the building owner does not have the money to do either, so the problem sits, and grows worse...broken windows lead to water damage and mold, pipes freeze and l…

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Growing Jobs and Food Security

by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D.

Consider this: The world's population doubled between 1960, when there were 3 billion people, and 2000, when we hit 6 billion people. In 2020 there will be  7.5 billion. In 7 years, world agriculture needs to feed two and half times more mouths than it did just 50 years ago.[1] 

In order to feed all these people, lots of changes have been  made to food production. Two major trends included increased mechanization of farming (which in turn led to the rise of the multi-thousand acre corporate farms in the west, and the destruction of the small family farm system in the east), and increase use of agriculture chemical weed killers and pesticides.  

When you spre…

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