CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Almost ten years ago, a joint study by Harvard and the University of California, Berkely ranked Charlotte 50th out of 50 cities in economic mobility among the largest U.S. cities.
Since then, several private and public organizations have worked to change the economic outlook of people in Queen City.
One of those non-profits is the Urban League of Central Carolinas.
On Saturday morning the non-profit provided one hundred women, going through their workforce training program, with a Mother’s Day weekend celebration. They teamed up with Geico and the Heart of cabi to make it happen.
Women who came to the event were treated to a luxury experience with styling, makeup, and photoshoots.
"It's just been awesome having these ladies come in and just pick up clothes at no cost to them as stylists because there are a number of stylists here to assist them," said Desiree Hawkins, a Heart of cabi stylist and ambassador. "We are able to find the sizes that fit them properly, we're able to put together outfits that they can use to interview."
The event was hosted by the Heart of cabi, which provides designer women’s clothing. This week is the group's Heart of cabi Foundation Week, where cabi stylists from around the world host 31 clothing donation events to support women in their community.
One of the women they helped was Daisha Vereen. She is on track to becoming a nurse at a time when North Carolina is projected to have a shortage of more than 12,000 registered nurses by 2033.
“I've always done things to help benefit others," she said. "And all my life people have been telling me that I was a nurse before I even knew that I will become a nurse.”
The Urban League's goal is to raise African-American employment and income levels through things like job training and placement services.
“We want to not only improve economic mobility but there's also a racial wealth gap," said Teddy McDaniel, CEO and president of the Urban League of Central Carolina. "And so a lot of the work that we're doing is to help our clients become economically self-sufficient.”
One of Vereen's biggest economic hurdles to pursue her dream was transportation. For Mother’s Day, she received a car donated by Geico through its national Recycled Rides program, to help her get around to classes.
"I left everything behind in Connecticut around COVID time when I first moved down here, so I didn't have anything just me myself, but two suitcases, so for me to have this car it means a lot," she said.
The Urban League is also helping place hundreds of people in other in-demand careers like medical coding, HVAC training, and data processing.
“This is really about getting them the pampering, and all that they need," McDaniel said. "So they have this theme ready to go back into classes and into their future.”
Some will go back in a new blazer, a nice pair of lashes, and others a brand-new ride.
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