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Nunn Discusses STLCC’s Role in Creating Economic Opportunities during For Sake of All Event

October 29, 2014

Rod Nunn  
Rod Nunn

Taking steps to improve the health and well-being of families with low to moderate incomes in St. Louis, as well as create economic opportunities for them, was the focus of the first in a series of forums presented recently by a multidisciplinary project called For the Sake of All. 

Roderick Nunn, interim president of St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, was among the panelists for the Oct. 23 forum, titled “The Creating Economic Opportunity Community Action Forum.”

“There seemed to be a lot of positive energy in the room to work collectively on strategies to help low-to-moderate income families create economic opportunities,” Nunn said. “The fact that the organizers understood the important role that St. Louis Community College plays in this regard was refreshing.”

St. Louis Public Radio hosted the event, whose other panelists were Edward Bryant, president and CEO of the St. Louis Minority Business Council; Tishaura Jones, St. Louis treasurer; Washington University’s Michael Sherraden, the George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor and director of the Center for Social Development.

Nunn discussed STLCC’s work in addressing three distinct gaps: the skills gap, in terms of better aligning programs with employer needs; the information gap, in terms of making individuals at the neighborhood level more aware of community college programs that have labor market value; and the perception gap, in terms of making students more aware of how employer perceptions of workplace competencies, such as soft skills differ from their own perceptions. 

Project Goals

Sponsored by Brown School’s Policy Forum and FOCUS St. Louis, For the Sake’s project goals are to:

  • Inform by continuing to present data and information to the public and policy makers.
  • Engage by enlisting community input and facilitating action to implement recommended policy and programmatic changes.
  • Activate key policy and decision makers in the public and private sectors to enact policy recommendations and bring effective interventions to scale.
  • Evaluate through careful measurement of the impact and replicability of promising local approaches as well as For the Sake of All project activities.

Impact of Poverty, Education on Health

“For the Sake of All: Improving the Health and Well-Being of African-Americans in St. Louis” follows last spring’s release of For the Sake of All’s report by Washington University, which focused on the health and well-being of African Americans in St. Louis City and St. Louis County. Lead researcher and author of the study is Jason Q. Purnell, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Brown School.

In the report, Purnell said African-Americans bear a considerable burden of disease, disability and death in the St. Louis region. Recommendations from the first phase of work include:

  • Invest in quality early childhood development.
  • Create economic opportunities for low-to-moderate income families.
  • Invest in coordinated school health.
  • Invest in mental health awareness, access and surveillance.Invest in health-promoting neighborhoods.
  • Enhance chronic and infectious disease prevention and management.

Addressing factors such as poverty and education have the greatest impact on health. Interventions that address socioeconomic factors such as poverty, housing and education have the greatest potential to improve health.

Phase 2

The second phase focuses on engaging the community, business leaders and policy makers to mobilize support for implementation of recommendations made in the initial phase of the work.

For the Sake of All was funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health, and community partners include the Institute of Public Health, Brown School’s Policy Forum, Saint Louis University, the St. Louis American and the St. Louis Beacon.

For more information, visit www.FortheSakeofAll.org.