Senator Tim Scott’s Opportunity Agenda represents key conservative efforts to tackle difficult barriers many Americans and South Carolinian’s face while struggling to move out of poverty.
Through avenues of empowerment and investment for individuals, communities, and employment, the Senator’s Agenda is an important opportunity for nonprofits across SC to become “Allies for Good” in key areas.
Senator Scott’s visit with nonprofit leaders from across the state served to build understanding for both the intention of the Opportunity Agenda, and how nonprofit leadership can align their efforts with the Senator’s national efforts to forge pathways out of poverty for millions of Americans. The vital work of the Opportunity Agenda also needs those of us who work with individuals in the community every day to make it a success on the ground.
As SC continues to see growth in skill manufacturing and similar jobs in the state, the opportunity for nonprofits from all areas to partner and utilize these avenues to lift individuals and communities out of poverty will only continue to grow.
The Opportunity Agenda is precisely toward that end, as Senator Scott articulated to nonprofit leaders, to lift families and communities out of poverty through training, apprenticeship, and education. It has already seen success through the passage of the SKILLS Act and hopes to see even more success with the Investing in Opportunity Act, currently in the Senate.
More and more, those of us working in education and job training see the gaps between employee skills and employer needs. The SKILLS Act focused on modernizing programs to ensure education and training focuses on today’s in-demand jobs, supports young job seekers by reducing the age limitation from 18 to 16. It recognizes that not all graduates will move on to college, and seeks to ensure that our youngest workers find opportunities through alternative skills and don’t fall into poverty because of it. Nonprofits working in K-12 education and workforce development are most closely aligned with the work of this bill. In short, the SKILLS Act works to assure opportunities for financial stability for all.
The LEAP Act seeks to empower Apprenticeship programs to assure individuals can receive income while they work. Many of SC’s workforce and basic needs programs serve people every day for whom these programs could transform their lives.
The Investing in Opportunity Act focuses on developing communities – a effort many nonprofits across the state are invested in. It is similar to a tax credit, but uses capital gains as investment rather than individual donations, SC nonprofits working in community development can look at ways to partner on this effort that guide and support investments reflect the needs of community members and expand upon the great efforts of existing development and community finance work.
The Opportunity Agenda is part of a growing conservative effort to become a greater participant in the poverty solution. Senator Scott’s leadership is an important part of this effort, as he understands the difficult road many trudge to break out. It is now up to us to recognize and align where we can to inform and act in our neighborhoods and cities – with our neighbors, clients, and partners to see how we can truly become Allies for Good.
Senior Director of Public Policy
United Way of SC