Comeback Cities Tour South

Oct 17, 2018

In the last 30 years, the gap between America’s richest and poorest cities has grown just as much as inequality between individuals in our country has grown.  Wages in the largest cities are increasing more than twice as fast as the wage rates in smaller cities and rural communities.  This trend is especially true in southern states all of which rank near the bottom in both wages and wage growth.  

Emerging places in the south could potentially create many more startups and jobs.  Municipalities both small and large possess the human capital, are less expensive to live and operate a business and in many instances have academic and cultural institutions which create the fabric of a creative community.  What is lacking is capital.  

In many cities both small and large throughout southern states, historically black colleges and universities (HBCU’s) are largely untapped resources for talent and creativity.  Of the 107 historically black colleges and universities throughout the United States, almost 90 are located in southern states. Collectively, these under resourced institutions have demonstrated that creative thinking and innovation are not confined to urban centers and larger better funded institutions of higher education. While human talent is evenly distributed throughout the population, opportunity is not. 

Throughout the south, HBCU’s are valuable economic components in the communities in which they are located which result in more jobs, stronger growth and more vibrant cities and towns.  In South Carolina’s eight HBCU’s have a combined economic impact of $463 million on the state’s economy and they have a direct or indirect impact on almost 5,000 jobs statewide.  

During the South Carolina segment of the Comeback Cities Tour, participants will visit the campuses of three of the state’s 8 HBCU’s and learn how with limited resources, they are preparing their students to join the next generation of entrepreneurs and tech professionals.  The South Carolina HBCU’s which are included in the Comeback Cities Tour are: South Carolina State University enrollment 2,900 and, Claflin University enrollment 2,300, both of which are located in Orangeburg, South Carolina a small city with a population of 14,000; and, Benedict College enrollment 1,850 which is located in Columbia, South Carolina which is the state capitol – population 130,000.

The combined economic impact of these institutions is as follows:

South Carolina State University - $145 million
Claflin University - $ 79 million
Benedict College - $130 million 

Special guests for Wednesday, October 17, 2018 include Congressman James E. Clyburn (SC-06), Congressman Tim Ryan (Ohio-13), and Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17).

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