Austin Coming Together, ACT is a relatively new organization of organizations. Its mission is to create an intermediary infrastructure of sustainable resources, systems and networks that provide economic and educational opportunities that improve the quality of life within the Austin community.
ACT describes its method of achieving its mission, its Theory of Change, as follows:
- No quick fixes
- Develop comprehensive long term plan
- Develop wholistic and sustainable education model addressing the mind body and spirit of every child in Austin
- Develop wholistinc and sustainable economic model which assesses, builds capacity, and develops infrastructure
- Educational investment at all levels equals economic development at all levels
Their goal is to remove barriers that impede progress. Close the skill gap, the employment gap and resource gap.
The University of Illinois and Chicago Public Schools, joined by more than 50 service organizations and consultants and three foundations, have held meetings around the Austin neighborhood. UIC has conducted studies on Austin and made reports on their findings. Among those findings were the following:
- Austin residents don’t have the skills to fill the majority of positions available in Austin.
- The unemployment rate among the 18-31 year old group is 50%.
ACT prepared and submitted an application for Promise Zone funds. The fund was developed based upon the Harlem Promise Zone. The ACT proposal was not selected. Three other Chicago community applications were not selected as well.
The organization is still in formation. The website is under development. Staffing is not complete.
ACT’s mission is in alignment with CANA. We are excited by our shared vision and the greater possibilities for our larger community. We will be seeking to partner and support the organization going forward.