The Whitefield Center seeks the welfare of the City. The primary means is though high-impact educational initiatives. Our course of action is informed by studies and research that demonstrate the importance of these activities.
The Chatham County's 2014 Workforce Development Analysis recognizes the vital connection between education and workforce opportunities. Here are a few of the key findings:
Local companies indicated that they expected to fill 12 entry level jobs for every 100 employees and of these entry level jobs 81% required a high school education
45% of companies believe that the candidates in Chatham County are not qualified for these entry level jobs
57% of companies identified lack of education as a key barrier in the capacity of the Chatham County labor force
60% of the companies had a negative or neutral impression of the Chatham County labor force
81% of the companies noted local labor force deficiencies in the area of “soft skills” including: communication skills, business etiquette, teamwork and computer skills
The Workforce Development Analysis is a call to action. First, adult education rightly tailored to workforce development can help to improve the local labor pool. Second, the current and future viability of Chatham County as a destination for companies and economic growth hinges on the education of the current and future labor force. Third, there are opportunities in the current labor market for people who complete their high school level education and who development their “soft skills.”
In 2013, The United Way of the Coastal Empire, St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System, and Memorial Health collaborated on a comprehensive Needs Assessment of Chatham County. While this study focused on human health, it went in depth into the social, economic and community factors that drive not only human health but also the health and quality of life of a community. This report informed the Whitefield Foundation’s strategic choice to target the Thomas Square Area through the Whitefield Center.
The 2013 Needs Assessment mades the following findings about the 31401 zip code which contains the Thomas Square Area:
- Household Income - Zip code 31401 was identified as the poorest zip code in Chatham County with 4,031 households (43.42%) earning less than $15,000 annually.
- Unemployment - In April 2013 the unemployment rate zip code 31401 was 11.25%. This is more than 35% the average unemployment rate in Georgia and Chatham County.
- People Living Below the Poverty Line - The Needs Assessment reported that 41.4% of adults are living below the poverty level in zip code is 31401. This is more than double the County-wide figure of 18.1% and almost three times the national average.
- Children Living Below the Poverty Line - 57.5% of children are living in zip code 31401 live below the poverty level which is also almost three times the national average.
- Education - In zip code 31401 one out of five adults 25 and older have not obtained a high school or high school equivalent degree.
Why Thomas Square?
The 31401 zip code has significant human needs. However, the demographics in this large area vary considerably depending on the neighborhood. The northern portion of the 31401 zip code, which includes the Historic Landmark District, has a significantly lower poverty rate than the County average when data from two public housing projects (Hitch and Yamacraw) are removed from the data set.
The Whitefield Center strategically engages the southern portion of the 31401 area code. This is the section of Savannah we refer to as the Thomas Square Area. It runs north to Gwinnett Street, south to Victory Drive, east to Waters Avenue, and west to Montgomery Street. This Area amounts to 28% of the land mass of the 31401 zip code, but is home to 61% of the families living under the poverty line.
The Thomas Square Area is home to people who can be empowered though education, skills development and job training. Consider the following:
- One out of every four people in the Thomas Square Area are K through 12 students.
- More than 40% of the Area's residents over 25 years have less than a high school education.
- More than one third of the Area's residents live below the poverty level.
- The medium household of facilities residing in the Area is just over half the County's medium household income.
The Thomas Square Area is home to many people who find themselves among the working poor. These individuals can greatly benefit from education, job training and increased financial literacy.
The Thomas Square area is also is home to people at vulnerable places in their lives including "at risk"' children, refugees and the elderly.
The Thomas Square Area is a crucial hinge for the welfare of Savannah. Its pivotal location in the very heart of Savannah make the Thomas Square Area a warranted choice for the Whitefield Center’s embedded and integrated mission to transform the heart of the City one life at a time.
Community Impact Analytics
The Whitefield Center measures our success based on specific, measurable outcomes including:
- Literacy Rates in the Thomas Square Area
- Increases in Employment Rates
- Long-Term Metrics Analysis in the Thomas Square Area
Service Delivery and Human Engagement
The Whitefield Center is about the lives of individuals. We track our impact in terms service delivery and human engagement in terms of:
- Graduation rates (GED)
- Student Test Scores
- Employment-based Advancement
- Technical Training Certification
Sometimes stories offer the best way of sharing the impact that the Whitefield Center is having in the Thomas Square Area. We use this website and social media as a means of sharing stores with you that help you get a sense of how we are transforming our city one life at a time.
Impact in Pictures
We know that a picture says a thousand words. These photographs are our way of saying thanks to you for supporting the Whitefield Center through your time, talents and treasure . . . . .