Burlington, VT – Human Capital

Women often face the burdens of unequal pay, prejudice, and gender-based rejection in the workplace. These factors reduce women’s ability to participate fully in the economy and reap the benefits of growth. However, evidence from a range of countries shows that relative to men, women spend more of the income they control in ways that benefit their children’s education and health. Burlington recognizes that investing in gender equality and women’s empowerment is absolutely essential for effective community development.

Human capital can be defined as, “general education background, labor market experience, artistic development and appreciation, health, and other skills and experiences” (Green and Haines, 2016). One community based organization in Burlington that is very relevant to human capital is Mercy Connections. Mercy Connections is a nonprofit organization working to nurture the self-sufficiency of women through education, mentoring, and community engagement. Mercy Connections offers the Women’s Small Business Program, which provides financial empowerment coaching and a variety of classes to help women evaluate the merits of self-employment and develop business plans. The Women’s Small Business Program promotes entrepreneurship by helping women make informed decisions about business ownership. According to the Mercy Connections 2015 Annual Report of the Women’s Small Business Program, “18 students started or expanded their business [and] 75% of students have bank ready business plans” (Mercy Connections, 2015). The Small Business Program offers four classes. The classes are called “Getting Serious: Intro to Self-Employment,” “Start Up: Comprehensive Business Planning,” “Personal Financial Empowerment Programs,” and “Personal Financial Resource Groups: Money-Management Discussions.” Workforce development is an approach to enhance a regions economic stability and prosperity by focusing of people rather than businesses. One strategy for community workforce development is to promote entrepreneurship. I believe that Mercy Connections promotes entrepreneurship by providing training programs that help to enhance the skills of women entrepreneurs.

Works Cited:

Green, G. P., & Haines, A. (2012). Asset Building & Community Development. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.

“2014-2015 Annual Report.” Mercy Connections. (2015). Retrieved November 4, 2016, from http://mercyconnections.org/annual-report.html

“Mission/Values.” Mercy Connections. (2016). Retrieved November 4, 2016, from http://mercyconnections.org/vermont-non-profit.html

“Start Up: Comprehensive Business Planning.” Vermont Commission on Women Education and Research Foundation. (2016). Retrieved November 4, 2016, from http://www.vtwomen.org/event/start-up-comprehensive-business-planning/2016-11-10/