Strategic plan to improve the community discussed tonight

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Austin Coming Together will hold another of its series of town hall meetings Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. to discuss its strategic plan for improving the lives of Austin residents.

The plan calls for major improvements in early childhood development, youth justice and workforce development that will serve as a road map for the next 10 years, said Andrew Born, ACT’s director of programs and development.

The group – a coalition of a number of West Side organizations – has been working since it was formed in 2010 on the plan Born said.

Last year, ACT became the lead partner with the United Way Neighborhood Network Initiative.

The partnership “has allowed ACT to continue to engage our members and the broader community to build a common community agenda as well as bold goals for education, income and health,” according to a press release ACT issued in June.

Born said they’re “hoping (the strategic plan) can be a tool for the community to show to the outside world that we’re being strategic about how we’re approaching education, and that we’re organized and it’s a broad-based plan with participation from many different organizations.”

The education component – one of the critical areas of the strategic plan – focuses on supportive parents/guardians, safe neighborhoods, sustainable family income, access to high-quality early learning programs and high-quality schools.

Born said because some of the goals of the plan would require policy changes by governmental bodies – such as increasing the minimum wage, improving the quality of education, and providing better access to health care and job training programs – advocacy has become an increasingly important part of ACT’s work.

Because the plan is continuing to be developed, Born said it’s important for people to come out to give feedback and offer suggestions.

“Come October, when we do present a final plan, there aren’t any surprises and we don’t have to kind of go back to the drawing board; we want broad-based community support for the plan,” Born said.

“We really want to get people engaged in talking to each other about the plan.”

The group plans to hold one more meeting on Sept. 24 before unveiling the finalized version of the plan Oct. 10.

Tonight’s meeting will be held at Austin Town Hall, 5610 W. Lake St.

For more information, contact Born at (773) 417-8612.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the United Way is a member organization of ACT. An update has been made to correct this mistake. AustinTalks apologizes for the error. 

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