Is the Future Employability of Cambridge’s Children a Business problem?

Ray and Maria Stata Center MIT, Photo by  Mark Boss  on  Unsplash

Ray and Maria Stata Center MIT, Photo by Mark Boss on Unsplash

Cambridge, MA is home of two of the most prestigious universities in the world - Harvard and MIT.  Kendall Square, known as the most innovative square mile on the planet, is a who’s who in tech and life science. Google, Microsoft, Biogen, Novartis and many others call Kendall home.  There are hundreds of start-ups and many service companies (commercial real estate development, construction, venture capital) that benefit and form an incredibly dynamic ecosystem.  By most economic measurements, Cambridge is a wealthy and thriving city. 

On the other hand, the City’s poverty rate, income inequality gap, housing cost burden and homeownership rates tell a different story.  In addition to these inequities, a report by the Cambridge Community Foundation Boomtown Hometown states:

Although Cambridge is a highly educated city, where 75% of adults held college degrees in 2015, the public schools lag behind a comparable district in the metropolitan area in sending students seamlessly on to college graduation.  These realities foreshadow increasing economic and racial equity gaps even as Cambridge enters a new era - one filled with the promise of unprecedented prosperity.

On the surface, the answer to the proposed question in the title is Yes.  However, Cambridge has been a tale of two cities for decades. Businesses don’t survive with decades old problems. Is this more of a political problem than a business one? If the future employability of the Cambridge’s children is a business problem - why is it different this time?

Innovators for Purpose (iFp) is a Cambridge-based nonprofit that inspires high-potential, diverse young people to discover their passions, develop innovative mindsets and cultivate marketable skills through client-based projects and experiential learning opportunities.

Michael K. DawsonComment