A Q&A With A Candidate For Arlington County Board
Responses by Kim Klingler, Candidate for Arlington County Board
Responses received April 25, 2017
America’s Future Workforce (AFW) aims to bring together elected officials, candidates and interested stakeholders for an in-depth conversation on policy affecting citizens and policy shaping the future economic and social landscape of Arlington County, Virginia. Below are the questions and the corresponding answers from the candidate, Kim Klingler.
Why is economic justice and economic opportunity such an important topic for the residents of Arlington County?
- Economic justice has been defined as an aspect of social justice. It is a set of moral principles for developing economic institutions and entities. The ultimate goal is to create opportunity for each person to build a sufficient material foundation upon which to establish a dignified, productive, and meaningful life beyond economics.”1
- Economic justice is an important topic for the leaders and residents of Arlington County. Prioritizing economic justice and access to economic opportunity, positions and provides Arlington with the ability to be more regionally and globally competitive, and also supports Arlington’s values of promoting economic and social justice and economic opportunity for all who live and work in the County.
What actionable resolutions can the Arlington County Board take to fight for economic justice?
- Keep and Expand Affordable Housing & Define and Prioritize Living Affordably
- For those at or below 60% of the Annual Median Income (AMI), I support including dedicated funding for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund as part of the annual budget cycle. Doing this would establish a stable investment fund to draw from when affordable housing opportunities arise. I also support continued partnership with community non-profit organizations, such as the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, which is a successful model in Arlington for many community needs, and has worked well for affordable housing construction and maintenance. I will also support including committed affordable units where possible in site plans across the county.
- In order to create affordable options for those above 60% AMI, we need to look beyond our current set of tools, and investigate options being used by our regional partners and those across the US. Some potential starting places are:
- Reinstating and revamping the Middle Income Purchasing Assistance Program (MIPAP);
- Revisiting current and develop future “Live Where You Work” programs;
- Revisiting Arlington’s policies on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs);
- Utilizing zoning changes to create more affordable multi-story condos, townhomes, etc along off-Metro corridors, such as Lee Highway.
- Actively Support the Raising of the Minimum Wage
- Studies have shown that individuals with up to two children, who work full-time, year-round, at minimum wage ($7.25/hour), are at significant risk of living below the poverty line.2 This situation is unacceptable in Virginia and in the United States. Leaders and politicians across the political spectrum, support an increase in the minimum wage.3 Most corporate executives support an increase in the minimum wage and most economists believe providing minimum wage earners with additional income will positively impact economic growth. Although I support raising the Federal minimum wage, Virginia also has the power and the ability to exceed the current federal minimum wage. As an Arlington County Board member, I will work with both our Richmond delegation and our members of Congress in the House and Senate to advocate for legislation raising the minimum wage to $15.00/hour.
- Advocate for and Enhance Education & Workforce Development
- I am a strong supporter of not just having diversity in the workplace, but making it a priority to develop, sustain, and grow a diverse skilled workforce. Statistics continue to demonstrate that education is a significant equalizer in a democratic society.4 As an Arlington County Board Member, I would support our School Board in maintaining and expanding academic programs that prepare our students for a range of two-year and four-year colleges, apprenticeships, and other job opportunities.
- One of the reasons I am running for County Board is to keep Arlington diverse and forward-thinking. In my professional career, I played a meaningful role in developing and implementing the Health IT Workforce Development Program through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).5 In addition, one of my clients was the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA). At HRSA we prided ourselves in providing grants, services, and technical assistances to the underserved and some of our most diverse populations and communities.
- Keep and Expand Affordable Housing & Define and Prioritize Living Affordably
How can we prepare children enrolled in the Arlington County Schools for the workforce?
- Arlington has some of the best public schools in the country and we work very hard to prepare our students for two-year, four-year and graduate degree programs, as well as careers which may not necessarily require a traditional college education.
- Working collaboratively with the School Board, as a County Board Member, I will work to expand partnerships with the local Chamber of Commerce, businesses, and non-profits such as: Arlington Public Schools (APS) Senior Project, Aspire’s After School Programs, and Leadership Arlington’s Developmental Programs.
By creating and strengthening these partnerships, students will build skill-sets, relationships, experience and confidence that can be leveraged past Arlington Public Schools (APS). Simultaneously, the schools community, the County, and area businesses will be able to further grow and mentor our students, to better meet our community’s needs, and contribute to building an economy that benefits more people, versus one that concentrates wealth.
- If I am elected to the County Board, I will work with my colleagues on the County Board and on the School Board to provide additional resources for APS to further enhance and extend their programs which help prepare our students for the workforce.
Do you think the workforce development center for Arlington County should be revamped to help train people for in-demand jobs?
- Workforce development programs, such as the Alexandria/Arlington Regional Workforce Council6 should always re-visit and re-evaluate their programs, to ensure they are training their clients for in-demand and sustainable jobs.
- I have participated in focus groups for the Alexandria/Arlington Regional Workforce Council and the Arlington Career Center. Through these focus groups, I have learned how important it is to understand the current job market and job needs. I have also been an active supporter of community college, career, and technical training programs. At HHS, while partnering with regional and national businesses, we developed Health IT curriculums to be taught at the community college level. During my time at Deloitte Consulting, we partnered with Eastern High School win Washington, DC, and the Health and Medical Sciences Academy. The vision of this academy is to help prepare interested students for medical degree programs, and to prepare other students for certified medical work following high school. We should consider these and other workforce development programs and models to modify, enhance and develop our workforce development programs here in Arlington.
How can you bring more opportunity to the in-need residents of Arlington County?
- We need to ensure that we are continuing to sustain, recruit, and grow businesses that align with the skill-sets of our residents. It is important for workforce development programs to align with the needs of the job market in our community. Groups like America’s Future Workforce also have a role to play to help identify regional workforce needs and develop and implement programs to support in-need residents.
- As a graduate of Leadership Arlington, I have seen their programs in action and would work to leverage their connection with the local businesses and community leaders to help provide additional opportunities for in-need residents.
- Arlington’s Neighborhood College is a great example of a program which provides residents with the opportunity to learn and improve communication skills, networking skills, negotiation, and conflict management. These are all skills which are translatable into the workforce, and as a County Board member, I would promote the Neighborhood College as a way to help bring about more opportunities for those in need.
- Curriculums, including workforce development curriculum can sometimes seem like they were created in a bubble. Arlington County government has the resources to partner more directly with local and regional businesses to better understand their workforce needs, and to proactively develop programs to help train the workforce to meet those needs.
America’s Future Workforce aims to heighten the awareness of the issues affecting Arlington County and its citizens. In compliance with all 501c3 regulations, all candidates were contacted and asked to partake in this Q&A.