This week has been exciting for us at the Center for many reasons, but I am most excited about the launch of our Issue Brief Series.

Since we launched CSFE, our mission has always been focused on students, faculty, and community. Our Issue Brief series, I hope, will hit all three areas. Not only will it give students and our community, a chance to engage in the issues that are most important to improving our region and state, but also, I hope it will give faculty members at WCU an outlet to broadcast—and amplify—the good work they do on a daily basis.

For the launch of the series, it seemed fitting to invite my friend Craig Richardson to write the inaugural brief, “Why is Economic Mobility So (Surprisingly) Low in North Carolina?” Dr. Richardson is a BB&T Distinguished Professor of Economics at Winston-Salem State and the Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Economic Mobility (CSEM).

Working with Dr. Richardson has improved the reach of both centers. Last semester, he presented his film, “Bus Stop Jobs” to an eager group of students during one of our Free Enterprise Speaker Series, and this April I will be traveling to Winston-Salem to present on another important issue to this state, affordable housing, during their Economic Mobility Summit.

Craig has a long-standing interest in improving the lives of the underserved in North Carolina—a goal that I (and the rest of the staff at the Center) also share—and my hope is that our continued collaboration, lately exemplified through the release of this first Issue Brief, continues to help us be fierce advocates for helping the people of this state to improve their lives step-by-step.