Creative New Jersey Works to Solve Problems in Camden

By Michael Hill

A major opportunity for Camden to create — the city it wants to be socially, economically, politically and countless other ways.

“Creativity is in our DNA here, we like to say in New Jersey,” said Creative New Jersey Director Elizabeth Murphy.

The statewide initiative Creative New Jersey came, collected scores of citizens and encouraged the conversation to collaborate.

“If we’re going to be more competitive or stay competitive or become competitive again and sustainable, we have to engage our fellow citizens in action oriented conversation,” Murphy said.

Students and other stakeholders stood, wrote, announced and posted their questions before breaking off into discussion groups.

“How can we bring more businesses to Camden?” asked Owner’s Magazine Author Khai Tran.

“How do we ensure that our kids go to college?” asked one resident.

“How do we strengthen our families in Camden?” asked another citizen.

“How can we make Camden more fun and bring more millennials into the city of Camden?” asked a resident.

“How can we unite as a community?” asked a student.

One of the breakout sessions here focused on creating jobs and companies here in Camden, to employ Camden residents.

“Defining the nature of what the economy’s going to look like in post-industrial society is critical. Because you have to balance the reality of people don’t have advanced degrees. So, what kind of employment opportunities can be generated for people who don’t have a professional degree,” said Michael D’Italia, Office of Civic Engagement at Rutgers University.

“You have to build that level of expectation of what a job is when someone’s never had a real job,” said Betsy Clifford of Camden Lutheran Housing.

This is Creative New Jersey’s 14th collaboration. It’s working on plans to bring collaboration to New Jersey’s largest city.

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