DALLAS (CBS11) – With 300,000 residents, Dallas’ south side borough Oak Cliff is a city within a city.
“We have some of the wealthiest people of Dallas living here, and more impoverished people than any other place in Dallas,” Kiyundra Gulley said while sitting in her North Oak Cliff office.
Gulley is President and CEO of the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce.
She leads the effort to promote and support businesses that operate within the boundaries of Oak Cliff.
But the Chamber’s next big project does not set a business goal for the Chamber. Instead, the project focuses on building economic opportunity for families that call Oak Cliff home.
Oak Cliff Works is the name of the career and job development program initiated by the Chamber of Commerce.
“We can’t start talking about building big buildings here without first talking about building better lives for people who make less than $10,000 a year,” Gulley said in her description of the Chamber plan for Oak Cliff Works.
The program aims to place unemployed and underemployed residents who live within the 87 square mile area of Oak Cliff into healthcare career pathways. Methodist Hospital sits at the entry of North Oak Cliff. The medical center prepared for a nine-week job training program.
A job is offered after completion.
“We can’t have economic development without people development. The residents of Oak Cliff should be a part of the growth we see here,” Gulley explained.
If the Oak Cliff Chamber can solidify financial support for Oak Cliff Works, the program will transition to smaller neighborhood firms and companies finding business success in the Southern section of Dallas.