Phil DeVol was interviewed by the nonprofit United for a Fair Economy (UFE) about the role their work plays in Getting Ahead. “I use UFE’s materials in each of my Getting Ahead books and workshops. The UFE activities using bodies to represent data are a great way to generate discussions,” DeVol said.
The UFE materials appear in all of the Getting Ahead books: Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’-By World, Getting Ahead in the Workplace, and Getting Ahead While Getting Out. The last book/program is designed to help citizens returning from incarceration achieve stability, especially by having a plan for what to do during their first 72 hours of release—the window when people are most likely to go back to prison.
“Participants tackle the material together in groups of 12 over 16 sessions with a facilitator. Facilitators report that investigators—as Getting Ahead participants are called—become interested in the news after taking part in the UFE activities. They bring in articles from local papers and magazines, they begin going to the library to do more ‘investigations,’ and they begin to vote. In Gainesville, Florida, for example, they report that going into Getting Ahead 80% of the investigators don’t vote; coming out, 80% do vote.”
Getting Ahead is just one of many economic development tools aha! Process offers. To create communities where everyone can live well, you need buy-in from all sectors of the community—especially people from poverty.