The United States and most of the global economy has been suffering the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Experts are calling this global downturn, a liquidity crisis created by the rapid decrease in asset valuation and the inability of low interest to stimulate spending. The US has lost approximately $8.7 trillion dollars in wealth due to fallen home values 20%, retirement savings 22%, and investment savings since 2007. The unemployment rate has risen to 10% for the first time in 40 years; some 5 million jobs have been lost. Experts predict that 5% annual growth rate in GDP will be needed to move our country forward, the GDP growth is now 2.9%. Many communities are suffering from unemployment and a decrease in economic growth. Washington, Louisiana is one of these American communities.
Washington, Louisiana is a quaint bayou community founded in 1720 by the French and is approximately 1 square mile in size. Washington was an important steamboat port for cotton, cattle, sugar and molasses until the arrival of the railroad in 1883, the town has never economically recovered since. The town has approximately 1082 inhabitants living in 459 households with 318 children. 48% of the population lives below the poverty line, probably the highest poverty rate in America. 20% of the population is older than sixty five and 26% is disabled. The labor force officially is 327 adults between 18 and 65, with 36 (11%) unemployed. But approximately 186 adults are not in the labor force and income source is unknown. 58% own their own homes, while 42% of households rent. 76 homes are presently vacant or abandoned. Only 60% of adults have a high school education and 199 (43%) of the households earn less than $10,000 a year. 15% of the households (67) are headed by single mothers and 158 (34% of households) people live alone.
Following the lead of successful poverty reduction programs like the Geoffrey Canada Harlem Children Zone and the youth mentoring programs of the most economic successful country on earth today, Luxembourg, with practically a zero percent poverty rate; the committee plans to end poverty in Washington by successfully helping 200 citizens of Washington find satisfying employment and careers in existing organizations or organizations created and developed by the citizens themselves. Career and business development will be implemented through education, mentoring, and capital investment development. During the first six months the committee will provide leadership training, life coaching, volunteerism and business courses to individuals living in poverty and ensure that each person find a career, a satisfactory job, or create a prosperous enterprise. The first leadership course is scheduled to begin on July 17, 2010 with twenty clients. The committee has obtained the support of the Immaculate Conception Catholic parish, the Washington Mayor’s office and Council, and local elementary school principal. We have embarked on a two year goal of placing each individual in a motivating career or developing one through business plan development and investment capital.
 2008 US Census data estimates