Innovation: Going door to door to identify needs and resources in Central Baltimore, and building locally focused businesses based on that information
Home: Bolton Hill
Occupation: Nonprofit workforce development director, business owner, student
Hobbies: Foreign languages, history, exercise
A low-tech approach to economic growth in the inner city
Photography by Christy Zuccarini
It’s painstaking, low-tech work, and Wilson sees it as an important part of the solution to chronic unemployment and underemployment in Baltimore. He believes that even the most troubled neighborhoods have a wealth of people with skills and talents that could be parlayed into jobs. But many of those who have something to contribute, or at least the potential to learn a valuable trade, are shut out of the workforce because of a criminal record, lack of formal education or other problems. Jobless and discouraged, they often end up back in jail.
“If you’re not helping the people, what are you doing?”
The success he has seen leads Wilson to believe that his methods could eventually spread citywide. But his goals don’t stop there; he dreams of taking this work national and even global. A self-taught student of history, Wilson has read a lot about Napoleon. The way he sees it, if a short, Italian guy with lots of ambition could become emperor of France, just about anything is possible.