One of Charlotte’s most prominent African-American community leaders is changing jobs within the nonprofit community.
Patrick Graham announced this week that he is leaving his role as head of the Urban League of Central Carolinas in October to take over Charlotte Works, the workforce development board for Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. In 2015, Charlotte Works assisted over served nearly 33,000 job-seekers, the agency says.
Graham has been head of the Urban League for nine years, a period during which he became a well known advocate for finding new sources of employment for Charlotteans struggling after the economic downturn.
He is also known for his community service, including joining the boards of Read Charlotte and the Stowe Family YMCA in Belmont. He is a past president of the Diversity Council of the Carolinas and had served on the Charlotte Works board.
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Graham’s success at the Urban League can be measured by income earned by recent Urban League graduates: An estimated $105 million in five years.
“This is more than the past 20 years combined,” Graham said in a statement. “Nine years ago we had two workforce programs and two school locations. Today, we offer six national certifications and six school locations that create pathways for youth and adult to living wage careers....fields that inspire economic mobility.”
Among the league’s newest initiatives are training in broadband, energy and highway construction. The Urban League’s Highway Construction Academy had the fastest job placement rate at 83 percent and largest female participation at 47 percent.
“In my new role at Charlotte Works, we will find new ways to provide a stronger vision for employees and potential talent of the region,” Graham said, adding that the Urban League will be a key partner in the effort.
The New York native previously held positions as director of Emergency Financial Assistance and Economic Self-Sufficiency at Crisis Assistance Ministry in Charlotte, and executive director of the Martin Luther King Center in Long Beach, N.Y.
Graham holds a Ph.D. in American History (civil rights and migration) from Stony Brook University, a master’s degree in African-American Studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Johnson C. Smith University.